Share this article

Ferrari Suffers $2.2 Mn Hit After Carlos Sainz’s Manhole Debacle at Las Vegas GP

Published 11/21/2023, 7:08 AM EST

Follow Us

via Reuters

Coming into the Las Vegas GP, every team was equal amounts wary and excited. After all, Formula 1 was returning to Sin City after four decades. But because of the cool conditions and the brand-new track, they were stepping into the unknown. While most teams’ wariness got less pronounced once their cars got out on track, Ferrari’s wariness turned into absolute outrage. And it was owing to the manhole debacle that plagued Carlos Sainz in FP1 and ended up ruining his entire weekend. 

America’s Favorite Video Today

Just eight minutes into the session, Sainz went over a broken manhole cover on the main straight, damaging his engine, battery, and monocoque. Ferrari had to change the Spaniard’s chassis, and things got progressively worse for them after that. Now, it looks like it may have affected more than just their Las Vegas GP weekend.

The cost cap hit and what followed made Carlos Sainz want to “forget” Vegas


Article continues below this ad

F1 introduced the cost cap in 2021 to level the playing field. What started as $145 million in 2021 has been reduced to $135 million this season. Almost every expense a team has over a season—be it employee salaries or costs of accidents and crashes—all comes under the budget cap. Seeing as this was an accident, the repairs on Sainz’s car made a huge dent in Ferrari’s budget for 2023. Just how big was it?

As quoted by Formula Passion, Il Corriere dello Sport reported, “Heavy damage affected the chassis, the combustion engine, the oil pump, the battery, the control unit. A loss not only from a technical point of view but also from a sporting and economic point of view, given that the bill will not be less than two million euros (approximately $2.2 million), a strategic figure under the budget cap regime.” [Translated by Google] Considering this wasn’t in any way Sainz or Ferrari’s fault, Team Principal Frederic Vasseur was enraged. And so was Carlos Sainz.


Get instantly notified of the hottest F1 stories via Google! Click on Follow Us and Tap the Blue Star.

Follow Us

Following the ‘accident,’ he was forced to change elements in his car, and as a result, he exceeded the accepted allocation for a season. After qualifying in P2, he started the race with a 10-place grid penalty in P12. Even though he recovered to P6 following a number of incidents, he couldn’t wait to move on from Sin City. In a post-race interview, Sainz said, “We managed to make a good recovery, and I cannot wait to go to Abu Dhabi and forget this weekend.”

Will F1 Relax the $135 Mn Cost Cap for Ferrari After Carlos Sainz’s Manhole Disaster at Las Vegas GP?

Speaking of Abu Dhabi, there could be another chance Carlos Sainz could add to his tally of DNSs this year at the season finale.

Is Carlos Sainz’s Abu Dhabi GP under threat?

It’s crucial for teams to stay under the budget cap. If they exceed it—as Red Bull did in 2021—they are fined and receive a reduction in aerodynamic testing time. The broken manhole cover was a safety hazard that Ferrari paid the price for, and Frederic Vasseur believes F1 should help cover the cost of damages. As reported by GPFans, Vasseur said after the race, “This will be a private discussion that I will have with the stakeholders of this [event]. There will be a discussion. The decision? It’s another thing.”


Article continues below this ad

The decision is what could affect Carlos Sainz’s chances of competing in Abu Dhabi. Vasseur explained, “It’s true also that if we have to adjust the budget cap, our whole cost. At least between now and the end of the season, we don’t have so much room to play with, or we miss Abu Dhabi.” If Ferrari comes to the conclusion that there’s even a slight chance it could exceed the cost cap if Sainz participates in the season finale, the Spaniard could very well have to sit the race weekend out.


Article continues below this ad

Watch This Story: Is Carlos Sainz Looking to Move away from Ferrari?

What was your take on the entire situation? Do you think F1 will help Carlos Sainz & Co. cover the costs of the Las Vegas GP incident?

Providing feedback will help us make your experience better.

The Fan's Perspective

Enjoyed Your Read? Let us know how likely you are to recommend EssentiallySports to your friends!

Least Likely

Most Likely



Written by:

Aditi Krishnan


One take at a time

"I don't know who I would've been if I didn't love sports as much as I do." I'm Aditi, and I'm a senior F1 Writer at EssentiallySports. For F1 and me, it was love at first sight back in 2020.
Show More>

Edited by:

Akash Pandhare