Sebastian Vettel, Lance Stroll, Monza, 2019

Teams should have helped Vettel and Stroll avoid Ascari incidents – Masi

2019 Italian Grand Prix

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Sebastian Vettel and Lance Stroll needed more help from their teams to avoid the incidents at Ascari during the Italian Grand Prix, according to FIA race director Michael Masi.

Vettel was hit by Leclerc after the Ferrari driver pulled onto the track in the middle of the corner after spinning. Stroll then forced Pierre Gasly off the track when he rejoined the track.

Both drivers incurred penalties for the incidents. Masi said the pair should have been more “cautious” but added “the teams obviously have a bit to play” in helping them avoid collisions.

Masi pointed out the teams have access to data which they could have used to instruct their drivers when it was safe to rejoin.

“They have all the GPS [Global Positioning System], all the positioning. It was obviously broadcast live, [they’re] getting all the same pictures that we all got. So there’s all of those tools at the team’s disposal.

“The onus is between the driver, one, [and] two, in that situation the teams to help them.”

Vettel said the high cockpit sides in his Ferrari meant he couldn’t see Stroll coming as he rejoined.

“Coming back I knew there would be a gap but I struggled a little bit to get out. I think I was stuck on the grass, so I lost a bit of momentum there and that took a little bit longer.

“So certainly not ideal but I couldn’t see anything looking to the left. Obviously it is compromised because we have the high cockpit but I don’t think it’s an option to drop that.”

Stroll also said he had “no visibility on my right side” when he came onto the track in front of Gasly. “There’s nothing at the moment you can do with these cars. It’s just a bit of a guessing game when we’re in that position.”

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32 comments on “Teams should have helped Vettel and Stroll avoid Ascari incidents – Masi”

  1. I’ve been thinking about this for a while. F1 should really consider having 1 spotter for drivers. Obviously, unlike the US, a spotter can’t see the entire track from 1 point. But teams have all the data regarding the position of cars, flags anyway.

    The problem is that information is given to the race engineer, who.has to also worry of strategy and car condition just to name a few. Having a separate person who is on top of what I mentioned above would mean less drivers in dangerous positions in qualifying (Russell in Austria comes to mind), and overall drivers would be more aware of what is going on around them

    1. Strategy team is separate from race engineer. Race engineer is more of a intermediary between driver and teams(strategy, mechanics, etc).

    2. As you say, the difference is, that a spotter on an Oval can see the whole track. In F1 they rely on gps data to discern where everyone is @ofitus21. They already have engineers watching those positions. They only need to have the race engineer put it to the driver in a moment like this.

      1. Just ditch the bloody useless mirrors and install a 360 degree camera system with a visible screen in the cockpit.

        Make it mandatory- one supplier for all teams and problem solved.

        Ludicrous to still have those useless mirrors and it will make leaving a cars width easier for all drivers as well….

        1. Not a bad point. Those mirrors are useless.

    3. Exactly what I’ve been thinking. F1 should have spotters.

      Unlike in oval races, you can’t see the whole track from a single point. But there are cameras everywhere. Orgainsers should give these live feeds to teams. It’s just one person and a bunch of screens that can prevent a bad accident.

      Also, spotters would help prevent collisions in situation like Singapore 2017 where a car is obscured by another car or in situations where the other car is in your dead angle. With extra info from a spotter, drivers can avoid moving over dangerously.

    4. I don’t think the teams need a designated spotter, and I definitely wouldn’t want to hear said spotter feeding his driver “clear” and “not clear” info incessantly like they do in Nascar. One of their existing engineers should have been able to tell Vettel and Stroll when it was safe to re-join the track.

  2. ”Vettel was hit by Leclerc after the Ferrari driver pulled onto the track in the middle of the corner after spinning.”
    – There might be an error within this part of the 2nd paragraph.

    1. Damn Leclerc hit me!

    2. That had to be Ericsson, obviously :-)

    3. Unusual error from Keith and Dieter …. oops!!!

  3. One of the things sadly not possible with these heavy cars is using lcd displays and cameras instead of mirrors. With cameras and displays you could easily have 360 degree vision and with just two displays on either side of the steering wheel you could have different modes with one mode being 360 vision just for cases like this while the normal mode being used to just look to the rear. The system could even use the fia cameras to reduce the amount of additional hardware on the cars. The 360 degree view could improve pitstop safety as well.

    Corvette has been using smart rearview camera systems for at least 8 years now and they even have different color symbols on screen for different classes of cars. But with the additional weight of say couple of kilos sadly it seems impossible for f1.

    1. Open cockpit and sunlight may make it difficult to discern a dot approaching at anything up to 300 kph.

      1. Not much different from the flimsy mirrros in used nowadays! Was it Gasly, during a practice who saw the mirror simply fell? Rear cameras should be seriously looked at and FIA should start pushing it. Trial it with F3 or F2 like they’ll do with the 18″ rims next year before F1 gets them

  4. ” It was obviously broadcast live, [they’re] getting all the same pictures that we all got.”

    No we’re not. The moment Vettel moved, we got a crowd shot and in the replay we saw Stroll spinning. If that is on the feed, how could the teams have interfered?

    1. Señor Sjon.
      Spot on. Always the crowd shots when action happens! This really should highlight how bad the video direction is right now.

      Also I think Masi is confusing F1 with IndyCar where spotters are a common thing.
      Just how are you meant to determine a real gap based on dots moving on a 2D map on a 15″ screen?

      1. @eurobrun @Señor Sjon Especially when the chosen GPS system doesn’t indicate what side of the track anyone is on, since the method by which a driver rejoins the track is a big factor in when is go/no-go for rejoining? And when drivers are keen to get going right away (I’m not sure Stroll’s left his engineer time to check the screen and confirm more cars were about to arrive?)

  5. That was my initial thought. Ever since Silverstone every other incident cuts to the crowd or some other irrelevant nonsense. We don’t even see the winner crossing the line now, just the back of some idiot trying to wave the flag.

    Can’t expect too much though; anyone who watches practice knows this idiot director can’t distinguish between a hot lap and an in/out lap. Hell, whilst everyone was trying to watch the cars being towed during qually, this guy was showing us the one doing the towing.

  6. Honestly, perhaps with stroll, maybe… but Vettel? he didn’t give enough time for anybody to help. he spun out, then rejoined without even giving it enough time for safety for being considered. He deserved the penalty he got.

    1. Vettel gave more time than Stroll, since I don’t think Stroll even waited for his car to become stationary before moving off again.

  7. I think that little importance is being given to what both pilots did. Both re-entered the track at a 90º angle to the direction of travel. This is extremely dangerous, and more in a high speed curve. I think that both should have tried to at least turn the car a little on the grass to re-enter as parallel as possible to the direction of travel. I think this is more important than the fact that they had no visibility.

    1. Just reviewed the incident and Vettel have possibly more space to move than Stroll. Stroll was on the tarmac, at least when the TV shows him. But the fact is that the two re-entered the racing line in the worst way.

      1. I can be a tad more forgiving towards Stroll here @esmiz, since he was clearly in a very dangerous place and already blocking the track it makes sense to want to hurry.

        But you are right that moving into traffic you can’t see at such an angle is clearly dangerous and both drivers should have first of all tried to get more information on traffic, and then tried to get going in a less risky manner.

        1. @bascb @esmiz Had Stroll done that, he would probably have been hit anyway. He was cursed either way, which explains the relatively light penalty.

          1. I agree with you that Stroll was stuck in a dangerous position. But I still think him trying to get the car turned like he did was adding to the danger. So I thought the penalty should be less, because there was more urgency to get the car moving from where it was.

            The Stewards mentioned him not hitting Gasly made for a different penalty, which is complete nonsense. That Gasly had a bit more luck to avoid (he almost hit the barrier evading though), really shouldn’t be a factor.
            But then thrley also didn’t give Leclerc a penalty apparently because Hamilton got on the grass to avoid being hit. So I guess we have another example of the Stewards being consistent in one sens, while making a mess of logical and consistency in stewarding.

  8. I don’t think Vettel was hit by Leclerc..

  9. Good luck with that Michael.

    Drivers aren’t known for their patience and its highly unlikely they’ll be asking their engineers if they have a clear path to get back on the track when all they want to do is get going again as quickly as possible. Nor is it likely that they’ll be listening to their race engineers either after they have spun off the track.

    1. I think his point was that the engineers should’ve told Vettel not to go before Vettel even had time to ask.

  10. DB-C90 (@dbradock) They get clear instructions from the team before leaving the pit box so why not on the track too? If patience in that situation is mandated by the rules then the drivers will have patience. OR ELSE?

    1. @angie Those instructions aren’t mandated by the rules. All the rules do is state drivers must rejoin the pit lane in a safe manner (which is already also stated as a requirement for drivers leaving the track). Everything beyond that is voluntary conduct by teams to try to optimise the situation (nobody goes faster because they crashed).

  11. I’m always surprised there isn’t a technology solution to help drivers with their blind spots. They harp on about road relevance, will some modern cars have proximity sensors for this very reason. I worked on a research project to help HGV drivers with cyclists a while back where it just gave them a warning display they had a cyclist alongside them. Why can’t F1 cars have a similar warning light that there’s an approaching car for situations like this? It could only be enabled at low speed if we don’t want it as an assistance for wheel to wheel racing.

  12. ….wasn’t it the FIA crying about drivers “driving the cars alone and un aided”, and team radio helping too much?

    Oh, so you care now? How convenient.

    The fia is waaaaay too inconsistent. Even in the article above… refueling and mandatory DOUBLE pit stops? We couldn’t even find anyone here in the comment section for either of those ideas… but the fia is voting on them both… thankfully the teams themselves stoped that crap.

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