Lance Stroll, Racing Point, Istanbul Park, 2020

Stroll says his reaction to Imola marshals on track was “as safe as it could be”

2020 Turkish Grand Prix

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Lance Stroll said he drove as safely as possible when he encountered a group of marshals on track during a Safety Car period in the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix.

The Racing Point driver said he did not expect to encounter the marshals at the edge of the circuit approaching Acque Minerale after he and other drivers had been allowed to overtake the Safety Car to re-join the leading lap.

“I was given the message that lapped cars were allowed to overtake the Safety Car and catch the back of the train,” said Stroll. “So I followed those instructions. I saw the marshal on the track, of course, and I immediately lifted off and backed off and I was as safe as I could be in that section of the track.”

Stroll and five other drivers were released from behind the Safety Car to re-join the lead lap, but double yellow flags continued to be waved at Acque Minerale where marshals were working.

“I wasn’t warned and I wasn’t expecting to see anyone on the track once I got the message that I was allowed to overtake the Safety Car and catch the back of the train,” said Stroll. “Thankfully there was nothing bad that happened there but for sure we’ll have to address it and make sure that something like that doesn’t happen again.”

Stroll passed three marshals on the track
An F1 marshal explains why Stroll’s Imola near-miss raises safety concerns
Romain Grosjean, who passed the same group of marshals before Stroll did and warned his team about them, also said he was surprised to discover them. He intends to raise the matter at tomorrow’s drivers’ meeting with Formula 1 race director Michael Masi.

“Obviously I was a bit surprised that there were marshals on track at a point that we were going quite fast,” said Grosjean. “It was made worse by the fact that it was a blind spot on the track.

“But also they were trying to clear as much as they could as quickly as they could for the race to resume. So probably, yes, we can bring that up in the drivers’ meeting just to see, make sure that at least we get the communication so we are aware of what’s coming.

“It wasn’t a big deal, I guess it just was a bit of a surprise at the time. It’s never nice to be driving and seeing people and I guess for the people being on track it wasn’t nice to be seeing cars coming quite fast because I think we were unlapping ourself at the time and therefore we were just pushing to catch the pack back before it restarts.”

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    Dieter Rencken
    Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
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    12 comments on “Stroll says his reaction to Imola marshals on track was “as safe as it could be””

    1. So, why did the FI team not tell their driver that the guys right ahead of him had relayed information about Marshalls on track to their respective teams (both Grosjean and Vettel).

      And it carefully toes around the question of what was on Lance’s display – did that show yellows, or double waved yellows? Surely if it did not, he would have mentioned that no flags were shown, right? So I guess he did not notice them?

      1. Stroll’s race engineer needs to step up. He was slow (one full minute) to ask him if he was okay after Mugello’s high speed crash, then he didn’t warned him about marshals on track…

        I know Stroll is a professional driver so he has to cope with this kind of stuff, but he has a professional team of hundreds people around him to advise.

    2. @bascb He didn’t get yellow warning lights on the steering wheel. Grosjean, on the other hand, before him did, so I assume the trackside light panel before that section didn’t display yellow anymore by the time Lance reached the same reference point.

      1. @jerejj, are we SURE he did not though (i am not sure we can take what can be seen on video, since that does not always show flags the same way a person in the car would see the display)?

        Knowing how people, especially in highly competative, high stakes sports, work, I am quite sure that if he did not get a flag, they would have mentioned that in the press release about the incident. It seems carefully worded now to show anyone reading how Lance could not be expected to see anything (he was released by the SC etc), NOT having any flags showing would help point that out. So the fact they did not say that, makes me wonder about possible flags.

        1. Good point, but I still trust him. He’s in control of the car, so I trust he knew what he was doing when the marshals unexpectedly (for him) appeared on his field of vision on the left-hand side of the track.

          1. Well @jerejj I do agree that he seemed to be in good control of the car, and that the main point with this incident isn’t so much Stroll as it is that the past has shown that it is unwise to trust in the drivers to keep it safe, rather than race control using every measure to make sure it is safe for marshals and drivers, which here they seemingly failed.

            I do wonder at this statement and how much I need to read between the lines at what wasn’t quite said though.

        2. Given how much we haven’t been able to really trust RP/Stroll media messages over the last few weeks at least, I very much read it that way too @bascb, sadly.

    3. The video below shows that the trackside light immediately prior to the marshall section DID show a double waved yellow rather than the safety car signal. The former has double the flashing frequency of the latter. But it’s not that obvious – maybe it should flash a different colour to the SC sign or somehow better distinguish from it. I can’t see flashing lights on the dashboard. Maybe thats because of temporal aliasing with the on board camera frequency, but perhaps its a fault in the car’s software that doesn’t trigger it during a safety car.

      The video also shows that Stroll lost time waiting behind Leclerc, thinking he was Vettel (who was also a lap down). Then Stroll goes onto the grass avoiding Ricciardo warming his tyres. Certainly a fraught few minutes for Stroll.

    4. Anything involving humans is frought with danger – human error.
      This matter is quite similar to a fire. Any fire is a triangle, with the 3 sides being material/heat/oxygen. Remove any 1 and the triangle [fire] collapses.
      This matter has 3 human elements – marshals/ race control/ drivers. Similarly remove 1, et voila.
      CEASE UNLAPPING – hence no drivers to drive into marshals.

    5. “It was as safe as it could be. I mean, those halos sure look ugly but they are really strong. And then there’s the helmet, a hans device and fire proof suit.”

    6. Stroll always has an excuse, when he puts others at risk – like when he bowled over his own jack man in the pits. He said, “The brakes were cold.” Well, whose job is it to make sure the brakes are warm before entering the pits? The driver’s, of course. All the other drivers made sure their brakes were warm before stopping in the pits.

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