Safety Car, Nurburgring, 2020

FIA rejects Verstappen’s claim Safety Car was used ‘to make race more exciting’

2020 Eifel Grand Prix

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FIA Formula 1 race director Michael Masi rejected claims the Safety Car was used at the end of the Eifel Grand Prix to compress the field and create a more exciting race.

Max Verstappen was among those who criticised the decision to deploy the Safety Car after Lando Norris stopped his McLaren at the Dunlop curve late in the race. The McLaren had suffered a power unit problem and Norris stopped adjacent to a gap in the barrier.

“I don’t think we needed a Safety Car,” said Verstappen, who had been running second behind Lewis Hamilton at the time. “You could have done it with a Virtual Safety Car. But I think they just wanted to make it more exciting again because of the gaps.”

Masi denied this was the case, saying there were two reasons why the Safety Car was used in response to Norris stopping. “One was obviously Lando’s car had some smoke and fire, so that was one point,” he said.

“The other one was at first glance we weren’t confident that the car could actually be recovered into the opening that was there due to the tightness of it. So rather than having to react along the way, it was determined to go for a Safety Car. That way it could be dealt with all at once, immediately. So it’s the safest action in that circumstance.”

Verstappen was also unhappy about the length of time the Safety Car spent on-track in the cold conditions. He and other drivers complained about falling tyre temperatures prior to the restart.

“At the track here where it’s so cold with the tyres we have, you need to bring them up to temperature,” he said. “It was quite dangerous out there.

“The problem as well is that three or four cars are all the time behind the Safety Car [but] the others get the wave-around and they can warm up their tyres because they’re pushing. So it’s also an unfair advantage for the guys behind us. But anyway, we’ll talk about it and see what happens.”

The delay in ending the Safety Car period happened because of the length of time it took to wave the lapped cars through, said Masi.

“There’s a requirement in the sporting regulations to wave all the lapped cars passed. So from that point it was position six onwards that were still running. Between 10, 11 cars had to unlap themselves. And therefore the Safety Car period was a bit longer than what we would have normally expected.”

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Dieter Rencken
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104 comments on “FIA rejects Verstappen’s claim Safety Car was used ‘to make race more exciting’”

  1. Offcorse they did. That os their job. And drivers did their best to entertain us on underinflated cold tires.

    It is time we do a rolling start after the safety car. This bunching up the pack is horrible.

    Imagine amazing entertainment if Lewis and Max went toggether in to first corner on cold tires?

    1. Nell (@imabouttogoham)
      12th October 2020, 3:25

      It’s not their job to make the race more exciting. Their job is to ensure the sporting and technical regulations are adhered to.

    2. @jureo Rolling starts indeed happen after an SC period.

    3. I just hope drivers keep being vocal about these American artificial entertainment boosters. Its a disgrace and Masi knows it. Liberty will only increase deployment, thats their shareholder value role.. so that needs counterweight. Drivers should use the press to more strongly advocate their view

      1. Masi works for the FIA, @mayrton. Not Liberty Media.

        No point blaming the commercial rights holder for the FIA ensuring the regulations are adhered to.

        1. Well, thats just being naive..

          1. You’re right.
            It’s all a conspiracy.

  2. I’m usually a guy that doesn’t enjoy “conspiracy” theories and so on, but today I’ll have to fully agree with Max.

    The way they brought out the Safety Car immediately, without even deploying VSC to try and see if they can recover the car, as Lando parked it in a decent spot, made me kinda sceptical.

    Having in mind the whole Monza and Mugello races,i waited for the race to end in order to check Landos onboard from F1 TV.

    The car was easily recoverable and they didn’t even have to bring the tractors out from the marshall post…. As the race was unfolding, P2 to P3 would have a minute difference and most drivers would have been lapped. We lost 2-3 races just to have half of the field unlapping themselves while the car was recovered…..

    1. Hmm Leclerc was the first one of the lapped cars… Therefore, he was the first one to get the warmest tyres of the field at the restart since he did a lap on full speed to recover the gap to the unlapped cars…. I guess it was the Ferrari Master Plan in action again… But failed this time. They tried to give Ferrari a chance of a podium with cold tyres for Sainz, Perez and Ricciardo. Any chance of more conspiracy theories?

      1. Your maths is wrong, the first one to close up the gap is the longest to drive back at slow SC speed and thus the one of the lapped cars with the coldest tires.

      2. That’s your theories and i never mentioned Leclerc or Ferrari. Fact is, VSC was created for events like the one yesterday and i really can’t see why they didn’t use VSC initially and if they couldn’t recover the vehicle, then they would bring out the safety car

    2. @miltosgreekfan Yes, they should’ve at the very least started with VSC to see if it would be enough.

      1. @jerejj that’s why i got sceptical, they didn’t even use VSC to see if they can clear the car quickly and return to action without theuusage of the Safety Car.

        VSC was implemented for incidents like the one yesterday, to make sure that marshalls can safely recover a vehicle/debris while the race isn’t compromised

    3. While I don’t buy into any conspiracy theory, I do think it was a bad decision. The VSC was perfect for this situation, at least to start with.

      I believe it was not deliberate to ‘spice up the show’. Hanlons’ razor applies methinks.
      It was just incompetence. Which is hopeful in some way because it might improve over time…..

  3. This does not seem complicated to me. It looked like the car might burst in flames. The bodywork was starting to crinkle from the heat.

    I’ve been critical of race control this season, but in this case safety car seemed reasonable.

    It would be nice if they could have brought it in faster. But that is not what they normally do, and I’m sure there’d be even more frustration if they brought the safety car in while the last cars were still mixed in with the front runners.

    1. Have you seen any marshal with a fire extinguisher? Me neither. If there was a real danger of the car bursting in flames (in the eyes of the stewards at least) then that would be the first measure.

      VSC seemed to be the logical thing to do, but then Lewis and Max would have lapped the entire field by the end of the race. It would drive home that there are 2 championships within F1: The Mercedes drivers and Max on one side and the rest on the other.

      1. You mean like this guy a few weeks ago at Mugello? https://images.app.goo.gl/Yr7J9UNtPVvzjtey9

    2. That seems like a solid view on the matter @slotopen. The SC was a desicion that made sense in view of what we saw on track (and also from experience of how long it took the less F1 experienced marshalls in Mugello).
      It could probably have been called in a lap earlier (without waiting for the lapped cars to get back to the lead), but that is about it. And Lewis showed that the tyres thing wasn’t that bad, and even Verstappen struggled only for a corner or two too.

      1. Lewis could use the DAS system to keep his tires in better shape then the rest.

  4. F1 rulemakers are allowed to use their biggest gimmick. Deal with it.

    1. Do you think that it really is a good idea to put the priority on a gimmick to artificially close the field up, rather than focussing on instead choosing what is the safest and most effective means of recovering a car?

      The latter should be the priority for protecting not just the drivers, but the marshals and other personnel around the track who have to clear things up after such incidents. Why should safety procedures then be compromised on to appease people like you?

      1. @anon There simply wasn’t any chance of anyone hitting the stranded Mclaren nor the recovery vehicle on the other side of the hole in barrier, so VSC would’ve been perfectly fine.

    2. Anyone that uses ‘deal with it’ or ‘get over it’ instead of reasoned argument is a fool.

  5. To the not so casual viewer, there was very little difference between what they needed to do to recover Russell’s car and Norris’s car. Similar distance from the barriers and all that.

    The reasoning about Norris’s car being on fire is spurious at best and insulting to the intelligence of fans at worst. He could have said many things about risk of another car spinning off into the marshals but the position Norris put it put paid to that, nicely out of the way right next to the telehandler and the marshals station.

    To the seasoned viewer there can be no doubt that one of Michael Masi’s main priorities is to close up the field to increase the spectacle. It was very obvious last year and it has been obvious again this year. For the drivers to come out and say it at last, they must be getting proper sick of being artificially neutralised at seemingly every opportunity.

    What irks me more than anything is their responses to the accusations are always so contrived and they will never admit they didn’t make the best choices. It cost Russell points at Mugello, thankfully it didn’t cost Ricciardo third this time around and more than anything, I’m glad it didn’t cost Verstappen a finish as he could have quite easily collected someone on the cold tyres at the restart.

    Michael Masi is not up to the same standard as the Portuguese race director of WEC who did a Stirling job of the 4 hrs of Monza earlier in the day. Time for a change in my opinion.

    1. “The reasoning about Norris’s car being on fire is spurious at best and insulting to the intelligence of fans at worst.“

      Did you watch the race? Or were you asleep at this point?

      His car was clearly on fire beneath the body work as TV pics showed it burning.

      But I do agree with Max and DC on Channel 4 the safety car was brought out for a Hollywood ending!

      1. The point is that the fire was in a small spot and could obviously have been handled with extinguishers while the car was prepared for lifting. You know, like they always do.

        1. I think the recent experience in Mugello, where Marshalls showed they were a bit rusty in their skills, to say the least (esp. with Strolls car) played a role too. As well as the general rule that when they bring out the recovery trucks they call a SC (to avoid a Bianchi like accident), since the vehicle had to move out ahead of the barriers to get that car lifted behind the barrier. The fire only added to the worries. @balue, @marvinthemartian

          1. The comment about marshalls cannot be levelled at the crew at the Nurburgring. These have to be some of the best marshalls in the world, look at what they deal with daily during TF and during the NLS/24 hour races.

    2. @marvinthemartian Totally agree. There’s no doubt FOM has been in Masi’s ear. Safety car and red flags galore.

  6. Way to go Max. I’m getting to like him more and more. And to like Masi less and less!

    The marshalls can put out a fire in seconds, and they can tell Race Contrivance in a moment whether they have space. The deceit just gets worse :(

    1. I agree with you. A shameful ham fisted attempt to justify an SC when a VSC would do, simply to spice it up.

    2. Yep. Verstappen is now one of my top 2 drivers!!! He doesn’t surrender to PC nonsense, he just speaks his mind.

      My opinion- it was reasonable (but inconsistent) to use a full safety car. However it was out for at least one lap longer than necessary.

      1. Speaking your mind is typical for dutchies, but it can come across as arrogant or harsh to some. Last year many thought Ferrari were cheating, he’s got the balls to say it in front of the camera. Good on him, a breath of fresh air in this PC suffocated world.

        1. This, and other recent incidents, does highlight that F1 is far from cutting edge when it comes to car removal.

          Maybe the teams can come up with something better.

          Cranes these days have incredible reach – no need for them to be on circuit. When a car is in a mot so dangerous position could we not pop some barriers in-front of the car instead?

          I like lazers – maybe we could just vaporise them 😁

  7. As if the marshalls could’t put out the flames with fire extinguishers like they have been doing for years.

    This SC call was cheap entertainment at its best.

  8. 100% a call to spice up the race. In rainy conditions then I’d say it’s always better to be safe than sorry but a VSC would have been completely safe. The corner is wide open so drivers can see where the stopped car and marshals are. The car was so far off the track that any car going off under VSC would struggle to hit it.

    They just have waited 30-40 seconds before calling the safety car out. At first I thought they’d call it as soon as Hamilton had passes the pits. It’s calls like that this reinforce my decision to consider F1 an entertainment series rather than a sport.

  9. I agree to an extent.
    When Norris’s car started to burn, a safety car was needed in my opinion.
    It did not need to stay out for nearly as long as it did.
    They had cleared the car before it had completed a lap! 2 laps maximum for it on this occasion, but no, they left it there for the charade of letting all cars bunch up. Then they allowed lapped cars to unlap themselves. Nonsense. Just restart the race for goodness sake.
    It would have been grossly unfair if max had jumped lewis at the restart as he was 10+sec behind when the sc came out.
    Even worse if Dan Ric had jumped Max as he was 3/4 of a lap behind.

    1. It wasn’t burning, it was smoldering. A shot of CO2 would have cooled things down in an instant. Sure seemed artificial to me.

  10. It was a clear choice made for entertainment purposes again and its already ruined too many races this year. VSC would have been fine and having seen it used earlier I thought they might have listened to feedback but alas not. Masi needs to go and his role split up.

  11. Michael Massi is looking more and more like a cheap cheat. I am sorry about that.

    1. Well its not the first time we see this behaviour from Masi. Enough times to clearly see an agenda here. Together with some of the other challenges the phenomenon F1 has (having an obsolete power train that has no relevance for car manufacturers and some serious aero challenges preventing close racing) I would say this could be the end of all of it. Liberty is more an more on a path towards destruction. Brawn of all people nagging about reversed grid races is the lowest they’ve sunk so far, I mean they even own Brawn. But thats looking through my fan glasses. And I am not important, because I am part of a niche. Liberty wants audience and the audience wants entertainment, not so much sport. The occaisionally tuning in viewer, but large in numbers, has priority since they buy the products sold around the spectacle and its broadcast. There is no stopping the money train. I have been part of some companies like Liberty. They are all the same. They all say they want authenticity and for the love of the sport etc. At the end of the day, probably most co workers do, but not the one getting the shares and bonusses.

  12. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HPnYlas6K-g&ab_channel=Hetfield

    I have to agree. A VSC would’ve make that place very safe to work on the car, kill the fire and then move it. He parked at a spot where cars usually don’t go off in normal circunstances, let alone going slowly with a VSC.

    Maybe they thought a VSC would’ve taken too much time given that the car was on smoking, but it took a long time with a SC too, so…

    1. To me that video shows pretty much exactly why you’d want a SC @fer-no65, just look how little space is between the barrier and the fence. The recovery tractor has to drive out to get the car lifted – that in itself is a worry, even with the VSC, and they have to make room to even be able to put the car behind the barriers. On top of that, it was catching fire.

      With the hilariously inept actions of how marshalls that are a bit rusty from lack of recent action in Mugello completely butchered Strolls car before they finally got it out of the way, I am not surprised at all that Massi would choose to better be safe than sorry.

      The only thing with the SC is they could have brought it in a lap earlier instead of waiting for the unlapped cars to catch back up to the lead drivers.

      1. @bascb The recovery vehicle didn’t have to go the other side of the hole to retrieve Norris’ car. It was simply picked up over the barrier, so zero chance of a car on track hitting it or even the stranded Mclaren given the relatively slow-speed corners at that part of the circuit and the car not being on the firing line.

      2. @bascb Come on, are you seriously arguing a car under VSC conditions would make it that far through the gravel?

        Sure we have the example of Bianchi flat out ignoring double waved yellow flags and still going full speed through a corner, but how would they ignore a VSC?

        1. Because they drive to a delta time – not to a speed.

          Go slower in one part of the track, then faster in the next.
          Oops, spun off in that exact place where the marshalls are out due to the cold tyres….
          Unlikely? Sure.
          But why risk it?

        2. As “S” brings up, why would Masi want to risk it @f1osaurus?

          He couldn’t KNOW that the German stewards would manage clearing that car fine. He couldn’t be certain no car would go off there etc. Alltogether, calling for a VSC and then having to resort to a real SC afterwards anyway would be a worse desicion IMO. And had something gone wrong in between, it is Masi who is responsible and has to make the call there and then.

          Without the luxury of finding out what we know now.

          1. @bascb They have to go 40% slower!

            It’s dry, the place where Norris was was miles away from the track. Come on man.

          2. They have to go 40% slower!

            – on average in the part of the track they are on @f1osaurus

    2. isaac (@invincibleisaac)
      12th October 2020, 9:47

      @fer-no65 – I agree with you here. If you looked at Russel’s retirement earlier on in the race, that caused a VSC and in my mind the that car was in a similar situation to Norris’. I am getting rather frustrated by the Safety Cars now. Yes it has made things more exciting in the past (take China 2018) however it almost makes it somewhat artificial to me. There was a gap of 60 secs from VER in 2nd to RIC in 3rd – for that to be so abruptly wiped out because of an unnecessary SC didn’t seem right, and it’s not the first time we’ve seen it this year. I seem to recall several SC appearances at the Austrian and Silverstone races – some of these were justified but I was saddened as it took away the element of strategy as it seemed more like sprint races, with all drivers on a new set of tyres. Then there was the Monza SC which whilst created an exciting race, was unneeded in my view, and again there were red flags in Mugello. Luckily I don’t believe yesterday’s SC changed the final outcome of the race too much, however we were robbed of an intriguing battle with Perez steadily closing down Ricciardo on younger tyres – would he have passed him? We’ll never know.

  13. Can’t the marshals just learn to run faster like they do in MotoGP?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UefNxl40lSw&ab_channel=refuzamdictatura

  14. Yes, wasn’t the best case to call a safety car, it also deleted the interesting gaps drivers had built up, it seemed to me like there was over 1 minute between verstappen and ricciardo, which is impressive, the top 3 were really going at another pace compared to the others, so it’s like 2018 with 2 vastly different team performance categories, except that mercedes is consistently farther ahead than red bull, unlike 2018 and ferrari no longer being part of the top teams.

  15. Lies. We saw the crane on Lando’s roll hoop. There was no need for the gap to be large enough, the car was simply lifted over the wall. Plus the fact VSC have turned into full SC in the past.

    I’m sick of Masi and his rubbish.

    1. Michael Masi must be shown a “black and white” flag!

      1. Nice idea, but as we know that means nothing @bulgarian !!!

    2. Just to add the gap was wide enough for a tractor to get through. I think one of those tractors is a little wider than an F1 car, is it our job to explain that to the race director, or is he basically full of ….

      1. It’d be more productive than bleeting about it here…

    3. I also didn’t think SC was warranted when it was called but from what I recall of the fairly brief footage I saw the Marshalls were making a bit of a hash working over the wall with a telehandler – half the rigging connected but unable to get the hook over the car itself to hook up the other side, either by driving closer to the wall (couldn’t see if there was an impediment) or by telescoping the boom (couldn’t see if there was any extension left). Add that view to reports of a fire starting up seriously and Masi might have been justified…given his propensity to want to spice things up anyway.

      1. As you describe @didaho, especially with the views we got in Italy where what seemed like a clear cut recovery repeatedly turning into a lenghty, messy one (or two rather. First it went from just backing up a car under VSC to hauling it under SC and then we got Strolls butchered car later), I can see why Masi went with the SC to avoid risking that happening again.

        1. @bascb How would he risk anything by going to VSC first?

          1. @f1osaurus – if it turns out the marshalls are not up to the job, they will then have to wait another lap or so for the SC to come out, collect the cars etc. In the end it would mean losing another 2-3 laps to SC/VSC. by then there would only be a handful of laps of racing after it.

  16. Since when this rule about lapped entrants allowed to unlap themselves at safety car periods is in existence?
    I have already forgot, but as i remember it’s in existence for a long while.
    How was it implemented at the 90’s? Because by that time it was quite common for the weaker entrants to be multiple laps down at mid-race. Therefore unlapping temselves multiple times must took a lot of time. My memories about it are not so clear, but as if I would remember some quite lengthy SC periods. Were those slow entrants really allowed to unlap themselves to be on the same lap at the restart?
    This took an excessively long time compared to SC periods compared to the SC periods of recent years, for sure, and some entrants arrived on well heated tyres to the restart, while some front runners had cold tyres.

    1. This procedure about lapped entrants allowed to unlap themselves at SC periods is from 2012 season. In 2010 season and 2011 season, once cars were lined up behind the SC, lapped cars were not allowed to unlap themselves before the race was restarted. Before, in 2009 season and earlier, lapped car were allowed to unlap themselves. But when this procedure started, it is a good question. And Why it started is even a better question.

      1. Thank you, so there were quite frequent changes in the last decade.
        Yes it is an interesting rule, and a bit hard to find the best solution for it.
        Personally I would be ok with a VSC combined with some tempomat for most of the cases, and the pace could be chosen by the stewards based on the actual case’s severity, and other circumstances like the track and weather. They even could choose it quite dynamically to allow faster pace at the unaffected sectors, and forget this unlapping thing. Although this would be complex, and should be planned and implemented very carefully, as the pace would not be constant, and that’s probably not without dangers.

    2. I don’t mind allowing lapped cars to unlap themselves, the issue I have is that they are still driving to a delta time and as such can’t catch up to the back of the pack very quickly. If they do continue to allow this, I think the lapped cars should be allowed a different delta time so that they catch the safety car up quickly. By the time they are waved past, they know where the incident, is so they should be reminded to take care through that section of the track, but elsewhere I see no reason for them to lap at the delta time.

    3. You realize the rule is not for the lapped cars to unlap themselves, but for the lapped cars to not be in the way of the fast cars for the restart and a good chunk of the rest of the race, right?

    4. Button won Canada 2010 because of this rule (plus by punting off two of his opponents and getting no penalty at all for it, plus Vettel doing his usual spin).

  17. Anyway I was hoping for a VSC or a very quick crane job (but yes the fire was there) when Norris stopped, because I wanted to see the outcome with an undisturbed race dynamic. I was not sure whether Danny Ricc’s tyres will last, as his mediums had to last something like 42 laps till the end of the race if he pulls it off with an 1 stop strategy, while Perez had at about 10 laps less in his mediums, and was closing up quite fast, although Ricciardo is quite good at tyre magic, and probably he just spared his resources a bit by that time. Hamilton was very fast, and he had the pace to lap even Ricciardo, the gap between them was about 70 seconds when Norris stopped and he was 1-2 seconds quicker / lap.
    Although IIRC Norris had quite decent lap times despite of his problems on 30+ laps old soft tyres, so Ricciardo’s mediums might have lasted till the end of the race (although Ricciardo lost a few nice finishing positions in the last 1-2 years while he tried to pull off some extreme tyre magic, he almost completed prev season’s GP of Spa on a set of hards after a forced pit stop after the start, so whether it works out for him or not would had been amazing to see).

  18. It would be interesting to have another voting for this matter. In 2010, more than 70% were in favour of “unlapping”.
    https://www.racefans.net/2010/11/09/massa-wants-lapped-cars-out-of-the-way-do-you-agree/

    1. @bulgarian It was a pantomime today with almost the entire field driving past Hamilton and Verstappen.

  19. Why is big mouth so upset? Wasn’t he the one gained the most from the safety car but totally screwed up the restart and almost fell into Ricciardo’s clutches.

    If only Renault was faster, and only built chassis and someone else did all the R&D on the PU….

    1. Ah, troll boy is back.

    2. Ah, refusing to mention his name…clearly shows you actually have a huge grudge for him.

  20. When voting worst performer of the day, Masi and Albon would have a close finish.

  21. I also believe the SC was used as a tool to close the field but, I think the anger at Masi is misplaced. I think the people to be asked questions of are the FIA & Liberty. Masi would be very familiar with the concept of using SCs to bunch up the field as it has been one of the frustrating aspects of (V8) Supercars from the start. I believe it’s also wide spread in Stock car and Indy?
    Anyway Masi is in an appointed position and I have no doubt that Liberty have made what they want very clear. They are very keen to “spice up” the races and using any excuse to close up the field with the SC is easy and because criticism can be brushed off under the guise of safety. Most people will choose to steer clear of accusations of putting Marshals and others at risk. So well done Verstappen for speaking out, I hope he gets support from the other drivers.

    One more thing yes I’m aware Masi is an FIA official but anyone who thinks Liberty would buy F1 and not have a huge say in all aspects of it’s operation need to take a Bex and have a lay down.

    1. I think you’re right. He has the background from Australian supercars. But I don’t know why he won’t admit that he did it. Yes he still would get criticism but that would be the truth.

      If this is the way F1 is going I don’t know if I like it or not. Like all changes that affect the race or bigger picture it feels at least a bit artificial.

  22. Nell (@imabouttogoham)
    12th October 2020, 3:27

    It seems sort of inevitable Masi would be nudged by Liberty to spice up things, wherever he has the power to do so. I hope it doesn’t bit him back in the bum, lest he be accused of favouring one driver/team over another with this seemingly more liberal use of the SC.

  23. As if max doesn’t have enough of an advantage to the cars behind

  24. Every now and then, recovery cars will cause Safety Car deploy and annoy to max. Some drivers purposely park at recovery exit/entry point and yet still Safety Car deployed. Why don’t FIA limit racing with a safe distance and speed limit to 60 mph next? Ridiculous.

    1. I know its slightly off topic but i tyre changes during virtual safety and full safety cars should be banned. Because the race is suspended. Gaining places in this regard or losing is not down to actual ability but luck. Im also of the opinion that the safety car was brought out for nothing but as a fan watching i must admit it did add some excitement. Because it was a race reset.

  25. Fixed that quote from Masi for you:

    Masi denied this was the case, saying there were two reasons why the Safety Car was used in response to Norris stopping. “One was obviously that Daniel Ricciardo was being caught hand over fist by Perez, we are all desperate to see what sort of tatoo Daniel is going to make Cyril get, so we had to act to make sure his podium place was secure, so that was one point,” he said.

    :)

  26. If safety can only be guaranteed with cars behind the SC, then surely you need to wait for the field to bunch up behind it before recovering the parked car? Yesterday, only three cars had caught up behind the SC before work was completed. The rest of the field were still running at much higher speed. So much for the safety argument.

    Why not instead use VSC with cars cruising at whatever suitable speed? Perhaps the pitlane speed limit? That way the race could be restarted as soon as the recovery work has been completed and we wouldn’t have to wait another 10 minutes for the unlapped car procedure.

  27. It was the right thing to do. Don’t know why many F1 fans as so precious about gaps built up, especially as after a few laps they are back to the way it was. It’s very rare for any driver to benefit from a SC.

  28. I agree with Max and disagree with Masi. VSC would’ve done the job since there wasn’t a realistic chance of someone hitting the stranded Mclaren, not to mention the recovery vehicle on the other side of the barrier hole, so full SC was an overkill. Russell’s stranded car in Austria 1 or Bottas’ in Brazil last season, in these two cases, there wasn’t any chance of getting hit by cars on track either due to the positioning of the respective stranded cars and the recovery vehicle in the latter case.

  29. I think we all can agree to disagree but the SC car itself should be replaced with a hypercar the car is way too slow for F1.

    The call for a SC is a bit of a overkill as Norris car was next to a opening so the tractor could lift him over the barrier like they did with Russel’s car. The spot of black hotness is actually a spot which was burned. We couldn’t see flames but we saw not the inside either so i can’t comment of the need here.

  30. Completely agree with Verstappen on this. The VSC would have been entirely adequate and this is the type of thing it was designed for. The job of the marshals was exactly the same regardless of when the cars were slowly driving past them on the track – the only reason to go full SC was to bunch up the field.

    I’m not really seeing much from Masi that makes me think positively towards him… reminds me of a politician.

  31. I don’t see why they couldn’t have removed Lando’s car under the VSC or why they had to have the SC out for so long, considering they had cleared the car out of the way within a couple of laps of the SC period, but, kept it out for ages so the pack could be bunched back up.

  32. The key word in his comment was ‘safest option’ this the mindset that is driving the decisions. This in the hand of a bureaucrat can lead to poor decisions. The safest thing to do is not race…

    1. That’s just the way the world is today.
      It doesn’t stop at the circuit gates.

  33. The FIA needs to change the SC/VSC regulations, because in some situations they have very little impact on the safety and unnecessarily large impact on race results.

    How does calling full SC increase security of marshals when only two cars are bunched up behind the deployed safety car? The rest of the field was simply lapping (at decreased speed) to catch them up. Now I am not sure what is the time delta for lapping under full SC, but to me it seemed that the cars trying to catch the safety car were actually running faster on track, then they would be under VSC conditions.

    By the time the rest of field got bunched up behind SC, I think Norris car was already removed, or they were at least in the process of removing it. So how does this increase safety at all? Another Bianchi-type incident can occur under these conditions because the cars catching up the safety car (this period was abnormally long in Eifel due to the large gaps) still carry significant speed and other factors (rain, poor visibility) increase the likelihood of another similar accident.

    Finally (although its deployment was unnecessary as it did not increase the safety) the SC stayed good one or two laps after the incident was cleared. I am not against allowing the cars already behind SC un-lapping themselves, but is it really necessary to wait until all cars catch safety car, un-lap themselves and catch it again? This has huge impact on race results, while VSC is much more fair as it maintains the distances between the cars (but still offers a cheap pit stop if desired). Please, lets talk about safety, sure, but do not hide performance-related rules behind the sticker of safety.

  34. Frankly, the FIA can reject what it likes. We know why there was a full safety car and not a VSC for a car that was near a tractor and out of harm’s way.

    There is only one reason, and it’s wrong.

  35. All the commenters here up in arms calling for the VSC seem to be the same people up in arms when the VSC was first introduced because it took away the excitement of closing up the field.

    Fair dinkum, I’ve never come across a bigger group of whingers than the majority who comment on RaceFans; nothing pleases you lot.

    1. Haha.
      Agreed.

      Everything is fodder for arguments and disagreements – just for the sake of arguing and disagreeing.

    2. @justrhysism You just create a straw man to whinge about. I have always been in favor of VSC, and against the SC used to aid the spectacle.

      1. @balue are you always this vain? Why do you assume that either, a) I was talking about you specifically; and/or b) that you represent the majority I was referring to?

  36. Having a safety car for Norris’s car was fine as the full car or VSC can be a difficult judgement, but the calls were late and the endings delayed. The Race Director and the stewards have masses of information and video views of the whole circuit so the delays were not the result of not having the information at hand.

    The apparent ignorance of what is happening to tyres during a safety car period in those temperatures was the most egregious fault of the officials. I doubt they were stupid enough to want to ‘spice up the show’ but despite having a driver steward they were apparently very relaxed about the safety car doing unnecessary laps.

    Both those problems are down to Masi messing it up again either by being ill informed or not taking the risk of cold tyres seriously enough.

    If it was done to ‘spice up the show’ he should be sacked now.

    PS Charlie Whiting was respected and would talk to drivers about what happened and they trusted him, a trust built up over the years, he didn’t shout or bully, but was firm and confident. Masi seems unsure of himself and so shouts and throws his authority around unnecessarily.

  37. What I don’t get is why the SC was out for so long, seems they added 2-3 laps extra just so the lapped cars could unlap themselves and then catch up to the back of the pack again.

    That SC was only needed for 2 laps max.

  38. When the officiating keeps making the headlines, it’s a sign something’s got to change. In the last few Grands Prix alone, we’ve had:

    1) Randomly closing the pit lane at the same time as the deployment of the SC, just as the lead car is approaching the pits, instead of simply waiting a lap for the cars to pit and form up behind the SC, before moving a car that was not in the firing line.
    2) Switching the safety car lights off on the final corner of the lap and in so doing, not allowing the cars to fully bunch up prior to the restart, producing an unsafe speed differential across the pack.
    3) Giving two identical time penalties (with no warning after the first offence) to one driver, for a pre-race ‘infraction’ despite said driver not technically infringing the poorly-worded event notes, whilst having failed to penalise a second driver at a previous event for what was technically an incorrect practice start (this second driver also went unpunished at this event, for being involved a collision identical to that for which the first driver was penalised at the opening round).
    4) Deploying a full safety car unnecessarily, bunching up the pack late in the race, eating up laps in the process and nullifying any strategy battles when, as had been shown earlier in the race, a VSC would have worked perfectly well.

    They’re either not up to the job or are trying to artificially inject drama into races and the championship.

    1. It’s only making headlines here. This site is like that.
      Just go read about reverse grid qualifying – not an unbiased article in sight.

    2. @tomd11 I agree with you in principle on more or less everything except the ”poorly-worded event notes” part. To me, it was crystal clear where to do practice starts at Sochi Autodrom, and it’s been the same place ever since the inaugural 2014 event, so weird that LH and Mercedes fell for it despite having done things regarding practice starts correctly for the rest of this season’s event, as well as all the previous editions.

  39. A few questions:
    – “[…] at first glance we weren’t confident that the car could actually be recovered into the opening that was there due to the tightness of it.” Does this mean that the FIA does not know where it can recover cars safely? Surely it would be rather easy to have a list of opening around the track barriers listed as “wide” and “narrow”.
    – Secondly, what was the difference between recovering Russell and Norris? Just the slight darkening of the engine cover (or fire, as Masi put it)?
    – And thirdly, “There’s a requirement in the sporting regulations to wave all the lapped cars passed”. Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t this at the discretion of the race control? I vaguely remember one race where this unlapping was not applied.

    1. @kaiie, I agree that that first one seems quite curious, one would think they know this beforehand. If they don’t they should measure or better even test it. I could see “might take longer to do the job” as an answer, but not knowing???

      The second one – it seems there was more room to just shove the car behind the opening where Russel stopped – the tyre barrier was more or less straight with an opening in the middle, while where Norris stopped it was in a corner so they had to do more movement of the car. I guess. Well and that smouldering that – given the experience we got in Mugello – had a potential of having the marshalls panic into completely ripping apart the car while it is dangling from a crane.

      That last one – I am sure that Brundle mentioned on the broadcast that it is not a requirement as such, indeed at the discretion of race control. As well as the descion on wether to actually wait until all cars catch back upto the back of the “pack” (of 3 leading cars in this case) or just get going as soon as they have all cleared the leaders and the SC (which we’ve also seen already in some instances in the last couple of years, if I am not mistaken)

      1. 100@with max !
        does anyone believe that charlie would have done this?
        get rid of masi in favour of someone who won’t do what todt wants in order to keep his job

  40. Let’s not be hasty to entertain conspiracy when poor planning and at least mild incompetence can jump in and explain pretty much the whole shebang. I say Masi was right in the context of a string of bad ideas and decisions putting him out of his depth. And of course some of the poor planning and inadequate resources around the track might have arisen out of the ‘rona.

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