FIA explains failure to restart Italian GP after Horner claims they had ‘enough time’

2022 Italian Grand Prix

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The FIA has explained why the Italian Grand Prix was not restarted after the Safety Car was sent out with six laps to go.

Max Verstappen led the field to the chequered flag after the race was neutralised while marshals recovered the stricken car of Daniel Ricciardo. Although Ricciardo brought his car to a stop without hitting anything and was a reasonable distance from a gap in the barrier through which it could be moved, the marshals were unable to push it and a vehicle had to be used to move it out of the way.

“While every effort was made to recover car number three [Ricciardo] quickly and resume racing, the situation developed and marshals were unable to put the car into neutral and push it into the escape road,” an FIA spokesperson explained.

“As the safety of the recovery operation is our only priority, and the incident was not significant enough to require a red flag, the race ended under Safety Car following the procedures agreed between the FIA and all competitors. The timing of the Safety Car period within a race has no bearing on this procedure.”

However Red Bull team principal Christian Horner believes the race could have been restarted in time had the Safety Car not initially been sent out in front of the wrong car. It led the third-placed car of George Russell for more than one lap instead of leader Verstappen, meaning the field did not form up behind it as quickly as it should have done.

Horner told Sky “they had more than enough time to get that going.”

“They picked up the wrong car and then they had to let all those cars literally catch up again. So we need to go through the details of it, but for me, there was more than enough time to get that race going again with a car that wasn’t in a barrier, it was parked by the side of the track.”

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2022 Italian 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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22 comments on “FIA explains failure to restart Italian GP after Horner claims they had ‘enough time’”

  1. Ricciardo’s stranded car being quite far away from the nearest hole & marshals struggling with getting neutral on via pressing the exterior N button proved decisive.
    I also thought about the possibility of red light above the airbox, i.e., a car in an unsafe state.

    1. Adub Smallblock
      12th September 2022, 2:06

      Your comment about the slow decision making is my main complaint. Slow to call a VSC, then slow to call the SC, With better decision making, we could have had an exciting ending.

    2. I did find it quite curious how long it took them to signal a full SC – I guess race control took their time to understand the car wasn’t moving. But even then it seemed to take over a lap to get the SC actually out there after signalling it would @jerejj.
      It was a bit of a mess with the SC first picking up Russel (after it finally even got on track in the first place) and then letting them go round IMO.

      That would certainly not helped recovery, since the marshalls did not have a good period of no cars passing since they weren’t being bunched up by the SC for several laps.

      On the other hand, given that they had to get the tractor out there to lift the car out of the way, this was always going to take a while and by the time the car was cleared, there really wasn’t much time / race distance left.

  2. They should have reg flag it with that huge recovery vehicle right on the track.

    Also, its frustrating to watch how sloooow is their decision making all season long. It took them like a minute to deploy safety car.

    1. I often wonder why the marshals don’t have some jacks handy. They could jack up the rear of the car and roll it quite easily then. Admittedly that would only work on a smooth surface but I’m sure you can get jacks with chunky wheels. A basic sack truck from a DIY shop would do the job.

      They could also use those spinning dolly wheel things the teams all use when the cars return to the pits (again, smooth surface probably required). The current system seems to rely on either the car being in neutral (no guarantee if the car has a sudden engine failure or gearbox/clutch issue) and then used the same extraction methods you would use for a completely totalled car (crane and/JCB). You’d think there would be some more speedy methods for simpler incidents.

      1. Not sure just having several jacks, with them all around the car (front, rear and side, like the teams do when they push cars around in the pitlane) is viable @frood19, and that is even before you consider how low the cars are, how small the wheels on those jacks are and the fact that they would be trying to move it on grass, not on the tarmac or concrete of the pitlane.

        1. @bascb I thought the teams just had front and rear jacks and then used the spinning dolly wheel thing. I get when you’re saying about it not working too well on grass (though I bet there’s a solution for that) but even if they could swiftly move a car stuck in gear on tarmac, that would hugely speed things up compared with using a JCB.

  3. Honestly Horner will moan about anything.

    If they’d have restarted he would have complained about that.

    F1 isn’t just the last few laps – it’s the whole event. There’s always the risk of a late safety car and there shouldn’t be undue pressure to either clear the issue quickly or red flag the race to “preserve the spectacle” as it would be even more artificial than finishing under safety car.

  4. Happened under Masi as well, safety car’s take an age to be called. Ridiculous.

    1. Yesterday was not championship decider or might not even race decider, why bother?

  5. I like what was done at races earlier in the year where the call was for the VSC initially to slow everyone down and then switch it to a full SC when the leader is coming to the end of the lap where the SC can come out and pick him up quickly.

    1. Yeah, that seemed like a good procedure to me as well @stefmeister. Here I am not sure what happened that the SC took so long to be called and then took even more time to actually get out on track (and then picked up the wrong car as well!). Maybe Maylander was just taking a leak when they needed him?

  6. The SC took laps to come out and then it failed to pick the right driver. Who is the race director? Race direction this year has been far worse than last year. The current race director would crumble apart with a max v hamilton championship.

    1. Wittich, Feitas was in Japan for the WEC.

    2. @peartree

      Race direction this year has been far worse than last year.

      I don’t agree at all.

      I think that race direction has been miles better this year than it ever was under Michael Masi.

      Track limits are consistently the white line around every track which is already a huge improvement.

      And we haven’t had safety features such as safety cars or red flags used to benefit the show as was the case with Masi where full SC’S were routinely called for things that could have been dealt with under a VSC and where we had far more red flags than was necessary.

      Not to mention doing things like using when the SC turned its lights off to try and create a more compacted restart for the show even though teams and drivers had voiced concerns over safety of such a thing.

      I would agree that there has been some unnecessary delays in calling for a SC this year but i think the correct option has always been used and rules/procedures followed which wasn’t the case under Masi’s tenure as race director.

      And the race directors have been in the headlines and news stories far less which suggests that they haven’t been doing things to warrent them been a talking point which is again a positive. Masi was constantly a talking point because he was constantly making silly calls and ‘for the show rather than sport’ decisions.

      He should have been replaced well before Abu Dhabi as it was clear he was out of his depth in 2019 and his various mistakes and show over aport decisions in 2020/2021 just reaffirmed that.

      1. @roger-ayles I disagree, and white lines haven’t been judged the way you are saying all year long. There have been trigger happy calls and very delayed calls, bad organization on track clean up and bad protocol for dealing with the safety of drivers following crashes. Careless attitude towards pit lane incidents. The list goes on, Masi was out of his depth and so is Niels. Like I said lucky Hamilton is not fighting for the title.

        1. I f Lewis was in the championship fight, what would have happened? just curious to know because you have mentioned this more than once…

      2. I agree. For sure.

        There have far fewer questions of ‘sporting legitimacy’ this year (which was insufferably common last season).

        It feels like an improvement this season.

  7. I feel like everyone agrees that races shouldn’t end behind the safety car if it isn’t absolutely necessary. But at the same time a red flag would mean a standing start and free tyre changes which doesn’t really sound fair either. Maybe it is an idea to look into a procedure to ‘red flag’ the session briefly without an actual red flag, stopping the cars and resuming with a rolling start when the track has been cleared. If you would set a standard amount of laps left in that case (for example, 2 laps like in Baku last year) that might be fair. Of course this would only be used when there is no time to restart the race normally.

    1. Axel, I’d come to much the same conclusion, i.e. stop teams getting free tyre changes etc under the red flag, and restart them under SC so they have the rolling restart at the end of the first lap.

  8. Just terrible race direction all round.

    Ample opportunity to have a lap under green and the FIA couldn’t manage it.

    Such an embarrassment to the sport. Clearly they’re still reeling over Abu Dhabi, but surely they should realise being indecisive does not solve anything.

  9. While some practice and qualy sessions where immediately red flagged tough the car offtrack was then able to continue, the call for SC takes so long in the races.

    Immediate VSC when a car has stopped, and SC decision within 15 seconds, when necessary to remove the car. Ofc SC should join some seconds before the leader and instantly catch him. Sounds pretty easy to me.

    Maybe last-laps SC could go a bit slower, when necessary to have a final lap under green. And also maybe one could add one lap per 2 or 3 laps behind SC, as this shouldnt cause any fuel problems. And 10 seconds wait-time for pitstops done under VSC.

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