Kimi Raikkonen, Alfa Romeo, Istanbul Park, 2020

FIA: Q2 starting with a crane on track was “not a scenario we want to see”

2020 Turkish Grand Prix

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The decision to start the second stage of qualifying while a recovery vehicle was still on track will be reviewed by the FIA.

Formula 1 race director Michael Masi said the incident was not what they wanted to see and should have been handled differently.

During the session several drivers, including Kimi Raikkonen, queried why race control allowed Q2 to begin while marshals and a recovery vehicle were still on the track at turn eight. The marshals were recovering Nicholas Latifi’s car after the Williams driver spun off at the corner.

Masi said race control had been told the recovery vehicle would be clear from the area by the time the drivers reached it.

“We released the cars from pit lane as the recovery vehicle was moving to the escape road, following information given to race control by the clerk of the course that the vehicle would be clear of the track before the cars on their out-laps reached turn eight where the recovery was taking place,” Masi explained.

“As soon as it became apparent that the recovery vehicle had been delayed in moving completely into the barrier opening, we extended the area of double-waved yellow flags from turn eight to the entry point of turn seven to further slow down the cars on their out-laps.

“Clearly this is not a scenario we want to see, and with the benefit of hindsight we would have done it differently and held the cars until the recovery was completed. We will review our procedures to minimise the likelihood of similar incidents in future.”

After qualifying Alexander Albon described the decision to start Q2 before the track was clear as “silly”.

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2020 Turkish Grand Prix

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    34 comments on “FIA: Q2 starting with a crane on track was “not a scenario we want to see””

    1. This infuriates me. Jules Bianchi was killed by a tractor on the track in the rain. There should be zero risk taken in these situations. Who cares if the session starts a minute later?

      We had marshals on the track last week and now this. Let’s not get complacent.

      1. Much the same here. Very silly, and makes me pretty angry.

        They really dont learn and keep making these kind of potentially awful errors. Such incompetence ughhh

      2. Less a case of complacent and more of incompetent.
        Masi is looking under-prepared for the job.

      3. Exactly, people forget all too quickly. This is another Masi mess and further proof he’s out of his depth.

      4. Officially, though, there was nothing to learn from Bianchi’s death because the independent FIA panel concluded that the chief cause of the accident was that Bianchi himself was going too fast … and anyone who said there ought to have been a safety car was just speaking with “hindsight” (including those who were saying it before the accident happened). I’m sure that, had the worst happened today, it would have been the driver’s fault again.

        1. GtisBetter (@passingisoverrated)
          14th November 2020, 22:31

          They did change the Japanese start time to at least avoid the darkness

        2. @red-andy Reminder: the settlement that followed not only changed the chief cause to “there were many factors, no single one of which predominated”, but also included a bunch of stuff that the FIA was required to do, much of which is not yet completed. One of which is a review of things the FIA needs to change to prevent such occurences.

          1. Great point. And this shows the FIA badly needs to get this done @alionara-la-canta

    2. I didn’t mind that particularly: there were double waved yellows and they were on an out lap.

      1. Nah, cranes one track with only double waved yellows, we’ve been there before thanks.

        1. Bit of a nightmare for many indeed @john-h

      2. Crane on track while people are on their outlap on cold tyres on particularly slippery tarmac in wet conditions.

        Not to mention the marshalls that were out with the crane. They were put at an unnecessary risk too. A small one maybe, but a 1 minute delay of the Q2 start would have eliminated the risk completely. A small cost, considering they were willing to delay Q1 by what, 45 minutes?

        1. @casjo Especially considering the FIA had up to 1 1/4 hours of leeway to go before sunset prevented further running (perhaps 40 minutes before light started to get tricky given cloud cover), with no support rounds on the schedule. A minute wasn’t going to make any difference in terms of getting the session completed.

        2. Yeah, that is what makes it so bad, there was no good reason at all to get rushed into this instead of just waiting another few minutes @alianora-la-canta, @casjo

    3. Unexpected contrition, good to see. Nice to see them looking into this one.

      1. Let’s hope they don’t do a Sepp Blatter and determine that there is nothing to see here to protect the reputation of the FIA. Michael Masi had made 2 questionable calls in the last 2 races involving marshal safety and they need respond effectively. He still did not admit he made a mistake only that someone else told him it would be OK. He’s not even competent enough to know it was his error only that it’s not what he wanted to see. What an ass. Only an idiot with a short range forecasting ability wouldn’t be able to see that maybe, just maybe, the telehandler wouldn’t be out of the way in time. The clown could have waited just 1 minute to make absolutely sure there was no additional risk to the drivers caused by his lack of forethought.

    4. Michael Masi should not be contrite. He should have known better. He is the safety director. Twice in 2 races he has determined that the show must continue with marshals on track when he has access to more data than anyone else and has people to tell him. Either he is not listening to advice, wilfully ignorant of the concept of hazards and risks or is simply cavalier with other people’s welfare for the sake of the show. Neither has a place at the helm. He is responsible and accountable for everyone involved and either he starts to behave accordingly making safety first and show second or he needs to make way for someone else. Personally, I don’t think he’s fit for the job and the FIA either have to supplement him in his role or appoint someone else.

      Now, not next year. Before all these near misses become something more. Search for the Swiss cheese theory of safety incidents and you will see that the race control barrier is effectively the last procedural control before failure can become catastrophic. Luck is the last line of defence and MM has gotten away with it twice now.

    5. We released the cars from pit lane as the recovery vehicle was moving to the escape road, following information given to race control by the clerk of the course that the vehicle would be clear of the track before the cars on their out-laps reached turn eight where the recovery was taking place

      I can’t understand why everyone in Race Control thought this was acceptable. Do we have to mention the errors that resulted in Jules’s death again? It seems we do! And again we have marshals beside the track as well. It just seems incredible to think nothing has been learnt. The problem wasn’t the Clerk of the Course said this or that or whatever, the problem was nobody said “NO! We MUST wait until the tractor and the marshals are behind the safety barriers”.

      1. Absolutely right. More concerned about timing and ‘the show’ than safety.

    6. I can’t believe it’s been 6 years since Suzuka 2014 and this stuff still is allowed to happen.

      We released the cars from pit lane as the recovery vehicle was moving to the escape road, following information given to race control by the clerk of the course that the vehicle would be clear of the track before the cars on their out-laps reached turn eight where the recovery was taking place

      This just shouts “we were pressured by TV to get things going as quickly as possible”. This is exactly the same thing as Suzuka that year, if a recovery is taking place it means someone got off at that point of the track, and chances are another car could well end up there. Even more so considering the track conditions seen this weekend.

      Why risk it? if they assumed the truck would be out of the track before cars reached turn 8, it can’t be more than a minute, maybe two. Why not wait until the “clerk of the course” say “track clear”. How much time did they save vs the risk involved?

      It’s not silly, it’s plain stupid. And this right after Imola, with the situation with the marshalls… I swear if FIA operated an airport tower they’d give the go ahead to take off while another plane is still braking after landing…

      More and more convinced Michael Masi is not up to the task here…

      1. Indeed @fer-no65, glad to read Albon echoing

        1. Sorry fatfingered that.

          Albon Echoing that concern, sure that after last driver session this next one will take the drivers concern up yet again just six years after we lost Bianchi. I hope they are forceful if that is what’s needed.

      2. @fer-no65 it’s not clear whether it was a case of “we were pressured by TV to get things going as quickly as possible”, or whether the FIA ended up rushing things to ensure qualifying finished on Saturday.

        It is worth noting that sunset was due to occur at 17:44, although the low light levels means that they probably would have been forced to end the session before that if they faced problems with a medical evacuation. With Q1 needing to be restarted twice and the risk of possible further showers, the FIA might have felt under pressure to get Q2 started as soon as possible to try and give themselves enough margin to finish Q2 and Q3 before it became too dark to continue.

        To some extent, the TV broadcasters seemed to be a bit surprised that Q2 was started so quickly – which makes me wonder quite how much pressure was coming from the broadcasters and how much was down to the FIA pressuring itself to deliver a quick result.

    7. Double yellows and so what?
      You had several drivers improving their times during the double yellows of Q1.
      There’s no excuse for this. Just unacceptable!

    8. Masi said race control had been told the recovery vehicle would be clear from the area by the time the drivers reached it.

      Immediately passing the buck. They have live data and cameras. We could ALL see the tractor wouldn’t be out if the way in time. Yet we’re not safety officials, so what would we know?

      I get that they wanted to crack on quickly after the Q1 delay, but seriously what harm would another 30 seconds have done? Then we wouldn’t be having this debate!

      Just beyond logic. Even the missus, who is a very casual viewer commented on this literally with “isn’t that what happened to Bianchi”.

      It’s almost like any opportunity to bring F1 into disrepute with the wider population, they just jump at the chance! Sigh

    9. Not ideal.

      Especially on a tracks. Where guys spun around at 20%, throttle.

    10. Masi needs to disappear for the start of next year. Completely incompetent and passing the buck for his own failures again. He makes the calls and he sent cars out on track when a vehicle was still on the circuit, that’s gross negligence.

    11. Last year there weren’t any big issues with race control, but this year one wrong decision after another… Very concerning from Masi.

    12. I have to agree with everyone else’s sentiments, we waited whilst Bernd Maylander did laps for however long, nobody would have even noticed if the session started half a minute later to see the crane behind the barrier.

      I think we’re enjoying watching drivers struggle to keep the car in a straight line this weekend, and Istanbul is a very safe track (we must have set a record for most spins without hitting a wall before the race has even started).

      But ‘worrying about it getting dark’ is a non excuse after Suzuka 14′, and extending the double yellows to a further sector does almost nothing, that’s been commented on plenty, but the reality is that you can set pole having gone through them (rightly or wrongly), and watching drivers try to hit the apex of turn one and never getting close, feathering the throttle constantly, every session was moments away from someone either facing the wrong direction or in the gravel trap.

      It’d have taken one minute to get the marshalls and crane behind the barrier.

    13. It’s hard to escape the feeling that two races in a row and they’re playing fast and loose with safety which is a situation F1 should never be finding itself in. Equipment on track like the Bianchi crash, at a venue with conditions where people can easily spin off and connect with that equipment… it just beggars belief they didn’t take a fully cautious approach. I worry for something bad happening again that doesn’t need to. Sort it out Masi, this is on you.

    14. Getting pretty tired of the “I hate Masi” campaign running on this site.
      He’s not God, you know – he relies entirely on the information he has presented to him by other people.
      This particular information came from the clerk of course.

      If we are going to blame the race director for everything, why hasn’t anyone blamed Whiting directly for Bianchi’s death?
      That’s effectively what everyone is doing to Masi.

      1. Yeah, no one should be wishing Masi bad things.

      2. S, because quite a lot of people did at the time?

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