FORMULA 1

Did the Medical car and FIA make an error during the 2022 Belgian GP?

medical car Belgian GP, Six Sports

Opening laps of the 2022 Belgian GP were full of chaos which eventually triggered the safety car and medical car.

In the opening lap of the 2022 Belgian Grand Prix, former teammates and rivals Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso had a coming together. This ultimately resulted in ruining the race for Hamilton as the Briton retired on that lap itself.

It was the first retirement for Lewis Hamilton this season.

Hamilton later took the whole responsibility for the collision and said:

“Looking back at the footage, he was right in my blind spot. I didn’t even know he was there. It was my fault today.”

The Briton added:

“I nearly broke my back coming down so it was a big hit,” Hamilton explained. “I’m sure I’ll feel sore tomorrow.

“I remember just looking at the ground, so that was quite high. I’m so grateful to be still alive and in shape.”

“I could hear something was broken in the gearbox. That coming down, I would have broken so much in the back end, so I was told to stop. Obviously in that moment you’re hopeful you can keep going but it was not meant to be.”

Hamilton warned for breach of regulations

Once Lewis had stopped and retired from the race, he was issued a warning, according to article 26.14 of technical regulations which states that:

“The Race Director, the clerk of the course or the Medical Delegate can require a driver to have a medical examination at any time during a Competition.

“If, after an incident, the Medical Warning Light signals that threshold forces have been exceeded the driver must be examined by the Competition medical service without delay, the Medical Delegate will determine the most appropriate place for this examination.”

Hamilton did not go to the medical center hence breaking the regulation. Hamilton was therefore awarded a warning

The stewards further mentioned:

“this is not the first time this season that drivers (not Hamilton) have initially refused to go for a medical check.”

However, it seems that the medical also didn’t follow the right procedure completely.

The medical car didn’t stop or Lewis Hamilton refused to get in?

At the start of a race, a Medical car is the one that follows the grid of cars closely behind. This is because:

“in the event of an incident, doctors can reach the scene of the accident as quickly as possible and start administering first-aid immediately.”

Each formula 1 car has an emergency warning light that is connected to FIA ADR [Accident Data Recorder]. This helps FIA to know how severe the accident was immediately after the incident. FIA will know quickly whether the accident was serious enough or not.

After the incident, Hamilton stopped on the side of the track. Moments later Valtteri Bottas spun in the gravel after contact with Nicholas Latifi. Hamilton jumped out of his car sprinted across the gravel to a Marshal outpost, picked up a fire extinguisher, and came back to his car.

Single waved yellows were out all this time.

Hamilton then used the extinguisher on his car. Afterward, the Briton was spotted coming back to the pits with no one escorting him.

According to the International Sporting Code,

“no medical vehicle may move unless it has received an express order to do so from race control.” 

The rules also states that,

“no medical vehicle should take to the track before the said track has been made safe (safety car, FCY “Full Course Yellow”, VSC “Virtual Safety Car” or red flag).”

Was the Medical car meant for Hamilton?

Whilst Hamilton’s W13 was parked alongside the track, Bottas’s Alfa Romeo went off-track and was stuck in the gravel. This triggered a safety car for Bottas on lap 2.

Since the safety car was out, this meant that the medical car could be deployed too.

This raises the question if the medical car was deployed was it meant for Lewis Hamilton or Bottas?

The social media has sparked a debate as from the onboard footage of Hamilton’s car Medical car can be seen driving past the stationary W13 during the Belgian GP.

Conclusion

Reports indicate that during the impact Hamilton suffered the forces of 45Gs.

It is clear that the amount of force would have triggered the emergency warning light on Hamilton’s car alongside FIA. Since Hamilton was out on the circuit for a pretty long time, one can assume that a medical car should have been sent to pick the Briton.

However, that never happened.

We can only speculate about what could have happened.

If it was deployed for Hamilton, was it that they could not find him or the car was not deployed for him at first rather it was out due to the Bottas-Latifi incident.

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