Carlos Sainz will take a 10-place grid drop for the Las Vegas Grand Prix after the FIA rejected Ferrari’s request for him to change power unit components without a penalty.

The opening practice hour for the inaugural round at the Las Vegas Strip Circuit was curtailed after only eight minutes when Sainz’s Ferrari car stopped on the Strip.

The FIA proceeded to reveal that extensive damage had been caused to the Spaniard’s Ferrari car because of a concrete frame around a manhole cover coming loose.

Esteban Ocon’s Alpine also suffered damage prior to the session being abandoned as the relevant parties conducted checks of all the drain covers on the brand-new 6km venue.

Ferrari Team Principal Frederic Vasseur, who branded the situation “unacceptable”, also revealed that the team required changes to the monocoque, engine and battery.

The Maranello-based squad had launched a dispensation request for the use of a third energy store outside of Sainz’s penalty-free allowance for the season.

However, despite the “highly unusual and unfortunate circumstances”, Ferrari’s request has been dismissed by the stewards.

“Having received a report from the FIA Technical Delegate concerning Car 55 (Document 16) stating that the Survival Cell, Internal Combustion Engine, Energy Store and Control Electronics were damaged beyond repair following an impact with a foreign object,” the Steward’s decision read.

The Ferrari SF-23 of Carlos Sainz Jr (ESP) Ferrari is recovered back to the pits on the back of a truck. 16.11.2023. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 22, Las Vegas Grand Prix, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, Practice Day. –, EMail: © Copyright: Coates / XPB Images

“Having received a request from the Competitor requesting a derogation of the Sporting Regulations in order to allow a replacement of the Energy Store from outside the pool, without penalty; and Having heard from the Team Representative, the Director FIA Single Seater Department, having viewed video evidence and examined the Team’s declaration sheet, the Stewards, determine that notwithstanding the fact that the damage was caused by highly unusual external circumstances, Article 2.1 of the Formula 1 Sporting Regulations obliges all officials, including the Stewards, to apply the regulations as they are written.”

It was determined that the stewards do not have the authority to grant a dispensation, meaning Sainz will be penalised as usual for exceeding his energy store allowance.

“Accordingly, the mandatory penalty specified under Article 28.3 of the Sporting Regulations must be applied. The Stewards note that if they had the authority to grant a derogation in what they consider in this case to be mitigating, unusual and unfortunate circumstances, they would have done so, however the regulations do not allow such action.

The Spaniard will drop 10 places from his qualifying result for the inaugural Las Vegas GP, adding further insult to injury on an already compromised weekend.

However, Ferrari was able to get his car out for the start of the delayed second practice hour, which has been extended to 90 minutes to compensate for the lost track time.

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