In a city where the improbable is the norm, the Las Vegas GP managed to stun with a farce that outshone the neon lights of its famous Strip. Liberty Media’s billion-dollar extravaganza transformed into a theatrical comedy of errors, leaving fans and insiders aghast at the sheer absurdity of the events.
The ‘show’ was more than set for an unforgettable night, but instead of high-speed thrills, a rogue manhole cover became the unlikely star of the show. This unwelcome intruder ripped through the meticulously planned spectacle, prompting scenes reminiscent of a slapstick comedy. Police ushering irate fans out with thumbs-down gestures added to the bizarre tableau, making the rescheduled practice session in the dead of night seem like an afterthought in a script gone badly awry.
Giedo van der Garde, a former F1 driver, couldn’t hide his disbelief on Viaplay: “The FIA is guilty for this. They simply missed it.”
The media’s scathing reviews poured in, painting a picture of a glamorous event descending into a parody. Ferrari boss Frederic Vasseur’s frustration was palpable as he criticized the organizers’ misplaced priorities for spoiling Carlos Sainz’s weekend: “You can do the show and also do a good job on the sporting side. It’s two separate things.”
Sam Dejonghe’s observations to Sporza news agency captured the essence of the debacle: “When the show is the priority, you see what happens.” This sentiment was echoed by publications like NOS and Kolner Express, who didn’t hold back in labeling the night “ridiculous” and “huge embarrassment for Formula 1.”
The farcical elements reached a crescendo when the actual explosion of sparks under Sainz’s Ferrari went unseen by television fans – only coming to light through leaked hotel security footage. Finnish newspaper Ilta Sanomat’s description of the event as a “Loud F1 farce in the middle of the night” seemed almost understated in the face of the shambolic spectacle.
In a defiant stand against the tide of criticism, Mercedes boss Toto Wolff lashed out at a reporter for suggesting F1 and Liberty had suffered a “black eye,” passionately defending the event’s grandeur while dismissing the manhole incident as a minor glitch in an otherwise groundbreaking event.
Alpha Tauri’s Daniel Ricciardo struck a more contemplative note, questioning the balance between spectacle and sport, a query that seemed all too relevant in the face of such absurdity. “I also don’t want to criticise the sport too much,” said the Australian.