Kevin Magnussen, Haas, Mugello, 2020

Formal warnings issued to 12 drivers over restart crash

2020 Tuscan Grand Prix Ferrari 1000

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The FIA has issued formal warnings to 12 drivers who were involved in a crash during the restart of the Tuscan Grand Prix.

The collision during a rolling restart on lap eight led to the retirements of Kevin Magnussen, Antonio Giovinazzi, Nicholas Latifi and Carlos Sainz Jnr. The quartet were among the dozen drivers who received formal warnings.

Daniil Kvyat, Alexander Albon, Lance Stroll, Daniel Ricciardo, Sergio Perez, Lando Norris, Esteban Ocon and George Russell were also warned over their roles in the crash.

“The stewards conclude that the root cause of this incident was the inconsistent application of throttle and brake, from the final corner along the pit straight, by the above drivers,” they stated.

“The stewards acknowledge the challenges the location of the control line presents at this circuit and the desire of drivers to take advantage of the restart.

“However this incident demonstrates the need for caution to be exercised in the restart situation and note that there was an extreme concertina effect which dramatically increased as it moved down the field.

“We also note that some drivers might have avoided being involved in the incident had they not followed directly behind the car in front. By doing so they effectively blocked off all visibility of what was happening immediately in front of the preceding car.

Safety Car, Mugello, 2020
Safety Car, Mugello, 2020
“A warning has been imposed as it is the view of the stewards that no one driver was wholly or predominantly to blame.”

The stewards cleared race leader Valtteri Bottas and others of any responsibility for the collision.

“It was further noted that the driver of car 77 (Valtteri Bottas) and the other drivers involved in the restart not mentioned above, complied with the regulations. Car 77 had the right under the regulations to dictate the pace.”

Bottas, team mate Lewis Hamilton and Alexander Albon said race control’s late decision to restart the race, signalled by switching off the lights of the Safety Car, was a contributing factor.

The formal warning is a new endorsement which has been introduced for this season. None of the drivers involved were given any penalty points on their superlicence.

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2020 Tuscan Grand Prix Ferrari 1000

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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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50 comments on “Formal warnings issued to 12 drivers over restart crash”

  1. Maybe these drivers need to have a chat with the F2 drivers who were able to execute restarts properly.

    1. Even F3 drivers for that matter.

      1. Maybe FIA can organise a masterclass by those drivers before the next GP.

  2. Well, I guess that makes sense. From all of the drivers I have heard speaking about this, the issue started with drivers towards the back/midfield starting to create a gap and then floor the throttle before Bottas got going and then having to stand on the brakes when they got up into the backs of the cars in front.

    1. I do think this should be an issue they discuss in the next drivers briefing / meeting with race control.

    2. Although he was not singled out by the stewards, I think George Russell was the main culprit. He built a gap ahead by slowing down (or just keeping a low speed, I’m not quite sure) and then went flat out. And that’s ok so far. The problem is that he accelerated way too early and had to brake hard to avoid a shunt. Latifi and the rest of the guys behind him could not brake in time to avoid the multiple collision.

      1. I agree. It’s actually quite shocking that he avoided any penalty for that, when he was the main culprit. Here’s the footage that we haven’t seen during the half hour red flag period. If Bottas had done the same (floor it then stomp on the brakes), he would have been excluded for a race, but since someone did it in the middle of the pack, it was ok for the stewards?

        (what the hell was the director doing all weekend by the way? very poor performance, bad camera angles…)

        1. It’s in the sporting regulations:

          39.13 – ….from the point at which the lights on the car are turned out drivers must proceed at a pace which involves no erratic acceleration or braking nor any other manoeuvre which is likely to endanger other drivers or impede the restart.

          The thing is, they have to enforce these rules regardless of whether there’s a crash or not. If they do that, drivers will not gamble because they won’t get away with it however it works out.

          1. As I put below, just use the VSC restart procedure even for normal safety cars and then all of this is solved.

          2. nor any other manoeuvre which is likely to endanger other drivers or impede the restart.

            Bottas was weaving and warming his tyres across Hamilton’s line as the accident happened

        2. interesting and yeah that footage makes it look like Russel was primarily to blame for the concertina effect.

        3. Honestly, I don’t get the analysis they were doing and the conclusion that it was Russell’s fault.

          From Russell’s onboard, you can clearly see Ocon and Kvyat pulling away right before he starts accelerating. Kvyat did exactly what they think Russell did. Left a big gap to Norris, then accelerates hard and slows down when he caughts up to Norris. Ocon was right behind him but goes left, which gives him visibility and allows him to slow down without rear-ending Kvyat.

          Now, Russell. As soon as Kvyat and Ocon start pulling away, he puts the foot down. He slows down as soon as he realizes that the race hadn’t been restarted yet. What’s the problem? Everyone behind him was close and right behind him. No visibility. When he slows down he goes right, which allows Magnussen to slow down without hitting anyone. But the drivers behind Magnussen had no visibility. So Latifi manages to avoid him, but Giovanazzi can’t and crashes into Kevin and Latifi. Sainz brakes hard and swerves left, but it isn’t enough and there’s nothing he can do to avoid Giovanazzi’s car. Grosjean had actually pulled a bit to the left, which gives him visibility of the crash ahead and he can slow down and avoid the carnage.

          I’d love to see Kvyat’s onboard because from the cameras available, he leaves a gap and accelerates to catch up. Not only that, but from the rear camera, it looked like Norris was also catching up to Pérez, so maybe Norris had also left a gap. And maybe Pérez too. Maybe all the drivers from Albon to Sainz were doing it, and that’s why they’ve all been given a warning.

          But singling Russell out, when it’s clear that the cars ahead of him did the exact same thing doesn’t seem right.

          1. @casjo I agree with you on this. Russell didn’t slow down, the drivers in front accelerated and that’s why there was a gap in front of Russell. If we were able to examine the gap between Russell and Bottas, we probably would see that Russell never slowed down more than Bottas did.

          2. @casjo I see your point, and you summarized it pretty well,I didn’t analyze well enough. It’s a hard one. One more thing that didn’t help is that there is a bit of a crest in the road right about where the pit lane entry is, and you can’t see more than 2 or 3 cars ahead.

            I think the reason why I thought Russell was mainly at fault was simply the gap he had ahead of him, because he reacted late to Kvyat and Ocon accelerating. However it doesn’t look like those two drivers decelerated too quickly, whereas Russell did, but his vision was impaired by that crest. And obviously as you say we don’t know 100% what all the drivers in front did, and how that affected Kvyat and Russell, so it’s tough to make any judgement.

            I left a comment somewhere before that I think the two biggest contributing was putting back the restarts to the start/finish line instead of the SC1 line, and the field going so spread out, and then trying to bunch up too late (which is also not helped by the SC light being turned off so late as Hamilton suggested). So yeah, now I’m back to the opinion that the accident wasn’t the result of a fault of a single driver, but multiple reasons that could be best corrected by rule modifications and better rule use.

  3. Reverse-grid restarts are going to be interesting.

  4. So FIA want ‘edgy’ restarts but the drivers can’t actually get all edgy and racy at the restart. Joseph Heller wrote a whole book about that.

  5. Every driver is responsible for his own car and should know where to place it. Of course there is always more risk of crashes in restart but I think FIA needs also rethink where to put the safety car line and prevent that gaps between cars don’t get too big so these things won’t in the future.

  6. Drivers will continue to drop back and floor it in this situation because if it works, they’ll gain a bunch of places. You can’t blame drivers when there’s a crash if you allow them to get away with this sort of thing normally. If someone loses a bunch of positions because they took a safety-first approach and another driver took a risk and flew past them, you can guarantee the former will act differently next time.

    A driver’s job is to maximise everything out there on track and if there’s an advantage to be gained, they’ll go for it. The FIA’s job is to put regulations in place that make racing safe.

  7. Brundle disagreed with Hamilton, when he said the late switch off of the safety car lights induced the crash, but I think Hamilton’s right. When the lights go off early enough you have time to build speed, as we usally see. If they go off at the last corner, which is what happened, driver in first place has much less margin to prepare the runaway. I’ve never raced a F1 car, but I’m pretty sure Bottas was left with no options other than do what he did.

    1. @alfa145 Bottas just minimized the amount of slipstream Hamilton would get on the main straight, leaving half the length before flooring the accelerator. But that left the back half of the grid unaware whether the race had started or not, and jumping at any perceived sign that it had. Recipe for disaster.

      1. @david-br you basically (re-)described what happened

        1. You basically described what David did.

    2. Even if the lights were switched off at the start of the lap Bottas would do exactly the same (and the accident was likely to happen).

      Bottas knew that accelerating early would give Hamilton an easy slipstream overtake.
      A surprise last second acceleration from low speed is the best way to stay ahead (which is what he did successfully).

  8. Drivers will always push for an advantage, this shouldn’t be something left to self-policing. Seems like the FIA might go in the wrong direction here.

    Use the VSC limiter and restart process after the SC pulls into the pits and all will be solved.
    Is it that hard? Blue Steel… Magnum… it’s the same thing!

    1. @John-h I think that is a good idea, effectively releasing the pack at some random time after the leader crosses the safety car line near pit-in (forgot if that is the first or second one) – even taking away the “no overtaking” rule after the leader crosses the safety car line, and before the restart, which would stop the leader slowing the pack down at that point.
      The only point they will need to fix is how to let the back markers unlap themselves without getting stuck at VSC speed just in front of the pack, but surely there is a solution to that too.

      1. Indeed @tricky, however they can still have ‘lapped cars may now overtake’ during the running behind the SC. It’s only after the SC pulls in that VSC rules apply, and then as you mention at a random time during the first lap after this the VSC ends. Seems like a safe way to me, but Masi seems to prefer to close his ears it would seem. Dangerous.

    2. @john-h first let me commend you for using the words “blue steel” and “magnum” to support the argument. This makes the argument as iron-clad as taking off your underwear without taking off your pants! The effects of doing that the wrong way can be as devastating as what transpired at Mugello!

      Didn’t VSC disappear along with the “Heart of the Ocean”?

      1. Didn’t VSC disappear along with the “Heart of the Ocean”?

        lol @freelittlebirds

  9. I have a total different opinion on this. The main problem is where the starting line is. In some tracks like Muggelo, the starting line is too far after the last turn and this is a problem. Bottas turned the last turn and started the straight flat out but then he kept stable gas till some meters before the starting line and then went flat out again. This did make the followers to be in something like accordion and we saw the end result.

    What must happen imo, is a new ruling for this specific tracks, that will say something like “you can accelerate and pass after the last turn and before the starting line as long the SC Car is in the pit entry”. With that or something like it this kind of crashes will never happen again because they are dangerous.

    1. @bluechris The last thing we need is a new rule, or a change of an existing rule, every time something happens once. They should absolutely investigate any safety related incidents, but that should not always result in more rules added in. If a specific thing keeps happening, so that a trend can be identified, that is when you can consider changes. Before then it is impossible to establish whether what happened was just a fluke or something concrete. If anything, what F1 needs are fewer and clearer rules.

      1. They can at least put the “Race is On” line in the pit entry after the last turn. Its a big change? I don’t think so.

  10. This report has been edited, thankfully. The first version made no sense. Another site gave this news in a more coherent manner

    1. wish i knew where bc the articles on here are borderline unreadable latly.

  11. I really don’t get the warning about following directly behind the car in front. If you do that, while you are giving more visibility to those behind, you are blinding yourself. You are also trapping yourself in a nasty sandwich if the guy in front suddenly slows and the guy behind doesn’t. And if that is an issue they should aslo cite Bottas because his wild swerving forced everyone else to do the same down the line to keep their visibility.

  12. I confess that I’m very divided about this. In the video mentioned before yes you can see Russell leaving a gap, but you can also see that when all the cars are already in the main straight, the BIG green lights are blinking overhead, but Bottas was still doing zig zags to warm up the tires. The midfield drivers can only see the green light blinking. I know that the leader can dictate the pace but having the green light is natural to think that the dudes up front are accelerating and not warming up the tires. Even if this allowed by the rule, it was ridiculous.
    I don’t think Bottas did anything against the rulebook but it seems that he took waaaay too long to start racing.

    1. By the definition of the rule book that he didn’t break, he didn’t take too long. He did something different, nothing to blame him for at all.

  13. It does seem strange that of the 18 drivers on the track, they handed out 12 warnings. That is a pretty damming percentage (66%) and a clear indicator that maybe … just maybe, there needs to be a review of the factors that contributed to this mess.

  14. Ridiculous that they couldn’t penalise anyone for this mess. Clearly someone in the midfield triggered everyone behind to accelerate although they still all should have slowed. Giovinazzi at least for one deserved points for me.

    1. Why at least Giovinazzi? He did the exact same thing Magnussen and Latifi did ahead of him, and Sainz did behind of him. Magnussen and Latifi just had a bit more of visibility that allowed them to slow down without rear ending anyone. Giovinazzi and Sainz didn’t have that.

  15. They shouldn’t really penalise anyone for this, I think they got penalised enough with the crash. What a shambles that was! It was very amateurish and I find it funny they’re all blaming something when they should only really blame themselves.

  16. In a safety car restart, the car ahead of you determines when you restart and the car ahead of the car ahead of you determines when the car ahead of you restarts. And the car ahead of the car ahead of the car ahead of you determines when the car ahead of the car ahead of you restarts and so it goes.
    Everyone can’t be too blame.
    Only made worse because of the length pc the straight.

  17. Formal warning for the FIA aswell on another racefact after watching Stroll’s onboard camera again and again, no medical assistance nor instant doctor check after what was a heavy impact. Stroll stayed shake off in the car for a minute at least before jumping out.
    Medical car not for thursday fun.

  18. Please talk to the old Mika who led the pack very slowly with his dying gearbox in Australia in 1999, also talk to Max, who created same issue in Interlagos last year. If someone is yelling, or emotionally attacking someone else, it doesn’t mean he’s right. Bottas was using a book, he was smart, he knew Lewis’ behind and there’s no gap, so he couldn’t accelerate just from the exit of the last corner as Lewis had a clear tow, so he act wisely, but the remained pack saw nothing and made the whole mess. People who know nothing about racing yelling now and creating emotional mess, so I’m glad that Bottas said, what he said at the end of the day.

  19. Maybe we need a restart ‘zone’ like in NASCAR.

  20. Really looked like the halo came to good effect this time. I saw at least one piece of bodywork that seemed to be deflected by it (on Sainz’ car).

    As for the warning, Ok fair enough, but it’s honestly just as much the fault of the rule-makers. It’s not like something similar could not be predicted.

    There needs to be a better way. The SC lines should be at the back of the track, or in some other twisty bit.

  21. Why do they have the green lights on when you can’t overtake before the lead car has crossed the start finish line?

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