Ferrari unhappy with race director’s late decision to deploy Safety Car

2022 Canadian Grand Prix

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Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto says the race director needs to take “sharper decisions” after what he feels was a late call to deploy the Safety Car during the Canadian Grand Prix.

Carlos Sainz Jnr was leading the race when Yuki Tsunoda crashed at the pit lane exit. The incident was covered under yellow flags initially before the Safety Car was deployed by race director Eduardo Freitas.

Ferrari wanted to take advantage of any opportunity to pit Sainz during a Safety Car period. But as he neared the pit lane entrance at the end of the lap, the Safety Car had not yet been deployed.

By the time it was summoned, Binotto said the team only had a second to call their driver into the pits.

“I think it took very long to decide for the Safety Car,” he said. “At the moment Carlos was leading the race and I think that the Safety Car was released when he was just at the end of the main straight coming to the last corner.

“The team has been very, very good in reacting, and the driver himself as well in coming into the pit. I think we had only one second to react and we reacted within one second.

“Without that good reactions it would have been a very difficult and bad situation for Carlos. And I think again here we need sharper decisions. It took very long, for me, to decide.”

After Sainz made his pit stop he pursued Max Verstappen over the final laps but was unable to pass the Red Bull to win. Binotto said it was “difficult to judge” whether he would have been in a better position to win had the Safety Car not been deployed.

“We know that in order to defend, he should have been very fast on-track, at least a 17.4, 17.3 single lap, because Max was very fast behind. It would have been very close, no doubt.

“We were judging ‘should we stay on track, should we pit,’ simply to protect as well from Lewis [Hamilton] that had fresh tyres as well and was very fast behind. So we were monitoring very close the situation. I think it’s very difficult to judge and to say how the race would have finished without the final Safety Car.”

Sainz’s strong pace in the race came as no surprise, said Binotto. “If you look at the race sim on Friday, Carlos was very strong already. I think we were very close to the Red Bulls. So we knew that we could fight.”

“Carlos is gaining confidence with the car, he is driving faster and faster,” Binotto added. “And it’s good to see that today he was certainly as fast if not slightly faster than Max.”

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2022 Canadian Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...
Claire Cottingham
Claire has worked in motorsport for much of her career, covering a broad mix of championships including Formula One, Formula E, the BTCC, British...

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36 comments on “Ferrari unhappy with race director’s late decision to deploy Safety Car”

  1. I remember thinking that it takes for ever as well. I guess the VSC should be instant in these cases, until to decide if a safety car is needed.

    1. i remember thinking that closing the pit entry was a option as the crashed car was on pit exit.
      That really would have screwed Ferrari over..

      1. Yeah but it wasn’t in the pit exit it was further ahead.

        1. Yuki went off while still in the pit exit lane. He hadn’t crossed the line dictated the end of the pit ecit lane yet. Any car leaving the pits during the subsequent recovery would be allowed to exit at full speed before having to slow before the exit line to match SC speed, and would therefore be at risk of sliding off just like he did.

          So while he was ‘out of the pit lane’, the risk of a copycat crash was still there. So I could see them making the call to close the pit lane for the safety of the recovery crew.

  2. I agree. Charlie was much more determined in deploying the SC. Tsunoda crashes, quite obvious it needs a crane to remove the car, so deploy the SC already..

  3. I was wondering why they took so long to deploy it, especially after they’d been quite quick for both Perez’s and Schumacher’s cars.

  4. The pit crew screwed up on the pit stop as well, which is what really put Sainz behind.

    1. Sainz came out 2 seconds behind max. Sainz’ pit stop wasn’t delayed that long…

  5. Sometimes you just have to second guess the VSC or SC too, I think Mercedes did that at one point in the race.

    1. Or maybe twice, once with a VSC for Hamilton, and then with the VSC for Russell too @david-br, in any case, they clearly were prepared for it.

  6. I also thought that the Safety Car was unnecessary; why couldn’t it be a VSC? Even the the Band guys here in Brasil expected a Virtual Safety Car

    1. I should hope we’ve all collectively learnt a lesson: when there is a crane inside the crcuit, put the safety car out as a MINIMUM

    2. Crane on the track = safety car. Simple as that

      1. Given how every Safety Car inevitably gets this comment, guess it’s not that simple.

    3. @pedrike The VSC is only used if a car can be recovered quickly by been pushed through an access point (Like in the cases of Perez & Schumacher’s cars).

      If a car requires a tractor to go & recover it of if it is going to take a bit longer due to been further away from an access road or due to some other issue that is making recovery harder then it’s always going to be a full SC.

      1. +1 OK then

  7. At least it didn’t make any difference. As soon as you realise that Tsunoda cannot get out of there you must go for full sc as much I’d rather avoid it. The car and the barrier needed some marshalls on track.
    I think the bigger question is what was Tsunoda thinking? We’ve seen people slip up there over the years but circumstances were different. Either Tsunoda is really bad or he binned it on purpose, that is how far from making the turn he was.

    1. @peartree I may be wrong, because I haven’t seen anyone else mention it, but it looked to me from the onboard shot that Tsunoda’s left-front was pointing in the wrong direction as he left the track. In other words, I thought the wheel had not been fitted properly during his (very quick) pit stop, and this was what caused the crash. Which would obviously be a very big problem for AlphaTauri if true.

      1. I did think I also saw that for a moment. I just watched it on the replays and there it looks like the front left is actually pointing the right way (turning to the right) but the front right first does not turn (but no puff of smoke from visible lockup) and seems to stay straight instead of turning to the right. So maybe there was something wrong there @red-andy, @peartree.

        1. @bascb I was thinking the same thing from his onboards, but both the Dutch and British commenters on F1TV clearly didn’t agree with what I was thinking so I figured it was just me seeing ghosts.

          I’m still not sure. Has Yuki commented on it somewhere?

          1. Yeah, during the broadcast it was more or less just accepted as “a mistake by Yuki” and then they went on with the SC and what happened on track @mattds, I haven’t seen much of the F1TV after race coverage (went to bed early last night) but haven’t seen anything from either AT or Tsunoda talking about the incident so far.

    2. flyonthewall
      20th June 2022, 14:46

      I think Tsunoda was instructed to do so. Marko leads Alpha Tauri as well, so.

  8. I was wondering how long it would be until Ferrari joined the game of applying pressure to the stewards when things don’t go there way.

    Let the stewards do their job and leave them alone. We’ve been here before and it doesn’t end well…

  9. Its simple close pits when safety and virtual safety car is announced.

    1. I agree for VSC, not for full SC.

    2. I think crashgate showed us that that is not necessarily a good idea…

  10. Ferrari drivers’ position on track should have no bearing on the timing of a safety car’s deployment.

    1. That’s not what Binotto said

      1. That’s why he’s saying it.

        1. Is his comment wrong?

    2. Also, if Russel was able to pit even before the second VSC, surely Ferrari could pit Sainz before the SC was actually called too because it was inevitable that there would either have to be a VSC or a full SC to get him out of there.

      1. This is Ferrari we talking about here, a team which lost a 1-2 in monaco due to bad pit calls and strategy, they are never good with their pit calls or their pit stops. Their ‘class leading’ pit stops again destroyed leclerc’s chances of a better result

        1. Yes, that they COULD in Ferraris case most often means that they look on a missed chance later @knightameer!

  11. I don’t think the SC deployment took unnecessarily long & they reacted quickly enough anyway, while Alfa wasn’t as reactive with Bottas, not that this made a difference in the end.

  12. Every decision by the FIA, Race Director and Stewards is criticised these days. F1 is turning into soccer where the Ref is always surrounded by baying players and with gesticulating coaches going wild on the touchline.

  13. At the end of the day Tsunoda’s car was not in a very dangerous position and the safety car was needed to protect Marshalls and allow the crane on the track. No point throwing the safety car until they were ready for Marshalls and the crane. It looked a likely safety car but ultimately there is no rush to send one out. I do think the VSC then Safety Car procedure works well too but the call came quickly enough given the accident severity.

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