(Motorsport-Total.com) – The Japanese grand prix was interrupted with a red flag after just three laps of the race. Due to the rain and standing water on the track, Sebastian Vettel and Guanyu Zhou broke away on the first lap, but Carlos Sainz also crashed.
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Pierre Gasly’s injury at the Japanese Grand Prix
The Spaniard had an accident in the long right turn after the hairpin in the second sector. The back of his Ferrari swerved and Sainz slammed into the left handrail and threw an advertising banner onto the track.
AlphaTauri pilot Pierre Gasly could barely see in the extreme spray and picked up the advertising banner and damaged his front wing. Things got worse for the Frenchman a lap later when he returned to the scene of the accident in Sainz after a pit repair.
Gasly rages on radio after tractor incident
Gasly’s on-board footage shows a tractor parked on the left side of the track to tow the crashed Ferrari. Memories come to mind of Jules Bianchi’s fatal accident at Suzuka in 2014, which flew a yellow flag in similar rainy conditions and crashed into a tractor trying to salvage Adrian Sutil’s Sauber at the time.
What is that?’ Gasly raged over the radio. “What’s that tractor doing on the track? That’s unacceptable! I can’t believe it!”
The recording on board Gasly also shows that the red flag had already been shown, but the Frenchman only saw this late. After hitting the advertising barrier, Gasly entered the pits and switched from the intermediates to the extremely wet tyres.
FIA justifies use of tractors
It’s quite possible the tractor was sent too early, as the rest of the field had already passed the accident site, but Gasly’s stop left it well behind the others.
Photo Gallery: Jules Bianchi .’s Accident
The FIA has since explained the incident: “As for the recovery from the incident on lap three, the safety car was deployed and the race was neutralized. [Gasly]who sustained damage and made a pit stop behind the safety car before continuing at high speed to overtake the field.”
“As the conditions deteriorated, the red flag was shown earlier [Gasly] passed where it had been damaged the previous lap.”
Gasly gets a time penalty of 20 seconds
The incident was even investigated by the FIA, who accused Gasly of speeding under the red flag. However, the FIA is referring to a violation after Gasly drove past the scene of the accident.
“[Gasly] reached speeds of up to 250 km/h when he completed the lap under the red flag after passing the accident site,” according to the FIA report. A few hours later, the verdict followed: a time penalty of 20 seconds including two penalty points.
The verdict of the race stewards is: “Na [Gasly] passed the scene of the accident, he reached speeds of over 200 km/h in several places and at one point even 251 km/h under red flags. The driver acknowledges that there may have been marshals or obstacles on the track and admitted that he was speeding.”
“To mitigate the penalty, we take into account that while the speed could not be considered ‘slow’ according to the regulations, it was slower than the maximum speed that can be achieved under these conditions. We also take the shock into account experienced by the driver when he saw a truck on the racing line at the bend of the incident.”
Sainz questions the usefulness of the tractor
There are now also voices from the paddock about this incident, including from Carlos Sainz, who caused the situation: “I still don’t know why we risk having a tractor on the track under these conditions, because that is just pointless If you’re going to show the red flag anyway, why risk it?”
“What people don’t understand is that even behind the safety car we can’t see anything at 100 or 150 km/h. So even if there is a crane on the track and we are driving behind the safety car at 100 km/h. h, a driver can make a small mistake, slightly deviate from the line and not think about a tractor and bump into a tractor.”
Photo gallery: Formula 1 2022 in Suzuka: Sunday’s most important thing
Sainz also does not see that the FIA is blaming Gasly for the incident: “As a driver, I don’t think you should leave it to the luck of the driver. I think they will end the race with the red flag anyway” , why would you send a vehicle?”
“You may have to wait a while before sorting the field and then drive very slowly. In the worst case scenario, the driver will always try to get some temperature in the car when the race starts again. That is a difficult thing, but also quite risky.”
More reactions from the Formula 1 paddock
McLaren driver Lando Norris added on Twitter: “What the hell. How could this happen? We lost a life in this situation years ago. We are risking our lives, especially in circumstances like this. We want to race. But that is unacceptable .”
Alfa Romeo sports director Beat Zehnder told ‘Sky’: “That cannot happen, no. As a rule, the marshals and the recovery vehicles go out on the track at the behest of the race director, they are not allowed to do that in advance.”
“And if they go out on the track of their own accord, things like that can happen unless the race organizers gave the wrong information. Then you probably missed the Gasly because he changed the wing in the pits, still under safety cars.”
Christian Horner calls for “extensive investigation” by the FIA
“That is completely unacceptable,” said Red Bull team principal Christian Horner. “We’ve lost Jules Bianchi here and that should never, ever happen. There needs to be a full investigation into why there was a tow truck on the track. And of course it’s in these appalling conditions where visibility is zero, extremely dangerous.”
“If there are cars on the track, the virtual safety car was not used without reason after the terrible accident all those years ago. There needs to be a full investigation into why that car was on the track. Of course that shouldn’t have happened. .”
“But without all the facts, it’s very hard to say why this car was on the track, what is the process that makes a car on the track,” Horner said. “So I think the FIA should look into the matter with due care because it’s something that was decided a few years ago and it’s totally unacceptable.”
Jules Bianchi’s father stunned
It has been eight years since Jules Bianchi suffered a serious head injury after a collision with a recovery vehicle in heavy rain in Suzuka. Bianchi died nine months later as a result of the injuries.
Bianchi’s father also commented on the incident with Gasly via his Instagram account: “No respect for the driver’s life, no respect for the memory of Jules.”
The incident sparked widespread condemnation from many in the Formula 1 community, including GPDA director Alex Wurz, who said: “I think we should discuss a tractor on the track. We can be brief: this shouldn’t happen, folks. .”