Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Baku City Circuit, 2021

“Who’s next?” “Why are they waiting?” Concern and confusion on drivers’ radios after Baku crashes

2021 Azerbaijan Grand Prix

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Two major crashes occured at the fastest part of the Baku City Circuit during the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

First Lance Stroll, and later Max Verstappen crashed without warning as they approached the pit straight, due to left-rear tyre failures.

The responses of the drivers and teams on the radios revealed a surprising mixture of confusion and concern over how the incidents were handled.

In both cases, there was a significant delay between the crashes occuring and the Safety Car being deployed. When Verstappen crashed, Sebastian Vettel’s race engineer warned him of the incident as he passed it, yet the Safety Car wasn’t deployed until he reached turn 16, almost a full lap later.

When Stroll crashed, several drivers reported seeing Safety Car boards long before the Safety Car was officially deployed and teams were notified on the timing screens.

During the delays between the crashes and subsequent Safety Car periods, double waved yellow flags were shown at the scenes. But in both cases some drivers slowed far more than others in response.

The cause of the crashes and the possibility further incidents might occur also prompted concern from the drivers. George Russell expected the race to be red-flagged after Stroll’s crash as several drivers had passed through the crash scene and potentially run over debris, damaging their tyres.

Vettel quickly suspected his team mate’s crash had been caused by a tyre failure. Following Verstappen’s crash, as he mentioned in the post-race press conference, Vettel said he was concerned another driver would suffer a similar failure.

On that occasion the race was stopped, which allowed drivers to fit fresh tyres, and the final two laps of the race were completed without further incidents.

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Stroll: “Get me out of this place”

After Stroll’s tyre failure and crash, his car came to a rest approaching the pit lane entrance. While his crash scene was initially covered by yellow flags and, later, a Safety Car, he wanted it to be red-flagged, calling on the attention of the team’s sporting director Andy Stevenson.

StrollWhoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. red flag, red flag. Get me out of this place of the track.
JoyceRed flag quickly Andy.
JoyceERS state bravo, ERS state bravo. Stay in the car, Lance. Stay in the car at the moment. Dangerous place, stay in the car. People can see you.
JoyceSafety Car, Safety Car now. Safety Car now.
StrollI got a puncture
JoyceCopy that, copy that.
JoyceThere is a gap now to get out the car.

Gasly: ‘Do we pit’?

Pierre Gasly was one of the first drivers to pass Stroll’s crash scene and wanted to know whether he should pit to take advantage of the likely Safety Car period. However he passed the pit lane entrance so soon the team weren’t able to react.

GaslySafety Car, Safety Car! Do we pit?
HamelinBox, box, box.
GaslyFuck, for fuck’s sake.
HamelinOK, that’s OK.
HamelinIt’s just a yellow at the moment, just a yellow, keep the head down.
HamelinSafety Car. They are putting Safety Car but I don’t have anything on the [unclear].

Early Safety Car boards

Several drivers saw signs indicating the Safety Car was coming out before they were able to pit.

JegoWe’ll keep you posted but big crash from Stroll in the main straight.
LatifiSafety Car, Safety Car.
JegoI don’t see it.
LatifiI see the Safety Car boards, but I don’t see the lights.
JegoPit entry is closed, stay out, pit entry is closed. Probably a lot of debris on the start-finish
LatifiIs there a Safety Car though? I don’t see the lights.
JegoNo, it is not Safety Car, no. So stay positive, pit entry is closed.
LambiaseThere’s a big accident on the start finish straight.
VerstappenThey show Safety Car but I don’t have a message.
LambiaseOkay.
LambiaseContinue for the moment. Yep.
LambiaseOkay, now Safety Car deployed, dash positive, dash positive.
LambiaseOK, so Stroll is in the barriers on the start for the straight on the left hand side to stay to the right line.
LambiaseAt the moment the pit lane entry is closed so we’re staying out, staying out. If you see it open very late, then box, okay. If you see the message that the pit lane is open late, you can box, otherwise, stay out, stay out.
LambiaseIf you are told to come through the pit lane, then we will change your tyres.
VerstappenOkay.
LambiaseSo stay out for the moment.
LambiaseSo stay right, Max stay right, there’s a front wing right in front of you. Stay right. Good man.

Vettel: ‘Did his tyre blow?’

CroninJust watch Lance ahead, there’s a shunt ahead, just be careful.
CroninSafety Car, Safety Car, get the delta positive.
CroninTo keep temperature in the tyres, you can go to out four, out four. You can go to ‘heat’, actually, go to ‘heat’. Now working hard on tyre temps, maintain tyre temps. Lance is all okay.
VettelGood. What happened? Did his tyre blow?
CroninWe’re not sure yet, we’re not sure.
CroninWe can have a bit more braking.
CroninJust make sure you’re right on your delta when you go past Safety Car one and two.
CroninActually, pit entry’s closed so you’re fine on your delta, it’s just about tyre temp.

Norris: ‘Yuki didn’t even lift’

During the race a radio exchange between McLaren and race director Michael Masi was broadcast, in which McLaren complained AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda had failed to slow sufficiently in response to the double waved yellow flags.

Lando Norris drew the team’s attention to Tsunoda’s reaction to Stroll’s crash:

JosephDouble yellow flags. Debris on the main straight. There is a car on the left-hand side.
NorrisYuki didn’t even lift. Safety Car.
JosephSafety Car deployed. Safety Car deployed. Okay, drive to the delta, drive to the delta.
NorrisThey didn’t… the Safety Car boards were out on the start-finish but Yuki stayed flat-out. So I’ve lost so much time.
JosephOkay, understood. It’s a safety car so everyone will bunch back up again, so don’t worry about that. The pit lane entry is closed, please confirm.
NorrisOkay yeah confirm. The tyres are okay I would say, a lot of graining front-right, not clearing up I don’t think. I would say it’s okay for a restart.
JosephJust to confirm, we’ve informed race direction about Tsunoda not slowing down in front.
NorrisYeah it was double waved yellows and he didn’t even slow down.

Russell: ‘They’ve got to red flag this’

Russell was concerned at the possibility of punctures arising from the Stroll crash:

UrwinDouble yellow on the main straight.
RussellSafety Car boards are out.
UrwinThe pit entry is closed, the pit entry is closed, debris on the straight. Safety Car is out. Stay out. Pit entry is closed. Debris on main straight.
RussellAlright get onto me about brakes.
UrwinBrakes are fine, the brakes are hot, it’s the front tyres, maintain temp in the front. Debris on the main straight.
[…]
RussellThey’ve got to red flag this, surely, we’ve been driving through a load of debris.

Leclerc: ‘Why are they waiting?’

When Verstappen crashed, Leclerc was mystified by race control’s decision to wait so long before sending the Safety Car out. This meant several drivers approached the crash scene at speed, where they were shown double waved yellow flags indicating they should ‘slow down and be prepared to stop’.

Marcos PadrosGo to the left, left on the main straight. Right, to the right. Er, crash in the main straight, on the left, stay to the left.
Marcos PadrosWe are still racing.
LeclercThat’s a joke, that’s a joke, get the fucking Safety Car out straight away, why the fuck are they waiting?
Marcos PadrosSo Safety Car deployed.

Vettel: ‘The question is who is next?’

Vettel, who has experienced sudden tyre failures on three occasions in 2015, 2016 and 2017, was concerned by the possibility more would occur.

CroninCareful, Verstappen ahead, there’s a crash.
CroninSafety Car, Safety Car, slow down and get your delta positive. We expect it to be through the pit lane. It is through the pit lane, so make sure you use the limiter as you come in the pit lane.
CroninThe Safety Car will meet you at the end of the pit lane.
VettelIs he okay?
CroninYes all okay, he’s out of the car.
CroninJust pit limiter.
CroninPerez ahead might be stopping.
CroninYou can go to out two when you’re ready, out two.
CroninSo same at last time work as hard as you can on tyres, but safely. Go back to out one, go back to out one.
CroninSebastian, we do think it’s been a left-rear puncture on both Verstappen and Lance.
VettelWell it’s not safe to run these tyres then, is it?
VettelThe question is, who is next?
CroninCopy.
CroninThey will be back through the pit lane again. Red flag, red flag.

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63 comments on ““Who’s next?” “Why are they waiting?” Concern and confusion on drivers’ radios after Baku crashes”

  1. It did seem like quite a delay to call out the safety car in both incidents.

    1. I mean honestly, how is the safety car not immediately deployed after a wreck on the main straight

      1. Good question. Compare this to large incidents in the past: when Webber did his flip in Valencia, the SC was deployed before the car even reached the barriers.

      2. Yeah, it was absolutely crazy.

        Stroll in the middle of the pit entry lane, having to sit there seeing cars only slowing down when they saw him (or not even that) and then even after Verstappen crashed with the same issue, instead of immediately throwing a SC (or a red flag for both instances, as many drivers rightly mentioned, there was a lot of debris out there).

      3. If there not sure about the SC at least immediately throw the VSC before going to a full safety car.

        Masi should educate himself about letting drivers decide on yellow flags and reflect upon why the VSC was introduced. No doubt he won’t, as was clear from his radio message blaming all the drivers last week, just like the Mugello farce. His incompetence is a danger to lives, both on and off the track.

  2. Masi has got to go.

    1. Turkey 2020 crane incident, Bahrain 2020 running marshal, Imola 2021 late penalty call for a driver, Azerbaijan 2021 restart over red flag.
      All of these very dangerous incidents are the reasons he should be dismissed immediately.

      1. @Dave, Not to mention additional standing starts and unnecessarily excessive track limits enforcement.

        1. Thanks for that Jere

        2. @jerejj I don’t think Masi has a choice over whether it is a standing start unless there is an obvious reason why it wouldn’t work e.g. the wet track in Imola.

          1. @randommallard Rolling starts used to be the standard also for post-red flag restarts, not only SC restarts.

          2. @jerejj Those rules were changed I think in 2018, before Masi was Race Director

        3. @jerejj neither of those are problematic in the least. Let there be standing starts and for goodness sakes, man, require drivers to learn how to drive within the track limits. If they can’t, then give us the gravel traps and walls, back!

          1. @neiana Standing restarts risk bringing in artificial randomness and are asking for further accidents and damage in the long term.
            Nothing was wrong with the level of track limits enforcement in 2019, but Masi still increased it for the sake of it after his first season as the race director. He also does it redundantly, even if drivers have already lost time through an off-track excursion or immediately abandon a push lap, etc., and sometimes even if a physical deterrent is already in place.

        4. @jerejj A standing start is the default after a red flag. A rolling or SC restart is only used if required by conditions (e.g. still damp as at Imola this year). There was no reason the race at Baku couldn’t finish and no reason why a standing start shouldn’t have been used.

          Do you not think track limits should be enforced?

          1. @scbriml Not until the recent past, and I don’t think about track limits the way you put it. I’m only pushing for less ‘lap time invalidation’ specifically and limiting it only for high-speed corners because going off at slow-speed ones isn’t necessarily advantageous. Also that it would only ever be done when an actual advantage comes out, not otherwise.

      2. Dave, surely you should add to that the races in 2019 in Monaco and 2020 in Imola, both of which saw major breakdown in communications that ended up with marshals being on the track with cars passing at high speed in close proximity to them.

        Now, whilst it is true that the instruction for marshals to enter the track did not come from Masi in the 2019 Monaco GP, does it not also point to a fundamental issue that marshals could be ordered onto the track without race control being aware that was happening? Masi did also confirm that, at the very least, he was responsible for training those staff, which raises the question of why they were ignoring the training he was giving them.

        1. Oh, I don’t remember them…only Mugello 2020 comes to mind.

    2. fia should have restructured Charlie’s job instead they promoted Masi.

      1. Bring Charlie’s son to F1.

    3. And one more thing I want to say to you: You’re everyone’s enemy.

  3. On a slightly unrelated note, it’s been extremely clear for a while now that neither Riccardo Adami nor Xavier Padros (especially him) are particularly fluent in English. I know the rules say you can only speak in English on the radio, but look at Padros’s radio there, confused between right and left and how to communicate to Charles which way he should go. In moments like this, when safety is paramount, surely it would be all right to switch to Italian? (I know Padros is a Spaniard, but I’m sure he can speak Italian, if not, just switch the engineers between Leclerc and Sainz).

    1. Looks more like panicking then language problem. Not uncommon at Ferrari.

    2. @wsrgo I really doubt that mistake is a languague problem. A lot of the engineers gave confusing orders, no less Latifi’s engineer when he told him to stay out.

      1. I remember Bono out out out out out, in in in in in..
        To late..

    3. @wsrgo you are right. I know that it looks just like “Ferrari things” but Padros sounds inept.

  4. The thing that concerns me is that in crash 1, the medical car picked up stroll and dropped him off at the pit and in crash 2 Max walked back to pits. Concussion protocol? Quick check of vitals?

    1. Indeed. Drivers should stay in the car until stewards are on location.(except in some circumstances) Strange there is no clear guideline.

    2. As far as the sporting regulations are concerned, AFAIK, there is a g-force threshold where the driver CANNOT decline medical attention. If the limit is not met, it is at the discretion of the doctor in the medical car. In both cases both drivers reported feeling fine and were fit to walk. In these situations they’ll get a vitals check and a quick concussion screen.

      Also don’t forget these guys all have personal physicians they see I’m sure right afterward if it’s not an emergency.

    3. @jimfromus Max did go to the medical centre, but it is true that he basically just crossed the start-finish straight to go to the pits first.

    4. What concerns me is that these ‘super soft tires were introduced at all. Isn’t this precisely what they were expecting. What other reason is there for changing the tire compounds down a level throughout the range of tires.

      You have a track with one of the longest strights and thus the highest speeds, and you introduce a tire range which is softer and thus more likely to fail.

      Who sanctioned this? Liberty or Pirelli?

      1. someone or something
        8th June 2021, 23:30

        Both punctures developped on the hardest available tyre compound for the weekend. Both on tyres that showed no signs of excessive wear.
        That trail you’re following – it isn’t there.

      2. Both punctures were on the hard tyres, a compound that has been used at every race so far.

        Reply moderated
    5. @jimfromus Concussion protocol in F1 is done in the medical centre. The G-force check obliges a visit to the medical centre (for, among other things, the standard concussion checks) but not what method is used to get there. If the medical car’s doctor believes a driver is capable of getting themselves to the medical centre safely, a driver is not obliged to accept a lift from the doctor (but is obliged to accept any tests/treatment that the doctor feels is necessary to facilitate the decision). The team has shown in e.g. Grosjean’s Bahrain 2020 crash that they are willing to provide drivers with some flexibility (within safe limits) even in situations where they really do feel transport to hospital is in the driver’s best interest, so it does not surprise me that they did not force Max to get in the medical car.

      On the other hand, if a driver wants a lift in the medical car, and the medical car is on scene (sometimes it’s sent even if the G-force sensor isn’t triggered, if Race Control sees some other reason to call it or it’s Lap 1 and the medical car has taken initiative), then the doctor will provide the lift even if it is not medically necessary.

  5. I think this shows that Masi was right to bring out the red flag, even if he gave the wrong reasons for it. Anyone who went through the debris field during the almost entire lap before the SC was deployed for Verstappen could have suffered a failure, even under SC. You can hear the fear in Stroll’s voice on the team radio after his crash and I reckon in hindsight, having seen a 2nd tyre failure, they should have red flagged it after Stroll’s failure.

    I’ll admit that I’ve generally tried to defend Masi on some occasions before, but I’m losing patience very rapidly now with how slow the SCs were deployed.

    1. Both the Stroll and Verstappen crashes should have been treated the same way – either safety car or red flags. tbh I don’t mind either call, but it should have been the same for both incidents.

      I’m especially suspicious in calling a red flag, just to restart the race into a 2 lap sprint. That’s pathetic and shows that Masi isn’t suitable for the job anymore if he’s putting the “show” over the sporting contest – F1 is not WWE. I get why he was appointed to the position considering the unexpected loss of Charlie Whiting and short notice of needing a replacement but he’s had long enough to show competency, and he’s failed too many times on safety grounds. Putting the show above safety is a massive failure.

      I’m also concerned that the race was restarted. The race could and probably should have been called at that point with full points. Restarting for a 2 lap sprint is questionable, especially when it can (and did) lead to a further incident or championship consequences, simply because they feel artificially manufactured.

      1. @skydiverian good lord, you act like Monaco doesn’t exist on the schedule.

      2. But does not tell the rules that if the race ended there the situation 1 lap before the accident is the end result.
        In that case it was a red bull 1 2

        1. Because of the delay between Verstappen’s crash (on lap 45) and the race being red flagged (on lap 48), if the race had been declared finished, then I think it would have been Perez P1, Hamilton P2, Vettel P3.

          Despite there only being two laps left, there was no reason the race shouldn’t finish.

      3. @skydiverian Masi’s given reason for red-flagging the second accident was rubbish. The show shouldn’t get a look-in when it comes to reasoning which safety tool is used to control a race. The safety needs of the race take priority, and in that situation with multiple unexplained apparently-spontaneous tyre failures, red flag to allow tyre changes was essential. (I can understand there might have been scepticism for Stroll’s at the time, even if I thought it was suspicious then and hindsight doesn’t help the argument to not red-flag).

      4. It’s all about SPEED all desicions must be fast on tracks with high speed straights (Monza/Baku/Mexico) If a car ends up in the wall SC if the car isn’t in the wall but more on the track Red Flag. Car breaking down or stop just VSC it’s not that difficult and you can even program the system with it. After this you can make a more hefty desicion.

        With these rules we should had red flag on Lance blowout and a SC (through the Pit) on Max.

    2. VSC. It should be thrown immediately if they can’t decide straight away on a full SC.

  6. There is ZERO reason the FIA shouldn’t sanction Masi over this. It’s a failure. Failure. It’s okay to fail, it’s human, but not twice in a row and not when other lives are at stake. Masi needs to be recalled and replaced immediately. He’s made similarly late or poor calls for the last 2 years.

    I have perfect confidence that anyone in this comment section, without training or experience, would have made a better call in less than half the amount of time it took for this “seasoned professional” to call out a safety car with a driver in clear and immediate danger.

    1. JacobC, you can add to that the fact that several drivers were completely ignoring the double waived yellows and instructions from their teams to slow down, and yet Masi ignored it.

      To give one example, there is onboard video footage from Raikkonen’s car, with the radio messages that Kimi was receiving from his pit wall. He passes at least one, possibly two, marshal posts showing double waived yellow flags, and he is also being told by the pit wall “there are yellow flags ahead” and that he should stay to the left on the main straight due to a crashed car on the right hand side of the track.

      It is fairly clear that Kimi was given more than enough instruction that he should be slowing down, and yet he made no attempt at all to slow down – he’s going flat out, even though he was having to swerve slightly on the straight to avoid running over debris. It’s pretty blatantly obvious that Kimi was completely ignoring the requirement to slow down, and that Masi also seems to have completely ignored it.

  7. Is there a rule out a procedure after Verstapen blow for the race direction to force all cars to do a mandatory pit-stop as a precaution?

    1. @bluechris No, except a red flag. Which was probably the right choice, even if Masi deployed it for the wrong reasons

    2. @bluechris That’s one of the purposes of a red flag; the thinking is that if the situation is dicey enough that everyone must go to different tyres, then it’s also dicey enough that mechanics should have the opportunity to carefully check if anything else needs doing for safety reasons on each car (at the cost that the car loses its position on the starting grid and must start from the pits if changes beyond standard pit stop work are required).

  8. Typo: or procedure

  9. I wish I could find Tsunoda’s onboard footage because I’m still somewhat baffled about Mclaren’s complaining and essentially singling out one driver out of everyone else who didn’t slow down sufficiently. Good for Masi to directly point this out.

    1. @jerejj If so many other drivers were also ignoring that, doesn’t it then raise the question of why so many drivers felt they could ignore instructions to slow down and not get penalised for it?

      If Masi is saying “well, they should all be penalised then” – why shouldn’t they all get penalties then? One of the basic requirements of his role is to impose penalties for that sort of rule breach – the fact that multiple other drivers were doing something wrong shouldn’t be an excuse for not imposing that penalty to all those that were guilty.

      It certainly hasn’t been considered an acceptable excuse for drivers not to be penalised for speeding past a single yellow flag, let alone a double yellow, even if multiple drivers committed that offence – when that has happened before, we ended up with multiple drivers being penalised. Why should Masi be applauded for effectively washing his hands of the situation and going “well, if they’re all doing it, it’s easier for me to ignore the rule than to enforce it”?

      1. If literally everyone was in breach of the rule, I would accept not issuing a sporting penalty… …if a general reprimand was issued instead (with penalty points as appropriate). General reprimands have been done before, albeit the ones I can think of pre-date the penalty points system (excessively slow pitlane entries in 2005 are the main examples that comes to mind).

        If some were in breach and others not, then those who broke the rules need to be singled out.

    2. @jerejj Because Yuki was right in front of Lando at that precise moment and was difficult for him to miss?

    3. @jerejj Palmer has done a piece analysing both the onboard footage and telemetry for Tsunoda’s car, and he has confirmed that Tsunoda did not lift at all – his throttle was at full power along the full length of the straight, and he was clocked doing nearly 322kph as he passed Max’s car.

      Although Gasly and Raikkonen did also stay on full throttle as well, McLaren certainly had a point that Tsunoda was blatantly not making any attempt to slow down at all.

  10. The Masi we’re seeing at the moment doesn’t seem to match up with the Masi we had here before he got the job.

    I can’t help wondering whether he’s just unsuitable for the job, or whether he’s been instructed to “make things more interesting” and just doesn’t know how.

    Either way, much as I hate to admit it, I don’t think he can remain in that position as his decision making, or lack of, has the potential to get someone badly hurt.

    1. @dbradock

      I worry that Masi is going to get someone killed.

  11. Masi needs to go.
    Drivers ignoring double yellows and getting away with it, is absolutely unacceptable.
    Especially considering the amount of changes they have made because of Bianchi’s accident.

    You can’t on the one hand state that accidents like Bianchi’s are unacceptable and not poljce at double yellows.
    And it’s this kind of inconsistent policing that creates the opportunity for further accidents…

    Reply moderated
    1. Soon we’ll hear the commentators saying “he replaced Michael Masi, who has been rightfully dismissed for his very dangerous actions”.

  12. The comments section on this site is just crazy. Everyone is perfect, holier than thou and has never made an error in their life, obviously.

    Facts:
    1. Stroll’s incident could have had either a SC or red flag. Decision was too slow. Double waved yellows were disobeyed.
    2. Verstappen’s incident response was also too slow. Given it was the second apparently random tyre failure, a more severe response with a red flag was entirely justified, based on existing knowledge and hindsight from Stroll. Almost everyone failed to adequately respect double waved yellows, with some (yes you, Raikkonen) didn’t even lift at all. Tyres may have been damaged by debris or impaired structural integrity and red flagging gets all tyres changed to avoid any further repeats.
    3. VSC could have assisted in slowing cars down, but would have masked the fundamental problem that ultimately showed itself – that F1 drivers don’t care enough about their own safety or that of track workers to respect the rules as they are written. Not even common sense was respected.
    4. The restart was the right thing to do. The race was incomplete and there was no reason not to restart.

    Opinion:
    1. The FIA should absolutely throw penalties at every driver who sped through yellow/double yellow flags. Safety is no joke, and this behaviour can’t continue.
    2. Sporting regulations – all of them in the book – must be enforced firmly and consistently all the time so that the culture of respecting rules is improved. There should be no hesitation or thought about what is acceptable and what is not. This includes track limits.
    3. The FIA will not penalise anyone (or only very few) because it looks bad. We hear it here often – penalties should not be handed out because ‘it’s not a big deal’ or ‘this is the pinnacle’ or ‘these are the best drivers.’ Fact is, if something makes F1 looks amateur or irresponsible, they’ll avoid it like the plague.
    The FIA arguably shouldn’t be concerned with commercial aspects, but ultimately they still own F1 and don’t want their premier championship damaged or destroyed. A scandal is better than the alternatives.

    1. Making a mistake and then learning from it, is absolutely no problem.
      Making the same mistakes over and over and over again is indicative of a problem and is a problem in itsself.
      It needs to be addressed.

      And ofcourse the FIA likes a scandal, it’s good for media exposure, something that F1 has barely been able to generate without it.

      Reply moderated
    2. Surely there’s a big red button with “SC” on it he can slam his fist on. If not, he needs one.

      Someone crashes on the main straight? Safety Car. Every time. There’s never any cranes on the main straight—don’t worry about the specifics or reports from the marshals; just slam that button.

  13. People have different skills… Masi is clearly an intelligent guy who knows his stuff but making snap decisions under pressure isn’t something everyone is good at. Some people need to take a moment to process the information first and in this role, that’s not always possible.

    You also need someone who works with the teams rather than against them. I don’t know what he’s like in meetings and behind the scenes but in the press, he regularly shuts down any comment about things being unsafe. Both Rosberg and Vettel commented on the pit entry being quite dangerous at Baku and Masi completely shut them down saying “The pit entry and the entire circuit has been designed, and is homologated by the FIA as a Grade 1 circuit, and fulfils all of the various safety requirements that the FIA has within its regulation requirements. So no, I disagree.” That’s it then is it? We’ve reached peak safety so nothing ever needs to be improved again. The track meets the safety standards as they are now so it’s not dangerous? Did Imola not meet the safety standards at the time when Senna died? How about Bahrain last year? Did that not meet the relevant safety standards? If Verstappen’s tyre had gone slightly earlier and he crashed into the pit entry, would we simply say “it met the standards so we don’t need to change anything?”

    I used to work in health & safety and if someone flagged up a potential issue, it should always be taken seriously. If you don’t feel it’s an issue or it’s an acceptable risk, you can explain yourself and why the risk is reduced as much as is reasonably practicable. Saying “it meets the standards so it’s fine” is what I’d expect from a company trying to defend themselves in the press – like what the Council said when questioned about Grenfell….. You have one of the most experienced current drivers in the field (and director of the GPDA) telling you there is a safety issue – you don’t just ignore that if you have any respect for safety.

    1. To provide some balance here – Masi doesn’t write the FIA’s circuit grading specifications.
      If the circuit meets those specs and has been homologated by the appropriate team from the FIA, what else can he say?

      And he’s clearly not comfortable talking to the media – that’s just a personality trait. Not all people can do it well.
      Just ask Naomi Osaka.

      Could he show more openness to accepting suggestions and discussing them with his colleagues? Sure, and he probably does that away from the nosey, aggressive and judgemental media/public who take a handful of words and turn them into anything they want them to be.
      It’s perfectly understandable that he might come across as defensive when all he cops is criticism and abuse.

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