Brendon Hartley, Toro Rosso, Shanghai International Circuit, 2018

Team orders misunderstanding led to Toro Rosso crash

2018 Chinese Grand Prix

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The collision between Toro Rosso drivers Brendon Hartley and Pierre Gasly happened after the team had told them to switch positions, the pair confirmed.

Hartley let Gasly by at turn 14 earlier in the race. But when he was told to do the same later on Gasly made contact with him as they entered the corner.

Gasly described how the collision happened: “I was catching Brendon and we were on two different strategies,” he said.

“Before the race we said with different strategies at some point we might need a driver swap. They told me on the radio ‘OK, Brendon’s going to let you past at the end of the straight’, as we had said with the engineers.

“So I expected him to let me by and went on the inside. I don’t know if he didn’t see me, I expected him to leave a bit of space for me to turn. And when he started to turn normally I was on the inside and it was too late and there was nothing I could do. I tried to brake and avoid him. I was too late so we made contact and that was it.”

“It was a shame because the last you want is to have contact with your team mate,” Gasly added. “I think we misunderstood each other and I expected him to do something and he probably expected something else.”

Gasly said he wouldn’t have positioned the car the way he did had the pair been fighting for position.

“For sure I think on TV it looks really bad for myself but with what we had said it was pretty clear we would make the driver swap there. I never expected him to turn like this.

“Of course if we had been in a fight I would not have tried this because probably I would have expected him to close the door. But as we were not even fighting, it was just a driver swap, and we had said we’d do it there, I just expected him to leave room and he didn’t because he didn’t see me.”

Hartley said he has expected Gasly to pass him at the exit of the corner.

“We swapped position on the first stint as well,” he explained. “I was struggling on the ultra-softs, I let him by on the exit of 14.

“The second time, when we touched, I planned to do the same. My feeling is he must’ve thought I was opening the door on the entry which was not the case. Clearly a miscommunication, I think he thought I was letting him by but I planned to let him by on corner exit.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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2 comments on “Team orders misunderstanding led to Toro Rosso crash”

  1. ”Before the race we said with different strategies at some point me might need a driver swap.”
    – Either he accidentally said ‘me’ instead of ‘we’ or it was just a typo, LOL.

  2. Planning to let him by on the exit? No driver chooses to let cars by on the exit, it costs more time and is riskier than letting them by on the entry. I think the truth is that Hartley messed up the switch. Only Hartley knows if he actually planned to let Gasly past or not. Tough penalty in the circumstances, but the stewards have to call it based on what happened on the track.

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