F1 team bosses opine on the drama that took place in F1 Las Vegas GP where Frederic Vasseur and Toto Wolff were pretty fiery in their answers.
After all the hype regarding F1 Las Vegas GP, it didn’t start off on a good as the FP1 session ended just after nine minutes of running when a water valve cover came off due to the high speed running. It damaged Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz’s car the most who caused the red flag, while Alpine’s Esteban Ocon also suffered chassis damage.
The underside was damaged with Ferrari needing chassis change along with a third ES. That resulted in a grid penalty where they argued about the special situation but to no avail. Vasseur was pretty upset all-day long despite good pace shown by the drivers.
He called it ‘unacceptable’ situation but didn’t put down the magnanimity of the event on the whole. It was concurred by Mercedes’ Wolff along with Williams’ James Vowles and McLaren’s Zak Brown too – they wanted to separate the two sides of things.
Not just Vasseur but his counterpart Wolff talked big guns too when a reporter called the situation as ‘rubbish’. The Mercedes F1 chief blasted on him and in general where everyone is not valuing the work done to get to Las Vegas by Liberty Media.
Here’s what was said –
Thoughts on fiasco –
Vasseur: “What he said, I think it was on the air, that I hit something on track and he didn’t know exactly what it was. The situation is that we damaged completely the monocoque, the engine, the battery and I think it’s just unacceptable. This one is a good one, I don’t need to have a bigger picture than this one. I’m not sure that is the topic for me today. We had a very tough FP1. This will cost us a fortune. We fucked-up the session for Carlos. We had to change the chassis out of the car, to set-up the car. OK, the show is the show and everything is going well but I think it’s just unacceptable for the F1 today. I’m still convinced that the event is mega for the F1. This happened in Monaco couple of years ago. I remember Baku 2019. I remember that we had a couple of occasions like this. But again, I was already convinced before FP1 that the event was mega for F1 and I’m still convinced of that and we have to continue in this direction.
“I remember also at Zandvoort, when they started to have the music into the grandstand, everybody had to copy them the race after, and I think probably we will do a step forward in the right direction, from Vegas. And everybody perhaps won’t be at the same standard but we’ll go in this direction in terms of show and entertainment and so on. But we have to take care of the sporting side. It’s a completely different story. And it’s not because you are doing a show that you know what I mean… For sure I’m frustrated. I’m also scared because Carlos hit a metallic part at 320 kph and it could have been much worse.”
Wolff: “That is not a black eye. This is nothing. We are Thursday night, we have a Free Practice 1 session that we’re not doing. They’re going to seal the drain covers and nobody’s going to talk about that tomorrow morning anymore… (interruption by other reporter who stated about it being rubbish situation) Did you ask the question? It’s completely ridiculous, completely ridiculous! FP1, how can you even dare trying to talk bad about an event that sets the new standards, new standards to everything. And then you’re speaking about a fucking drain cover that’s been undone, that has happened before. That’s nothing. It’s FP1.
“Give credit to the people that have set up this Grand Prix, that have made the sport much bigger than it ever was. Have you ever spoken good about someone and written a good word? You should about all these people that have been out here. Liberty has done an awesome job. And just because in FP1 a drain cover has become undone, we shouldn’t be moaning. The car is broken, that’s really a shame. For Carlos, it could have been dangerous, so between the FIA and the track and everybody needs to analyse how we can make sure that this is not happening again. But talking here about a black eye for the sport on a Thursday evening. Nobody watches that in European time anyway.”
Vowles: “I’d probably just add, judge us by what happens when the chequered flag falls on Saturday, rather than what’s just happened in the last half an hour.”
Talk with stewards –
Vasseur: “I went there, and I discussed with them. It’s a strange feeling for us, because first, I don’t think that we did something wrong. We have to pay a mega price for this. And on the top, you have the penalty when you know that we are fighting for the championship, and 10 places is a huge hit. OK, we that we have to try to avoid thinking about it, to do the job that we can come back. We have a good pace, we have to be focused on the quali, and then to do a good race. We don’t have time to discuss this. I don’t think that it could be a decision from the teams, to say that we allow them to do this or that. Now tomorrow if someone pushed in the other direction, it’s another story. We are not trying to have a record on this.But for sure it was a big one, because we had to change the chassis, engine, battery, gearbox, to build up a new one. It was a good job from the mechanics.”
Track inspection delay –
Vasseur: “No. As you understood, I’m a bit upset and I don’t want to draw any conclusions in this moment, that for sure that it’s difficult to understand, but it is like it is. And I think we’ll have time to discuss about this and to try to improve the system later on. But I’m still a bit shocked and I prefer to, in this condition, to stay quiet.”
What will make you happy –
Vasseur: “A donation, no? No, I’m not saying that. It is like it is. We know that it’s a sporting event, we know that this can happen. You can have a bad FP1. Now we have to recover on the weekend, that we have to find solutions. Track time is crucial in this kind of event, with a new track, with a new track for the drivers, with a new track also for us. It means that if Carlos misses FP2, at the end of the sporting side, it will be detrimental but I will keep in mind also that it could have been much worse. And we will do our best over the weekend but it’s a long way but you know every single detail is important. But don’t forget the donation.”
F1 cutting corners to make event big –
Vasseur: “You don’t have to mix everything. I think that the show is mega and I’m very happy with what Liberty did around the race and I think it’s a huge step forward for F1 and we have to separate what is the show and the sporting side. The show is mega. I was in the Paddock Club yesterday when they did the ceremony and it was something that I never saw before, perhaps in Magny Cours in 2008. But no, seriously, I think it was something mega for Formula 1. But it’s not because you are doing this that you are, that you don’t have to do the job on the sporting side and so on. I think it’s two separate things. And I don’t want to mix everything and to say that, sorry for the expression, but they did shit on the sporting side because they did the show. It’s not true. You can do the show and do a good job on the sporting side. It’s two separate things.”
Brown: “No, I think first of all, anytime you have an incident, first we’ve got to fix it and then look back and go, how did it happen? Whether that’s a track issue or a problem you have with your car, whatever the case may be, I think it would be unfair and quick to judge that corners were cut. You know, this has happened before – It happened in Baku, I remember when it happened back in sportscar racing in Montreal many, many years ago. So it’s an unfortunate incident. I don’t think it’s because effort wasn’t put in or corners were cut. It’s just somehow they got it wrong. Right now, we just need to focus on fixing it, and then look back and go, how did we get it wrong? And I’m sure it was an engineering-related issue that they’ll get solved. But they’ve spared no expense on the entire event. So, I think they just got it wrong.”
Vowles: “My perspective is this has also happened in Monaco, if I remember correctly, a track that had circuits or cars running on it for many, many years. The point is these cars are generating huge amounts of suction underneath now. And the brake that I saw, the picture that I saw, it’s not something that there was a lack of diligence to it, it’s an amount of force they weren’t expecting. I’m confident we’ll get everything sorted but exactly as Zak said, I don’t think it’s at all cutting corners. I think that there was an intention here to make this incredible show. That’s been done. But we just want to make sure we get all the details right go back through and understand what we can do to make sure when we do new events we get this right from here onwards.”
Here’s what happened in FP1 in F1 Las Vegas GP
Here’s what happened in FP2 in F1 Las Vegas GP