Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri, Suzuka, 2022

FIA to publish findings of inquiry into use of crane during Japanese GP

2022 Japanese Grand Prix

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The FIA will publish their findings from an investigation into “procedural issues” at the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka which left drivers furious when they encountered a crane on-track during the rain-hit race.

Following a meeting of the FIA’s World Motor Sport Council held in London on Wednesday, the governing body confirmed that findings from an investigation into the incidents at the Japanese Grand Prix would be published “in the coming days.”

Following Carlos Sainz Jnr’s opening lap crash on the heavily wet circuit, a crane was deployed to recover the Ferrari. Under Safety Car conditions, Pierre Gasly – who was catching up to the back of the pack after pitting on the first lap – passed by the accident scene and reacted with fury when he came across the crane.

An infuriated Gasly said that the sport had not learned from the loss of driver Jules Bianchi at the same track eight years earlier when he struck a recovery vehicle in similar conditions.

“We lost Jules already,” said Gasly. “We all lost an amazing guy, an amazing driver, for the reasons that we know. Eight years ago, on the same track, in the same conditions with the crane. How?

“How today we can see a crane not even in the gravel, on the race track, while we are still on the track? I don’t understand that.”

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The FIA said in a statement that “as stated immediately after the race, the FIA has undertaken a thorough analysis of the incidents which took place at the Japanese Grand Prix in Suzuka.

“Procedural issues have been identified and will be corrected in the short and medium term,” it continued. “The findings will be made public in the coming days.”

Gasly was one of several drivers who raised concerns over the presence of recovery vehicles on the track. At the time the FIA said: “While it is normal practice to recover cars under Safety Car and Red Flag conditions, due to the particular circumstances and also taking into account feedback from of a number of drivers, the FIA has launched a thorough review of the events involving the deployment of recovery vehicles during the Japanese Grand Prix.

“This is part of the common practice of debrief and analysis of all race incidents to ensure continual improvements of processes and procedures.”

The governing body has also confirmed changes to the technical regulations for the 2023 F1 season to improve safety. Cockpit mirrors will increase in size in order to reduce the size of driver blind spots, while car roll hoop safety tests will be revised after Zhou Guanyu’s accident at the start of the British Grand Prix.

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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7 comments on “FIA to publish findings of inquiry into use of crane during Japanese GP”

  1. Procedural issues? Either the relevant marshal post acted without race control permission, or race control gave the recovery vehicle use permission too soon.

  2. The procedure for slowing down and being prepared to take evasive action or come to a stop under double-waved yellows and red flags definitely needs to be corrected – so that drivers will actually do it.

    Ultimately this boils down to Gasly paying more attention to his Delta time than the flags and what’s actually happening on and around the track.

    1. In spite of his speed and wheelspinning, Gasly said that when he passed the recovery vehicle he was 9 seconds slower than his delta time, so maybe they should be reviewing the procedure for determining what the target delta time should be, by considering the fact that the track was wet so lacks grip.

      1. Does feel like a speed limit should be enforced under red. Not necessarily pit lane speed limit, but something as easily enforceable would make sense.

      2. Like I said – he was putting more emphasis on the clock than on safety.
        The delta time isn’t the problem – the driver’s lack of consideration for safety and the rules (in general) is the problem.
        If he’d driven through the scene at a slow speed like he should have, nobody would be upset about it.

  3. Does feel like a speed limit should be enforced under red.

    Quite possibly, but the simple fact is that even if Gasly had slowed to 10mph (and I can do better than that on a push-bike) the recovery vehicle should not have been on track at that time

    Mention of Gasly’s speed by the stewards (ignoring that he had been within the expected delta) was merely chaff thrown up to cover the rear of whichever member of the stewarding staff screwed up and allowed the vehicle on track.

    At work we admit fault so that the facts are known and the process of “what can we do to ensure that mistake doesn’t happen again” can proceed. Everyone makes mistakes, repeating them because you made an attempt at a cover-up is just stupid.

  4. If it is like last years’ there was no wrongdoing

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