Antonio Giovinazzi, Alfa Romeo, Mugello, 2020

Masi rejects drivers’ “quite offensive” claim safety was risked at restart

2020 Tuscan Grand Prix Ferrari 1000

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FIA Formula 1 race director Michael Masi dismissed suggestions by Lewis Hamilton and other drivers that safety had been compromised in the timing of the rolling restart in today’s Tuscan Grand Prix.

Four drivers were eliminated from the race crash on the pit straight during the restart which caused the race to be stopped.

Mercedes drivers Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton were leading the field at the time. Hamilton blamed the crash on the late decision to call the restart, which is signalled by the Safety Car switching its flashing lights off.

“They’re obviously trying to make it more exciting but ultimately today you’ve seen it put people at risk,” said Hamilton.

Bottas claimed Mercedes raised concerns over the timing of Safety Car restarts before the race began, “but they said basically they’re going to keep doing it because it’s better for the show.”

Masi firmly rejected the suggestion that safety had been compromised in order to produce a more exciting restart.

“Absolutely not,” he said. “From an FIA perspective, safety is paramount, full stop. End of story.

“In my capacity as the race director and safety delegate, point blank, that’s where my role sits as the sporting integrity and safety. And anyone that says otherwise is actually quite offensive.”

The timing of the decision to extinguish the Safety Car lights did not play a role in the crash, Masi insisted.

“They can criticise all they want. If we have a look at a distance perspective from where the lights were extinguished to the control line, [it’s] probably not dissimilar, if not longer, than at a number of other venues.

“At the end of the day, the Safety Car lights go out where they do, the Safety Car is in pit lane, we have the 20 best drivers in the world, and as we saw earlier today in the Formula 3 race, those drivers in the junior category had a very, very similar restart to what was occurring in the F1 race and navigated it quite well without incident.”

The stewards issued formal warnings to 12 of the 18 drivers who were involved in the restart for the crash.

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115 comments on “Masi rejects drivers’ “quite offensive” claim safety was risked at restart”

  1. “At the end of the day, the Safety Car lights go out where they do, the Safety Car is in pit lane, we have the 20 best drivers in the world, and as we saw earlier today in the Formula 3 race, those drivers in the junior category had a very, very similar restart to what was occurring in the F1 race and navigated it quite well without incident.”

    Nice one from Masi

    1. A 50% accident rate isn’t much of an argument @bascb, especially when the other 50% has less than 1/4 of the power.

      The fact he can only talk generalities and get huffy says it all really. He can’t actually deny the team raised a concern, can he…

      All being on the straight waiting for a car that’s out of sight to start, all wanting a tow, not able to see more than the car in front – it’s very, very obvious. And pretty weak to just get into this defensive denial, omg being offended. He’s a puppet.

      1. He can’t actually deny the team raised a concern, can he…

        he probably can’t no @zann. But i am not sure he would actually be allowed to deny or confirm such concerns.

        1. He could acknowledge that he was warned @bascb, by being a bit more humble and saying they’ll look at it. Which they probably will, secretly. It’s just such a weak way to respond. And this issue is obviously nothing to do with the length of the straight it’s about having a corner at racing speed before they get onto the straight. Pretending he doesn’t understand this, I mean…

          1. CAn you imagine all these drivers doubting race control is thinking about safety if it would still be Whiting in controll @zann?

          2. No I can’t @bascb. I think Liberty have taken advantage of the change to have more influence! Masi being less confident and in charge of course. The influence is to have more in yer face excitement and let’s not waste time with anything too subtle for our new dumb viewers-to-be, like race-long strategy :(

            But I reckon he might wake up tomorrow morning with second thoughts about taking on the Lewis-Toto axis :)

          3. @bascb Yes, I can. Drivers did doubt Charlie Whiting at certain points in the past, especially once Jean Todt took leadership of the FIA and Article 151c (actions potentially putting F1 or the FIA into disrepute are banned) became less prominent as an issue.

    2. Actually not. He uses one example from F3 as some sort of justification of a current process that is flawed. This has been coming for a while. There is absolutely no need for this (sorry to repeat myself), just by having a VSC ending at the end of the SC period would be much much safer than what we have now.

    3. I am surprised he doesn’t mention that turning off the light earlier would have same outcome. Long straight and SC line quite far down the straight, that was Bottas best hope to avoid offering a tow and be overtaken.
      Changing the location of SC line would have more effect. Still they should turn light off a bit before the final corners to push the drivers to have the restart before the straight.

      1. I think that it actually would have changed the outcome. Most probably the field would be bunched up earlier because most times the drivers let a gap when the safety car is in control. The way I see it, is that the back of the field lost touch with the front which caused the carnage as a result

      2. @jeanrien The location of the SC line 1 isn’t the problem, but that overtaking isn’t allowed until the timing line (it used to be allowed from SC1 before but for some reason this rule changed). The timing line is usually towards the beginning of the S/F straights, i.e., quite close to the last corner, but on some tracks such as this one, it’s far down the straight a la Baku and Brazil, for instance. Allowing overtaking from SC1 again would avoid risks for these types of things.

  2. I don’t blame the drivers who are worried about their safety. 12 drivers got a warning for the big crash, but I would prefer more detailed investigation. It cannot be so that all 12 drivers are absilutely equally to blame.

    1. I think the FIA could have given any of those 12 drivers a penalty. I just think that due to this being the first race at Mugello, and the new rules of the safety car lights, that the FIA decided to not penalize any of the drivers.

      1. If that’s the case, perhaps someone can explain to me what exactly Sainz for example did wrong? @krichelle

        1. @john-h You don’t understand do you? I said “any”.

          1. @krichelle but those are the ones that got the warning from Masi, so it kind of assumes that those are the ones that would have got penalised. Anyway, my misunderstanding.

    2. @bulgarian They’e not. Rather, the rule is that penalties can only be given out if one driver is predominantly to blame, and since blame was apparently castable in 12 directions, making the argument that only one person was predominantly to blame is difficult.

  3. I don’t know… The fact the accident happened should be a pointer that there’s room to improve… And while it obviously wasn’t intended, there was risk, because it was a nasty accident involving a lot of cars going at very different speeds. Every time the leader waits until the very last moment to accelerate, which he’s entitled to do ofc, things like this happen. It happens in other categories too…

    It’s also happened before that the leader goes fast, then slow, then fast again, creating an accordion effect that’s magnified the further behind you go in the queue.

    I don’t know, in any case, when something like this happens, the first thing you think is how to avoid it happening again, not that the drivers are a “bunch of…” who did worse than their F3 and F2 collegues.

    1. The thing is, here the leader did NOT go fast, slow down and then fast again @fer-no65. It was the midfield who let a gap develop then sped up, then had to slow down to avoid running into the back of the front who were still going slow waiting to restart (as Bottas was pacing them). Then the guys further back, who had taken the guys ahead of them speeding up as the sign to get going, smashed into them when they suddenly slowed.

      1. Exactly @bascb and the solution to that is obvious too. When the safety car lights go out the leading car controls the pace and the following cars have to stay within say 3 car lenghts of the previous car.

      2. @bascb replace leader with whoever did it in the midfield. My point was that it’s very short-sighted to just say the drivers are stupid… there’s always room to improve and such a big accident cannot go overlooked.

        1. The thing is, it is the leader who replaces the function of the SC until they deem fit to start, or at the latest at the timing line @fer-no65. The rest of the field has no job but to be carefull, drive steadily without passing or erronously braking and prepare to get racing again until the rmoment the race is restarted by the lead driver.

    2. That’s like saying yellow flags don’t work if a driver decides to start racing in the middle of a yellow sector and hits a driver who is following the rules. The first question should be why can’t the drivers follow a simple procedure?

  4. Haha, shots fired from Masi at the F1 drivers for not doing as good a job as their junior F3 counterparts. Kind of true though when you compare them both.

  5. How I miss Charlie…

    So. A big crash happened, he prefers to claim that 12 of the 20 best drivers in the world all did the same miscalculation, but there was nothing else wrong.
    Comparing the speed of cars and the importance of a restart of F1 to F3 is ridiculous.

    Worrying with safety is not about deploying safety car every time some piece of rubber is left out of place. Worrying about safety should be measuring risks and benefits, and sometimes worrying with safety should be leaving a retired car perfectly outside track (like Magnussen last week or Bottas in Brazil) as it is, instead of packing all the cars with SC in a much riskier situation.

    1. These cars are safer than any road car I have ever driven. Safety is not an issue anymore in F1. There will always be risks left. Everywhere.

      1. RIP Jules Bianchi

        1. Tractors on the race course are always a problem. This was not that.

          IndyCar and NASCAR regularly pull of restarts without issue. One time it happens And it is a problem? No. Human error. Happened at Gateway in IndyCar.

          1. My objection was the statement “Safety is not an issue in F1 anymore”

            You start thinking like that and injuries will occur.

            Massi rather than being bullish like he has been should look into the restart process and see if any tweaks are needed.

      2. What garbage @spafrancorchamps, especially given your username.

        1. Sorry it sounded harsh @spafrancorchamps, but to say safety is not an issue anymore makes me angry. There are always improvements that can be made in any racing series.

    2. @F1Recorder 12 of the best 17 on track at that time, which makes it even worse (since it would be quite difficult for the 3 who had already DNFed to know if they would have been caught up in that or not).

  6. So why are the safety car lights extinguished so late then? And furthermore, why was this changed to be later than it was in previous seasons?

    When people so obviously go out of their way not to answer the actual question/topic, you know they are guilty of what was said.

    1. Well said!

    2. @f1osaurus The rules have always allowed the lights to be extinguished at whatever point Race Control tells the Safety Car driver to do so, provided it is before the Safety Car peels into the pits. No change was required for this to occur.

      1. @alianora-la-canta I didn’t say the rules were changed. I said:

        So why are the safety car lights extinguished so late then? And furthermore, why was this changed to be later than it was in previous seasons?

        1. @f1osaurus Please check the last 13 words of your quotation. That is where you said the rules were changed.

          1. @alianora-la-canta Are you kidding me right now?!?!?!?!?

            Please read your own quote that this change in behavior does not need the rules to be changed.

            The rules have always allowed the lights to be extinguished at whatever point Race Control tells the Safety Car driver to do so, provided it is before the Safety Car peels into the pits. No change was required for this to occur.

            You explained that no rules need to be changed for Masi to change when they switch off the SC lights and then you pretend I said that the rules needed to be changed for Masi to change when they switch off the SC lights. That was already idiotic, but now again you pretend I claimed that the rules needed to be changed. Even when I clearly say that I didn’t imply or say this.

          2. @alianora-la-canta Are you kidding me right now?!?!?!?!?

            Please read your own quote that this change in behavior does not need the rules to be changed.

            The rules have always allowed the lights to be extinguished at whatever point Race Control tells the Safety Car driver to do so, provided it is before the Safety Car peels into the pits. No change was required for this to occur.

          3. @f1osaurus Thank you for agreeing with me.

          4. @alianora-la-canta If only you had bothered to try and understand that before you to lecture me on something I never said.

            You just look dumb yourself when you pretend people say dumb nonsense just because your reading comprehension skills are zero.

          5. @F1osaurus Either you do not know what you said, or you do not know how to express what you are trying to say. There is no way to get from “why was this changed to be later than it was in previous seasons?” to “I didn’t say the rules were changed.” Note that both are quotations from your responses on this conversation.

            Furthermore, the nature of your previous two posts indicates that you knew that no such method of reconciling those two statements existed, at the very least, before you posted the last message. I caught you making a false statement and instead of correcting yourself, you have chosen to double-down on your error by casting aspersions over someone who spotted the obvious mistake you made.

            Kindly think through the content of any future remark you wish to make.

          6. @alianora-la-canta I said this:

            So why are the safety car lights extinguished so late then? And furthermore, why was this changed to be later than it was in previous seasons?

            Now point out where I put the word “regulations” or “rules”? Ah OI didn’t did I. So if I didn’t then why would I pretend they needed to be changed?

            How does it even matter? Masi DID changed the way the SC operates. However he did it he did it.

          7. @f1osaurus I already told you. Twice. As you refused to “think through the content of any future remark you wish to make”, I am obliged to believe you either do not know, or do not care, what you said. Therefore no point discussing this matter with you any further, except to say that whatever argument you were trying to make, you chose to self-destruct.

          8. @alianora-la-canta Dude seriously, where you dropped as a baby a lot or something?

            I pose a simple question and you lecture me on something I didn’t say. Plus whatever you made up that I said is totally irrelevant to the statement anyway. So how dumb can you get? Well just wait you get even dumber. Instead of just taking it and walking away, you ridicule yourself even more by insisting on … well I don’t even know/care what you think you are defending so desperately.

            Oh and next time you feel the urge to lecture someone because you think they said something incredibly dumb, just realize that it’s just you who is dumb and you misunderstood what was written and refrain from posting your drivel.

  7. Bottas was weaving to warm tyres, even crossed in Hamilton’s line as the accident happend.
    The rules ban erratic driving.

    1. The current rules dictate that the leader of the field takes over the “pacecar” function, dictating the pace. Until Bottas started to speed up, they were still running as if they were behind the safetycar PB.

      The issue was not with Bottas running slow, that was fully expected on this long straight. The issue was with the midfield (about Russel – Latifi) who slowed, let a gap form, then sped up to close that gap and then had to brake once they came up to the back of the first group of cars who were stil going slow, waiting for Bottas to restart the racing.

      1. I said weaving.
        The rules ban: accelerating then braking and other forms of erratic driving

        1. @PB.Warming the tires during SC is a banned practice? Since when? LOL. What line did Hamilton have or own? The guy in front has a racing line. It’s really silly to call the decades long practice of warming tires in this manner during a SC period banned or breaking the rules. How about during formation lap or qualifying? The penalties received by all drivers even before a race would have them all lose their superlicence, lol.

        2. @PB If you are saying that weaving is a form of erratic driving, then I wonder why no driver gets a penalty while driving behind the safety car, because all the cars are weaving to warm their tires while driving behind the safety car.
          Since they are not, surely the weaving does not fall under the definition of erratic driving.

          I think the drivers at the back were at fault, they should just follow the driver in front and not slow-down to create a gap like Russell did and to then accelerate in the hope of catching the driver in front right after the start-finish line.

      2. Bottas was weaving in front of Lewis while the cars at the back of the peloton could only see overhead the green light blinking, whitout noticing that the leader up front was doing zigzags all over the place.

  8. What I did see on the several videos of the accident, it seemed to start with george russell, he left a big gap to kevin, and accelerated to close that gap, at the same time bottas sped up. Russell decelated, but saw the cars in front accelerate and he passed kevin, magnussen had not accelerated yet, as giovenazzi and latifi were already going full throttle. Latifi could evade kevin, but gio collided and took sainz out too.
    So i don’t think the front runners are too blame, although there was a long stretch to the line.

  9. FiA hate being taken to account.. when they are wrong.. remember what happened to SUTIL in japan…a needless death that could have been avoided. ..if proper safety car and red flag had been deployed..moments after the crash in the rain..

    1. i think i got it my answer above. my apologies..

    2. We know what you mean spiderman. The difference was they actually did something after that tradegy… it led to the VSC. Something that since Charlie’s passing, has hardly been used.

      1. @john-h VSC does not help with ” improving the show”, so they’d rather not use that. Safety car and standing restarts are where the entertainment is at. It’s sad.

        Also unfair to the drivers who did their best getting a gap and then lose it because it must be “entertaining”.

        1. @f1osaurus Yes, but what’s the point of its existence if it isn’t going to be used for its intended purpose? Full SC shouldn’t be applied merely for the sake of it, only when absolutely necessary. For example, Magnussen’s car position in Monza didn’t necessarily require a full SC, VSC would’ve been perfectly fine, and the same with at least two, if not all three, of the cases in Austria 1. VSC doesn’t break the flow of the races as much, thus, allows for getting back to racing speed quicker, and results in shorter overall race times, so should be favored for ‘small’ things, which is why it was introduced in the first place.

          1. @jerejj Yeah well I agree with you, but apparently Masi is more interested in “improving” the show.

  10. Unfortunately, in over 30 years as a Specialist Safety Engineer & Risk Analyst I’ve found that those who claim safety is Paramount usually have the least sophisticated and purely reactive Safety Systems.

    They Know nothing about Modern Safety Management, even the simpler systems enshrined in legislation. Its a clasic reaction to say the Standards that exist, although recently modified, are still adequate/fit for purpose, even if stakeholders object.
    FIA keep reacting with rule changes to perceived Hazards with new rules or devices. But they rarely carry out a systematic analysis of a set of associated Hazards and then the frequency/likelihood of happen, from accident database, or logical modelling. Then both the benefits and drawbacks of proposed mitigations can be properly assessed – A suitable and sufficient Risk Assessment.

    Strangely, senior members of FIA requested this 6 years ago.
    Jules Bianchi Accident Panel recommendation.
    6. F1 risk review
    Consideration will be given to a review of F1 risk, in order to ascertain whether there are any significant holes in the safety defences, such that an unforeseen combination of circumstances could result in a serious accident.

    I’ve never seen any attempt by FIA to address this recommendation.

    1. FIA keep reacting with rule changes to perceived Hazards with new rules or devices. But they rarely carry out a systematic analysis of a set of associated Hazards and then the frequency/likelihood of happen, from accident database, or logical modelling. Then both the benefits and drawbacks of proposed mitigations can be properly assessed – A suitable and sufficient Risk Assessment.

      This is simply not true though Martin. You might want to read up more on what the FIA do in the background, for example the investigation into the accident that cost Hubert his life.

      1. @bascb Wasn’t the goal of that investigation more to exonerate the FIA and any drivers involved from blame?

        So they covered a “gap” in the tyre wall. Yet they did nothing about the car that went full throttle over the escape road.

      2. @bascb Martin Elliott is correct to say that none of the many things the FIA does in the background for safety has included a full risk assessment. There is some proactive safety work being done, but it tends to be fairly specific and in one of the following three categories:

        1) A new venue wants to join F1. A risk assessment is done for that track, which often leads to updated protocols because every new venue seems to have new risks or at least unusual risk combinations.

        2) Someone has a research question. The search for better head protection is the classic example, as about a dozen separate research projects, including one risk analysis regarding debris movement in accidents (including a lot of crashes that had happened and even more that had not), led to many new risk protocols in related fields.

        3) There is a crash. Most single crashes don’t result in a fresh risk analysis, but serious ones do, and moderate ones (along with some minor crashes) are put into a database, where they potentially could be called up for meta-analysis (and at some point probably will be, as all meta-analyses of crashes that I know that don’t relate to research questions have started where the previous one left off).

    2. Yeah, because they bolted on the Halo for aesthetics…

    3. Unfortunately it seems you know nothing of f1. Sid Watkins and his Indy compatriot spent their whole lives making everything round f1 and Indy safer. Absolute and utter anger making comments by you.

      1. tony mansell, the criticisms that he is raising are criticisms related to management in the post Sid Watkins era, given that the example he cites is from the investigation into Bianchi’s death – two years after Watkins himself had passed away.

        He is not the only individual who has raised serious concerns about the way in which the FIA has been acting – Gary Hartstein was scathing about how the FIA has been reacting to safety issues ever since Watkins passed away, noting that, in the period between Watkins passing away and Hartstein leaving the FIA, he had seen a decline in the FIA’s quality management systems for safety matters.

        He noted that the FIA did seem to be scaling back some of their research initiatives into accidents, and raised concerns about certain staff being promoted into positions for which they were arguably unsuited. When he raised concerns after he left the FIA about them breaking their own safety protocols in the 2014 Japanese Grand Prix, such as over the FIA not ensuring that drivers could, in the event of a medical emergency, be transported to a hospital within the maximum transit time, their response was to try to intimidate the hospital that Hartstein is working at into firing him.

        To invoke Watkins’s memory is to then be faced with the fact that the FIA’s medical commission has also expelled all of the higher ranking individuals whom Watkins appointed to help him carry out his reforms – raising the question of whether the FIA really is carrying on his legacy, or allowing them to be progressively tarnished over time.

    4. @Martin Elliott The FIA said a comprehensive risk review would be considered. It never said it would be done.

      It is not clear whether the comprehensive risk review was:

      – completed and simply put behind the FIA subscription wall without anything so problematic in it that it would warrant anyone breaking silence on its existence (that would be the best answer)

      – quietly in progress (a comprehensive assessment of something as complex as F1 could feasibly take years)

      – split such that the risk review is being done in components (the FIA would had some recent partial risk reviews before the crash happened for legal reasons, as well as some partial risk reviews in support of ongoing research projects, so if that amendment happened, the subsequent partial reviews would be in the same subscription-walled format). That would work provided a meta-analysis of risk was also done to check for risks crossing boundaries of the partial risk reviews.

      – never started. This is the option that worries me – partial risk reviews are helpful (as far as I know, the FIA has them on a per-crash, per-venue and per-research question basis) and it’s natural the FIA prefers them because they’re more likely to be the sort of thing with a definite goal and budget and doable by a small team of experts… but a meta-risk-analysis has a way of turning up issues that aren’t apparent when using risk analysis with smaller boundaries. (Note: meta-analysis based on major crashes (defined as having resulted in trips to the medical centre or hospital for at least one person) have happened in the late 1980s and late 1990s, but I don’t think F1’s ever done a full risk assessment on the entire activity all at once in the sense that Martin Eliott and the signatories to the settlement to which he refers meant).

      Knowing the FIA, any of these options is possible.

  11. Good on you Masi, some of the drivers are getting a rather inflated opinion of themselves at the moment with some of their comments.

    BUT, it should be pretty obvious that all the cars doing 50mph when they would normally be doing 180, and the cars behind not being able to see so far in front to know if the first driver has accelerated, that there is an increased chance of an incident like this.

    I used to race in online league racing and when we used to have rolling starts, this sort of thing always happened because of the accordion effect of people maintaining track position and warming tyres/brakes. We ended up using speed limiter out of final corner to the s/f line then leader disengages it, and only then can the driver behind do it. Bang – no more incidents. The F1 equivalent of that is the virtual safety car so maybe use that for restarts (as several have mentioned now)? Just some system that comes up in everyone’s car at the same time so nobody is in doubt the race is GO.

    1. @mysticarl

      some of the drivers are getting a rather inflated opinion of themselves

      You have noticed they’re the ones who actually do the driving? And risk themselves in any pile up? Not Masi.
      That’s before we get to the point that Bottas claimed Mercedes questioned the restart timing, but said that “they said basically they’re going to keep doing it because it’s better for the show”. Then Masi denied they did so. However, just based on the recent number of unnecessary SCs and red flags, there’s a clear attempt to ‘spice up’ the show due to the failure of the engine mode changes to pull back Mercedes. Today was inept and nearly catastrophic, and the blame is entirely with FIA and the race controller.

      1. That’s utter rubbish. Other than the Stroll red flag which seemed OTT slightly, what incident in the last 2 races didn’t deserve what race control did? Just puppeting some people in the press saying they’re ‘spicing things up’ doesn’t make it true. And it’s nothing to do with race control. If you want a series where race control do that sort of thing go to NASCAR.

        Monza red flag was entirely necessary, they had to totally rebuild the tyre wall it was red flagged for like 25 minutes! Did the restart crash not require a red flag? Again another long time to tidy the track. The incident before the red flag definitely needed the safety car to get the debris and cars out of the gravel, so nothing to complain about there either.

        Mercedes will complain because they have the most to lose. What they say in the press is their opinion, and heavily slanted to their aim, and shouldn’t be taken as ‘fact’ by anybody. Mercedes are so far ahead there’s nobody that seriously expected the engine mode change to suddenly make them lose anyway – though I’m sure the press have tried to make it sound like it to sell some column inches.

        Some of the drivers need to think and look at the incidents thoroughly before spouting off about them. Bottas saying it was entirely the back of the field’s fault, others criticising the organisers without any proper basis or argument. I think people appreciate it when the drivers speak their minds a little (I certainly do or they all sound like robots), but they need to be careful not to go too far.

        1. @mysticarl You completely failed to answer my point about the timing for the SC going in. Mercedes had studied the restarts in earlier races (F2 and F3) and concluded that the only way for the lead driver not to be overtaken on the long main straight, given the very short period given between the SC entering and the SC line, was for him to do as Bottas did, crawl to the start/finish line and then accelerate. That’s why Bottas did what he did, advised by Mercedes (Hamilton would have done the same way). Only they suggested giving the lead driver more time on the SC in lap to bunch up the back before the main straight and be able to set off earlier. But FIA ignored that idea – a fact both Bottas and Hamilton mentioned, claiming that they were told it was kept to spice up the show. Whether Mercedes saw the risk of something happening like what we saw, I don’t know, but certainly the front drivers (including Albon) put the blame on the decision to delay the SC in signal as late as possible. This needs an inquiry, not FIA blaming 12 drivers for an incident they were implicitly or explicitly warned about.

          1. That makes no logical sense. Bottas would not have gone flat-out out of the last corner even if given an entire lap to bunch the pack – it would make it far easier for Lewis to slipstream him and overtake before turn 1. He would still have crawled down the main straight to try and keep position. That’s the function of the position of the safety car line and not when the lights went out on the SC.

            The only issue was having the safety car line so far down the straight. It should always be around the final corner to force the lead car to go at that point, so all cars know they will be full-throttle down the s/f straight. I’m not sure why that rule was changed, it seemed fine for ages.

            Also, the Mercedes drivers have not said that. They paraphrased the response they were given and the media/fans/observers have spun it to their own ends. The direct quote is from Bottas which was (on the subject of changing the lights-off point for the safety car) “They said basically they’re going to keep doing it because it’s better for the show. I think that was the reply”. So not only is it vague, but also at best 2nd hand because it’s clear someone from the team gave him the information – it could be laced with sarcasm as well given the team were clearly unhappy with the response. I think people need to take these conversations with more than a pinch of salt.

            As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, just come out of SC via VSC and hopefully the situation wouldn’t happen again anyway.

    2. some system that comes up in everyone’s car at the same time so nobody is in doubt the race is GO

      I think you have addressed a fundamental problem.

      In a standing start, everyone bases their decision when to start on the same objective factor: the lights going out.

      In a rolling start, the complete field make their own decision on when exactly the race has (re)started, based on very subjective reasons (race craft, gut feeling, well- or mis-interpreted signals, propensity to take risks).

      These multiple decisions allow for significant speed differences to build up within a field still bunched up – as long as you have (or more precisely, left) a gap in front of you to do so.

      A maximum gap therefore, enforced as a rule, is indispensable to limit the risk (of speed difference) which the discrepancy between 10-15 individual starting decisions can cause.

  12. The biggest problem is the FIA not upholding their own rules and regulations.
    Jules Bianchi should have never been allowed to travel at that speed under a double yellow.

    Today, George Russell and others should never been allowed to drop back this far from the drivers they were following.

    1. @SadF1fan The rules permitted the driver conduct you specify on both incidents; those rules simply did not anticipate those consequences. The double-yellow-flag rule of being 0.5 slower than the fastest time through a subsector failed to take into account the combination of tyre wear and increasing rain (meaning nobody could have broken the rule if they’d tried at that specific moment of Suzuka 2014). Similarly, once the Safety Car goes into the pits, the 10-car-length rule no longer applies, meaning that if George had wanted 500 metres of distance to the next car, he’d have been perfectly entitled to that (usually that’s not even possible because the gap between the Safety Car and start lines are too short, but on this occasion, they were separated by 800 metres).

  13. Perhaps, instead of a safety car, all cars should immediately stop at the side of the road and await further instructions. Then engage pitlane speed limiter and carefully drive round to line up on the grid for a restart.
    That solves safety problem and rolling restart problem. Plus the grid starts are more exciting than rolling starts, so it would improve “the show”. It’s easier to see sponsor logos on stopped cars, and the drivers can do interviews if they have any spare time.

    1. lol “drivers can do interviews if they have any spare time.”

  14. “They’re obviously trying to make it more exciting but ultimately today you’ve seen it put people at risk,” said Hamilton.
    Bottas claimed Mercedes raised concerns over the timing of Safety Car restarts before the race began, “but they said basically they’re going to keep doing it because it’s better for the show.”
    Masi firmly rejected the suggestion that safety had been compromised in order to produce a more exciting restart.

    Somebody is basically lying.

    1. @david-br I had not seen that quote from Bottas and it is very concerning if that was how Mercedes’ pre-race query got handled. Especially if it was the FIA that fielded that response.

  15. Masi is a serious concern now. When as he says the best drivers in the world say there is a problem, and he calls that offensive and disregards their opinion, that’s some 70’s-esque power tripping right there.

    The procedure needs to be looked at, whether the accelerating point is brought back to the last corner not the line, or whether there needs to be dictation that they line up single file as Button suggested on Sky, something needs to be considered…

    1. those drivers should be warned that bottas drove slowly to wards the line and that they should stay at the same speed untill passing the line. I am afraid it was Russel who started this and the rest reacted (badly) the team should guide the drivers or atleast warned them.

    2. What he said was offensive was the suggestion that they would deliberately sacrifice safety to “spice up the show”

      I have do doubt that on other aspects, he and the FIA will hold an investigation. Having watched it quite a few times now there’s a couple of things that I’d like to point out.

      1) Conventional wisdom is normally stay close to the car(s) in front and take advantage of DRS when it’s re-enabled after a couple of laps.
      2) given the prodigious braking these cars have, I’m somewhat amazed at how few got on the brakes, or how late they did. Some even seemed to just plow into the carnage in a poor Blues Brothers parody with barely any semblance of brake application.

      In reality, the drivers really need to have a good hard look at themselves.

  16. Why not just make it nice and easy and have the Safety Car lights go out at the beginning of the third sector, that gives plenty of room for the field to form up behind the lead driver? If the declaration of the track being clear and message announcing the recall of the Safety Car occurs after the field has entered the third sector, then they have to go round again.

    Regardless of the F3 drivers managing to cope with a similar restart, such a system would remove much of the uncertainty arising from one of the more potentially dangerous occurrences during a Grand Prix weekend. And if as Masi says, safety is paramount, would the FIA not want to reduce this element of unpredictability in such a scenario?

  17. Maybe, just maybe, its worth listening to drivers with a decade or more experience about whether this was safe. Masi needs to go at the end of the year, completely out of his depth. Yet another race where the VSC should have been used rather than the safety car which completely randomises strategy. Why bother making your single pit stop when you can just wait for the arbitrary unneeded safety car during the race.

  18. The track has never been used for F1 races before for a reason. Add to that a Race Director stubbornly being the new broom and the FIA focussed on squashing success to benefit the mediocre and Liberty preoccupied with becoming Bernie2 by inventing gimmicks to ‘spice up the show’…….of course it’s a mess.

  19. That’s an outrageous, inflammatory thing to say and not befitting his position. I don’t think a restart crash like this is a particular threat to life and limb, but the dismissive, aggressive attitude from Masi is indicative of something worrying. He needs to be more professional.

    1. I don’t think a restart crash like this is a particular threat to life and limb

      All it takes is a car to be sideways then T-boned at those speeds on the straight so it actually is.

      1. Yes and if a cars wing came off then it might get air born. So do we get rid of wings?

        You base your argument on a hypothetical that didn’t happen!! Amazing

        1. Huh? Was just saying it was a very dangerous circumstance, which sainz himself pointed out in his interview. Didn’t say anything about wings, why are you looking for an argument?

          1. Because I disagree with you. You post a comment and someone doesn’t agree is an argument?? You are a delicate flower

        2. @ tony mansell I don’t understand why you think it’s so hypothetical. It just takes one smaller collision to spin a car at right angles into the path of another car at high velocity. We saw that happen last year tragically at Spa. Tristan’s @skipgamer point is spot on – in fact, seeing the replay I was cringing, thinking it could well have happened. It explains why the drivers involved thought it was so potentially dangerous too.

  20. I remember why rolling starts were introduced as I’m sure many here do and the reason for them. But it does not matter what rules are introduced if people don’t or can’t follow them does it. Either through ignorance or deliberately ignoring or circumstances make it not viable.
    From my experience one set of rules do not fit all, each and every circuit needs to be assessed as an individual and unique circumstance and rules developed accordingly.

  21. The safety car lights always used to go out at the start of sector 3 & I think they should go back to doing that.

  22. Hamilton’s criticised Masi this week, last week he went storming up to race control during a red flag to intimidate officials.

    This is not acceptable.

    1. he stormed to the stewards… not race control.

    2. There you go with ‘unacceptable’ again. You seem to have frustrated authority issues.

  23. Best drivers in the world failed at being the best drivers in the world. Give them 1000 lines to write out “I shall not overtake before the start line”

  24. The rules lay it out – the rules were not followed – Russel left a gap accelerated into it, swerved – the others all followed suit directly behind, except kimi who was to the side so he could see, and did not give themselves enough space to see or avoid a crash. Formal warnings given.

    Hamilton needs to wind his neck in.

  25. EVERY time anything goes wrong in F1 we want to prescribe some new rule. Its a weak response, in the extreme, imagine football changing the goalposts every time there was a nil nil or someone got injured. Its a one off freak occurrence at a frankly brilliant track with all the edge of the seat drama you get when there are consequences to actions. It was a good call by the FIA to say the track limits are the gravel and other tracks should follow that lead.

    Absolutely loved it and whilst we cant be blaze about safety they are extremely safe machines, they do go fast, you are the best drivers in the world, try and keep out of trouble. Blaming the safety car or the track for midfield cars seesawing each other to get a run to the start line is denial and buck passing. If you really don’t think you have any blame in these crashes then you really shouldn’t be in a race car

    1. You are an astounding hypocrite given you have been calling for constant rule changes to “spice up the show’.

      1. Im sorry I don’t know who you are but I certainly have not. Ive previously suggested we trial a reverse grid, that’s not constant. You are an astounding nobody with nothing to say.

        1. tony mansell, you’ve asked for a lot more than that – but, to use your sarcastic reply earlier in this thread “You are a delicate flower” and now seem to be throwing out abuse because you don’t like being criticised.

  26. In my personal opinion the driver in front dictating the pace is a very poor way of managing the restart. I think a more logical option would be to just greenlight the race once the SC has pitted and when it goes green the race is back on. Waiting at the back for the driver at the front to accelerate when you can’t see him past 4th or 5th is quite weird.

    1. @eljueta This would have the problem that people would start at different times depending on where they were in relation to whichever flag was nearest, leading to even more crunching behaviour (as the early experiences with Code 60 in WEC testify).

      1. @alianora-la-canta don’t they get the green in the steering wheel?

        1. They get the green when they pass a marshal post, for the sake of consistency. So the time of getting the green varies according to when the next marshal post is crossed. (For safety reasons, a VSC or SC is instead issued everywhere at once, although deltas for VSCs only operate across complete sub-sectors of a lap).

  27. I think some of it has to do with the fact that the front straight is a big arch. On a track like the Red Bull Ring, you can see all the way to the front cars from the back. On this track, you can only see the first few cars in front of you. And speaking of the track, I think the slight bank on the corners created a second line for passing. Slight banking could be a fix for F1’s passing problems. I always thought the turns were flat cause when a car goes off on a bank, it ‘ramps’ it into the air as it leaves the asphalt. But if they considered that amount of banking safe, then perhaps they should bank the corners on other tracks. Many of those turns had 2 lines and made for many great outside passes.

  28. If there was no issue with the SC system in Mugello then why was the race immediately red flagged as soon as Stroll binned it, and restarted from the grid? And, why not even throw a VSC for Strolls crash, that’s what its for, is it not.

    Race control knew that a full SC and subsequent restart could have resulted in another smash on the S/F straight.

    1. @N Because the barrier needed repairs (which can’t be done with cars circulating under F1 marshalling protocol, regardless of SC or VSC state), and the standard procedure for red flags is to have a standing start afterwards because this is deemed to be more exciting. (Rolling starts are an option in that situation, but only if Race Control considers a standard start to be too dangerous in that situation).

  29. I can understand Masis point here though his defence is weak (as usual, I’m afraid I have to say).
    Mercedes brought this up. But of course they had zero concerns over safety. The only thing they cared about: “Oh, it’s a long straight and the finish line comes late. Everyone will be in our slipstream. The earlier the safety car lights go out the better we can prepare our restart and the lesser is the chance we get overtaken.”

    But of course FIA have to examine closely what happened to prevent crashes like this from happening again.
    As other readers have already mentioned the reintroduction of overtaking before the start/finish line could be a thing or a relocation of the latter. Also the drivers have to be weary.
    Maybe they can place big video walls along the pit straight so they can see on TV what’s going on. Or their engineers warn them via radio. Experience and spacial awareness play a big part as well. Raikkonen knew or estimated what was going on and had time to react accordingly.
    Of course hindsight is a beautiful thing but I think we had similar restarts before that went absolutely fine so it wasn’t necessary to alter the procedure only because Mercedes was not happy with it. If we have the choice we all would prefere a late restart to one more lap behind the safety car.

  30. it took far too long for stroll’s car to be removed from the barrier .
    and in a separate gripe . if a car is still running with no vivble damage why can that car be assisted back on to track to continue racing .
    the time penalty for going in to the gravel trap is bad enough but being out because you have run wide is not good for the fans .
    if a car has terminal damage then recover it to safety but i its a driver error let them be assisted to resume racing .

    1. @savizzo Why? Because marshals are at liberty to render a scene safe by any means they deem fit that is compatible with the protocols marshals are required to follow. If a driver is considered to have got an unfair advantage through marshal assistance, the Sporting Regulations allow a penalty (that can be as high as disqualification) to be levied to the recipient. This rule has existed since 2008. However, drivers are not permitted to assume such support will be offered, to encourage them to race within their abilities.

      1. shame i like to the cars race .

  31. If Michael wants me to believe the FIA puts safety first, then he can start by convincing Race Control that risking marshal safety for several laps of yellow flag/safety car when it must have been obvious during the first camera shot that the barrier was itself sufficient to require a red (let alone anything Lance might have needed medically), was a poor idea never to be repeated.

    It came across as an act purely to patch over the gap left by a safety rule (i.e. that swapping tyres under a red flag is free) that turned out to be relevant because the crash had been caused by a puncture.

    While I believe the restart mess was due to mass incompetence on the drivers’ part, defending FIA conduct there by claiming the FIA puts safety first only works when the race itself offers no counter-examples.

  32. Masi is “offended”?
    Oh, hell, excuse me.
    I was under the impression that he was hired to do a competent job and he repeatedly demonstrated his ignorance and made poor decisions. I guess he was offended by his own stupidity.

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