There have been farcical scenes on the first practice day of the Baku Grand Prix in Azerbaijan, with the opening session facing a long delay after a manhole cover on the track came loose and damaged the Williams of George Russell.
Russell was lucky to avoid a major incident when the cover was sucked up by his speeding car and extensively damaged the underside.
To add insult to injury the crane-truck that recovered the damaged car then drove underneath a track advertising sign, hitting it and pouring hydraulic fluid from the crane into the cockpit of the stricken Williams.
The session was immediately suspended.
Williams deputy team principal Claire Williams appeared gobsmacked at the track failures, saying the circuit managers should have ensured that all drain covers were bolted down properly.
“That’s just not acceptable,” she told the BBC. “The damage that that can do could put us out this afternoon. We have another chassis that we might need to bring in. And that’s not what formula one tracks should be.”
Australia’s Daniel Ricciardo, now driving for Renault, also seemed less than impressed when he posted on Twitter.
The Baku street circuit – at just over six kilometres the second longest on the formula one calendar – has hosted a Grand Prix since 2016.