Daniel Ricciardo and Alexander Albon crash, Suzuka, 2024

Ricciardo and Albon avoid penalty over crash which stopped race

Formula 1

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Daniel Ricciardo and Alexander Albon will not face a penalty over their collision which brought the Japanese Grand Prix to a stop on the first lap.

The pair were uninjured but retired after spinning into the barriers at turn three.

Ricciardo and team mate Yuki Tsunoda came under attack at the start as both started on the medium tyre compound while the six drivers immediately behind them were on softs. Albon drew alongside Ricciardo on the outside heading into the left-hander turn three but the pair touched and spun into the barriers.

The RB driver admitted he’d been preoccupied with an attack from another driver, Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll, when the crash happened.

“Myself and Yuki had a pretty poor getaway on the medium and all the cars behind on the soft just got us quite easily and we were just kind of scrabbling obviously for some grip,” he told the official F1 channel.

“By turn two it settled a little bit but then I remember getting out of two still with a little bit of traction and I remember an Aston on my left. So I was kind of watching that car and then as I was starting to drift to open up three, I felt Alex.

“I saw his onboard and he just had so much better drive out of two. I don’t even know if he wanted to be there, but he could see me kind of going a little bit sideways and just I think everyone kind of got choked up and that was that. So unfortunately a short Sunday.”

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Retiring on the first lap was “the worst thing,” said Ricciardo, who is yet to score a point this year.

Albon said he was trying to avoid contact when the pair touched. “I had, not a great start, but obviously a bit better than [those on] the medium tyres, and had good traction coming out of turn two. That was it, really.

“I don’t think Daniel saw me and then it was just a bit of a pinching moment. I tried to back out of it but I couldn’t quite get out of the way quick enough. So it was a tough one to take.”

The crash is the third for a Williams driver in the past two weekends. The team is already in a vulnerable position with a shortage of spares following the Australian Grand Prix, where it was only able to run one car in the race.

“Obviously we’re not in a great position as a team with parts and just general damage to the car so it’s very frustrating and just disappointing,” said Albon, who is unsure how serious the damage is to his FW46.

“Honestly, it wasn’t like a big crash but the way that I hit the wall, it was a tyre wall, we don’t have that many tyre walls any more in Formula 1 and the way that the tyre went under the car and it ripped the car, so the car went from a good amount of speed to zero really quickly. I’m just worried. I didn’t get a good look at it because it’s under the tyres. But hopefully it’s okay.”

The stewards investigated the crash but ruled it was a racing incident and took no action against either driver.

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“The explanations of both drivers were aligned as to the facts of the incident,” they noted. “On the approach to turn three, the driver of car three [Ricciardo] noticed car 18 [Stroll] on his left and stated that he wanted to give that car sufficient room. He stated he then looked to the apex of turn three. He did not see car 23 [Albon] on his right.

“The driver of car 23 stated that he thought he could overtake car three on the outside, into turn three, but then suddenly realised that car three had not seen him, applied the brakes but could not avoid the contact with car three.

“Accordingly we determine this to be a first lap incident and decide to take no further action.”

Pictures: Ricciardo and Albon’s crash

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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...

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29 comments on “Ricciardo and Albon avoid penalty over crash which stopped race”

  1. Racing incident for me. Ric is more to blame given that he initiated the contact and didn’t realize Albon was there but Albon had nothing to gain on the outside there, that gap was always going to close.

    It doesn’t help either anyway, Ric’s doing nothing whole Yuki is shining and Williams is short on parts

    1. I think a driver has the right to think someone isn’t going try to go three-wide on the outside in your blind spot going into that turn. It was just a stupid place to be for Albon. I’ll give Daniel 10% blame IDK not sensing him there just cause I like Alex so much.

    2. I’d agree that it was a racing incident, though I’d also repeat a point I’ve made previously, that some drivers are just better at not putting themselves in the at-risk position in the first place. Murray Walker used to say you cannot win the race at the first corner, but you can certainly lose it.

      1. lol, I said the same thing “can’t win in first corner” in one of the other comments sections about the crash.

  2. It sucks for Ricciardo because the rest of the weekend had been decent/okay for the first time this year.

    There’s a bit of ‘racing incident’, but it was mostly Ricciardo’s fault – he moved over when Albon was three quarters alongside, and he moved so quickly that even when Albon backed out to avoid contact, there wasn’t time for him to get away.

    So basically, the first weekend Ricciardo has been acceptable for pace, he’s been the principal cause of writing his car off. It isn’t helpful for the team. Clock still ticking.

    1. Yes, don’t understand how people blame albon, ricciardo left him nowhere to go.

      1. Because Albon was behind, into a corner, at the start of the race, with the entire pack close together. He was never going to make the corner around the outside. Watch the full speed onboard, there is no way in hell Ric has enough time to look in both mirrors and out front and still make the corner, all Albon had to do was stay out of Ric’s way, which just mean not being beside him. The one car he had to look out for, infront of him, to the left, the same way he was already looking to make the corner. Bias is a hell of a thing.

    2. Also, ricciardo was pretty confident on scoring points before the race, spoke too soon, it looks like.

      1. Given his race pace has been slightly better the Tsu’s through the year. He probably could have on merit, or he might have got the undercut then had a screaming baby behind him.

  3. 100% Daniel’s fault. He was lucky it was a first corner incident. Otherwise, it should be an automatic penalty.

  4. As much as I think Daniel could have avoided that, I would still agree with the consensus that on balance it was an unfurtunate first lap incident. Feel sorry for Alex, but the outcome was punishment enough for Daniel.

    1. Yeah, probably true @cairnsfella. One of those things in the melee of the first few corners.

  5. Did Albon not see Stroll? Three wide is a big risk even on ovals.

    Williams can ill afford Albon’s antics.

    1. Exactly my thoughts. No one goes three-wide into that turn let alone on the outside. To me, it’s a perfect example of the saying “you can’t win the race on the first lap.” Speaking of antics, I wonder if Logan has an ironclad contract for the season…because, while seemingly a pleasant lad, he is utterly hopeless. I’ll say it for the thousandth time, you see 99% of what a driver will become in their rookie season.

      1. Yes, this is the same reason why I don’t think piastri will ever become a verstappen\norris\hamilton, I think he’s about russell\sainz level and I could already see that the first season.

        1. Agree 100% and said the same exact thing in one of the threads below. He’ll always be good, but he’ll never be the guy extracting every last tenth. Besides ultimate pace, the main thing he’s lacking which has set drivers like Max and Lewis apart is their ability to do endless fast laps without killing their tires. And they were able to do that as rookies. That’s a talent a driver has or he doesn’t.

    2. It was never 3 wide though.

      Stroll was never really alongside Daniel & at the point contact was made he was fully behind both of them.

      Alex had more of a right to space than Lance did as Alex got half way alongside Daniel’s car while Lance never got as far as barely having his front wing level with Daniel’s rear wing.


      1. Great clip, thanks.

        I’d still say it was effectively, if not actually, three wide because Ricciardo had already made provisions for Stroll to take the inside line, as he was probably worried about getting bumped off.

        When three cars approach a corner, it is all but inevitable that one has to back out, and usually that is the one on the outside (even if the following corner bends the other way). That’s why I was surprised that Albon didn’t comment on Stroll at all. Seems like he wasn’t thinking about him, which is understandable but a costly lack of awareness all the same.

        1. I agree, Michael.

  6. That said, RB would have discuss the potential threats to them picking up that valued point. High on that list would have been Albon and possibly Stroll in the faster out of place cars. Call me cynical, but Ricciardo it seems to me, succeeded in helping his team secure their only chance of a point.

    1. Not cynical at all. I thought the most important thing from the incar vision was they way Ric let Yuki through onT1 without challenging him. I thought Ric was ahead going into T1

      1. I’m not sure he ‘let Yuki through’ they got very close together entering that corner. Yuki just looked more confident in carrying the speed into the corner.

    2. Ahah, if anything that’s strategic thinking, I didn’t consider this!

  7. Jonathan Parkin
    7th April 2024, 12:59

    At the risk of sounding like Victor Meldrew, but why do we still run the clock when there is a red flag.

    When I watched F1 religiously, if there was a red flag on the first two laps everyone came back to the grid, any drivers who had an accident rejoined the grid in their spare or repaired cars and we started again after a short delay from zero for the full race distance with 0:00:00.000 on the clock

    And then the procedure changed. I don’t know why but the 2007 European GP happened and suddenly the stoppage is now part of the race and it makes no sense

    1. I believe it was something the broadcasters asked for so they could schedule a slot and not have to worry about constantly bumping other programming around if there is an indefinite long delay.

      1. I believe that is correct Peter. There was a time when people accepted that live events were uncertain and that other programmes needed to slide about a bit, but nowadays the world will end if Love Island isn’t on exactly when it was supposed to be.

        1. And yet these days F1 is largely on its own dedicated channel / app depending on where you are in the world. Meaning it could happily run and not bump anything other than Ted wandering about next to motorhomes.

          Some of the programming on Sky F1 outside of sessions though, I’d almost rather watch Love Island.

    2. Jonathan Parkin, I’m not sure why you’re referring to the 2007 European GP, because they actually changed the regulations to include the stoppages within the overall race time limit two years earlier (it was part of the regulation changes for the 2005 season).

      1. Jonathan Parkin
        7th April 2024, 19:56

        It’s because prior to that race the last red flag after Lap 2 was I believe in 2001 Belgium GP.

        Whilst it probably did first appear in the 2005 regs, it wasn’t implemented in an actual race until the 2007 European GP

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