Gasly raised fairness concerns with FIA over oil on starting grid

Formula 1

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Pierre Gasly expects the FIA to take action to prevent oil being dropped on the starting grid before races, as happened at last weekend’s Las Vegas Grand Prix.

The Alpine driver claimed his best starting position of the season with fourth place at the new Las Vegas Strip Circuit. However he was left at a disadvantage as oil was dropped on his starting position by one of the classic cars being used to escort the drivers, in this case Lewis Hamilton.

Although marshals worked to clean up and reduce the effects of the spillage before the race began, Gasly believes he was still left at an unfair disadvantage.

“It wasn’t nice,” he said. “Especially lining up on the best spot of the year for us.”

He raised the matter with the sport’s governing body. “I’ve discussed it already with the FIA,” he said. “I’m sure we’ll change a few things because it doesn’t feel really fair that some guys got to start on oil and some others have clear Tarmac. But I’m sure they’ll fix it.”

The problem wasn’t the first of its kind, though the spillage in Las Vegas was particularly large. “It’s not the first time we’ve seen these historic cars dropping oil,” acknowledged George Russell, who started alongside Gasly.

“It was pretty shocking to see how bad it was but they did a good job of the clear-up before the race.”

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes and Sergio Perez, Red Bull, Las Vegas Strip Circuit 2023
Hamilton joined Perez after his parade car broke down
Some drivers said the oil on the rack contributed towards the collisions which happened at turn one at the start of the race. McLaren team principal Andrea Stella said that means the FIA need to look into it.

“This seems like an obvious point – if there’s a Formula 1 race, then you wouldn’t like to drop oil on-track one-and-a-half hours before the race.

“I think there’s many things that will populate the agenda of F1 and the FIA to improve the safety conditions.”

If the oil on the track did contribute to the first corner crash “then it becomes a proper safety issue” and “should be definitely not happening, or be fixed as a matter of priority,” Stella concluded.

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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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7 comments on “Gasly raised fairness concerns with FIA over oil on starting grid”

  1. One responded to me by pointing out postponing the race start & while that itself is an option, it mightn’t necessarily make a difference in such last-minute situations, not to mention postponing can only be done so much before a given hard limit would come.

    1. @jerejj And given there was already a lawsuit over having to kick fans out at 1:30 am (90 minutes after scheduled race start), any delay would jeopardise Liberty’s defence in the upcoming lawsuit.

  2. Whether it is a parade car or a support race, things like this are always a risk, and we’ve seen it before, but, nobody wanted this, least of all the owner of that car which I am sure spent hours preparing it for the event on the weekend.

    Pierre can complain all he wants but Max had to start in the grid box most affected and he led into T1 from P2. So I think maybe it’s just a moot point.

    Maybe Pierre can ride an E-Bike around on the parade lap if he wants to take this issue to the next level.

    1. Max also complained about it, as did many other drivers.

    2. Max drove past all the oil and went to his box at the last moment. He said that was very important to have a good start.

    3. @dragoll He only led into T2 by using a move that led to him getting a 5-second penalty. Probably not the best example.

  3. Not the first time historic cars have dropped oil on the track? Maybe don’t do that anymore

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