The promoter of the Las Vegas Grand Prix has issued a response to the delays and issues experienced during the opening day of the race weekend.
FP1 was red flagged and subsequently cancelled after a drain cover came loose and destroyed the cars of Carlos Sainz and Esteban Ocon, after just nine minutes of on-track action.
The FIA subsequently identified that it was a "concrete frame around a manhole cover" which failed, leading to a lengthy delay until the start of FP2 as work between the circuit engineers and promoter commenced to fix the problem.
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Las Vegas GP promoter responds
Two and a half hours after it was due to take place, FP2 began at 2:30am and ended at 4am local time. Minutes before FP2 had begun police ejected fans in the grandstands due to the lack of stewards, with the promoter also confirming that fan zones were closed.
In the hours after the on-track action, the Las Vegas Promoter issued a statement on social media: "There is no higher priority at a Formula 1 race than the safety and security of drivers, fans and staff alike.
"Following last night's incident involving a water valve cover, the Las Vegas Grand Prix, F1 and the FIA decided to take extra precautions to ensure the integrity of the track prior to the resumption of racing. These additional measures required multiple hours to fully complete, which led to a significant delay in the race schedule.
Given the lateness of the hour and logistical concerns regarding the safe movement of fans and employees out of the circuit, LVGP made the difficult decision to close the fan zones prior to the beginning of Free Practice 2.
"With a full round of practice successfully completed, LVGP looks forward to providing a safe and entertaining race weekend for all."