Alexander Albon, Red Bull, Istanbul Park, 2020

Albon criticises “silly” decision to start Q2 with crane on track

2020 Turkish Grand Prix

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Alexander Albon says he does not understand why race control allowed Q2 to start while Nicholas Latifi’s car was still being recovered by a crane and marshals.

Latifi spun into the gravel on the exit of turn eight at the end of the first stage of qualifying for the Turkish Grand Prix. The pit lane was opened for the start of Q2 before Latifi’s car had been recovered.

Track workers being still in the process of recovering Latifi’s Williams with a crane as drivers left the pits. Double yellow flags were waved to signal danger at the corner.

Albon questioned why the start of the second session was not delayed to allow the marshals to clear the track before the track was opened.

“The crane was still out when we were driving around,” he said. “That wasn’t very good.”

Qualifying had been delayed due to two red flags periods in Q1. Albon suspected race control were concerned they may not be able to complete the session before darkness fell at the track.

“I imagine that we were trying to make sunset and we rushed everything, but that was silly,” he said. “I’m sure we could have waited another five minutes for a crane to move.”

Albon says he was warned about the hazard by his engineer as he exited the pit lane. “The guys were on it very quickly, they were like ‘okay, be careful, there’s a crane on track’,” he explained.

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“I think there must’ve been some misjudgement between [race control] because there’s no way they did it on purpose. It was just hard to understand where the decision came from because the crane was still on track lifting Latifi and we got the call out to go onto the track and wait at the end of the pit lane. I was expecting like a five minute signal, but it was one minute to go to green.

“I was like, ‘okay, they must have moved that crane pretty quickly’, but obviously they didn’t have enough time.”

It marks the second consecutive race weekend where an incident has raised concerns about marshal safety in the sport. During the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix at Imola, lapped cars were released behind the Safety Car before marshals had finished sweeping debris at Acque Minerale, passing mere metres from workers on track at near racing speeds.

Albon also believes F1 is fortunate not to have seen a serious incident as a result of the extremely low grip levels at the Istanbul Park circuit this weekend.

“I think we’ve been lucky not to have a big crash today,” he said. “We’ve had some close calls, obviously, going into turn three.

“I mean, I enjoy difficult weather. I enjoy difficult conditions. I enjoy when there’s more to it than a normal weekend. But at the same time, this is most probably a step towards it being excessively dangerous, let’s say.”

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2020 Turkish Grand Prix

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    Dieter Rencken
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    19 comments on “Albon criticises “silly” decision to start Q2 with crane on track”

    1. The ‘rushed’ start of Q2 would’ve been unneeded had qualifying commenced 60 minutes earlier. The whole point of starting the session 1h50min later than the race instead of 60 min earlier, in which case, 50 min later than the race, is somewhat baffling to me. F1/LM doesn’t think through these things enough. More consistency in session timings would be for the better.

      1. I mean, they only needed one extra minute! Then we wouldn’t be commenting on this…

    2. Was there a situatie where there was a crane working on a wet circuit and they kept racing at speed because of a sunset? Does that situation remind other people of a freak accident. I don’t know all the details, but it sounds inexcusable if that all is true.

      1. Shocking to say the least. They just dont learn. Fools

      2. @passingisoverrated No, definitely not at speed.

      3. You’re thinking of Jules Bianchi Suzuka 2014 I believe.

    3. Following the stupid logic of the stewards penalizing Norris – shouldn’t all drivers that passed the double yellow flag get penalized because they didn’t abort their laps?

      Or doesn’t it count because it was their out laps? Just shows how stupid the abort lap logic is with double yellow.

      1. Yes, there is too much stupidity in F1 rules.

        1. If the FIA did a full roots & branch review against modern safety culture/management standards published as ISO standards and regulatory guidance for H&S globally, they would be in a better position to be far more proactive. They would maybe even anticipate problems, rather than waiting for them to first become obvious, and then only fix the immediate problem.
          If they properly investigated and acted on recommendations such as made by the Jules Bianchi AP they could rapidly improve their ability and culture rather than repeating the same hazards by a different route.

          It’s not as if FIA are unaware of proper international standards. Formula E was awarded an ISO Certificate for Environmental Management. Not by an independent auditor but by the FIA itself who have no accreditation!! They don’t seem to understand the value of independent auditing perhaps?

          1. @pdfbt40 While most of your comment is true (and ISO 20121, the standard Formula E has, can be issued by self-declaration or second-party confirmation), there was a third-party accreditation body involved with the ISO Certificate of Environmental Management in the case of Formula E. That was SGS, which does a fair bit of work on other ISO standards for American companies and does not appear to be controlled by the FIA in any way.

            1. Martin Elliott
              15th November 2020, 3:53

              Thank you for prompting me to to update myself on the current status.
              FIA don’t mention SCS in their accreditation webpage. They seem to say more about their own accreditation programme, in 3 stages, for subsidary club and National organisations.
              As with the confusion even from early days of quality management with BS5750 in UK, is the family of categories that could be accrediting. For example I know one company ‘boasted BS5750’ in marketing in the 80’s, but only had accreditation for transport/distribution, but not manufacturing!!
              ISO20121 and the FIA accreditations are for Sustainable Event Management & Certification. I’ll have to see how much that goes towards fundimental engineering and safety management and could/should influence FIA Race Control/Technical culture.

    4. This is the second consecutive race where there has been an officiating error that could have resulted in serious consequences.
      The incidents have simply been blamed on ‘race control’ rather than any individual.
      Drivers get sanctioned for infringing the rules, why aren’t officials held to at least the same standards as the drivers and subject to some form of sanction?

      1. @ceevee because it is a case of asking the body that writes those standards to then penalise itself.

        1. I’m not asking for the body to be sanctioned but rather the individual who made the mistake to be ‘named and shamed’.

    5. Coventry Climax
      14th November 2020, 19:53

      Silly is a very mild word, for a something so ridiculous.
      To find the right use of the word “silly:”Heard that the FIA will be looking into it. I have no doubt whatsoever they will find some silly excuse for themselves.

      1. I’m asuming it was an act of understatement, with Alex being aware that criticising the FIA beyond a certain point is a recipe for trouble that, in his position, he is unlikely to be able to fend off in the way that, say, Hamilton can.

    6. After Imola that’s the black and white flag for Masi.

      1. Here, here!
        He needs some sort of points on his license. 3 for Imola, 3 for Turkey. He’s half way to a ban!

    7. The elephant in the room here are the owners and tv companies. Look at their name….Liberty Media.
      It’s all about money and that comes from, “entertainment”, not good racing.
      The schedule is all important and they don’t care a hoot about the the drivers, the race or the championship, or “right or wrong” decisions, as long as they hit the headlines.
      And this hits those headlines.
      Get real people.

    Comments are closed.