FORMULA 1

Horrors from the past struck again at the Japanese GP

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A recovery vehicle was dangerously sent on track during the 2022 Japanese GP reminding the whole F1 community of the horrific past incident at the same track.

The conditions at the start of the race in Suzuka became horrendous.

Two racers crashed out on the opening lap as a safety car came out before the race was eventually red-flagged.

The drivers were horrified to see a recovery vehicle already on the track even before they had made it safely back to the pitlane.

Back in 2014 in similar wet conditions, Adrian Sutil crashed out into the barriers. However, there were isolated yellow flags only in that part of the track.

Jules Bianchi then lost control of his Marussia and ended up hitting the crane that was clearing Sutil’s car. The accident turned out to be fatal as the Frenchman would eventually lose his life nine months later fighting a coma.

FIA introduced a couple of safety measures in the wake of the incident like Virtual Safety Car. It brings the whole grid down to 40% of the delta speed while putting circuit-wide yellow flags.

However, FIA again seemed to be in a total lack of awareness. A recovery vehicle was sent on the track to recover the Ferrari of Carlos Sainz. The cars were still on the track and most importantly passing the crane.

In 2014, the crane was on the gravel. However, this time it was on track creating an uproar in the F1 community.

Drivers were horrified and annoyed to see the crane at the Japanese GP

Pierre Gasly almost got into the back of the crane as he was trying to catch the pack ahead. The Frenchman had just come out of the pits and was shocked to see the crane.

The crane took Gasly by surprise as he was speeding as the race got red-flagged. Gasly was clearly furious on his radio:

“What is this tractor on track?”

Gasly screamed on his team radio.

“I passed next to it. This is unacceptable. Remember what happened. Can’t believe this! We don’t want to see ever, a crane on the track.”

Sergio Perez was with the pack but was similarly horrified after seeing the crane:

“Is it not clear that we don’t want to see ever a crane on the track?”

he said to race engineer Hugh Bird.

Aston Martin driver Sebastian Vettel also ranted on his radio:

“Next time, they should inform us if there’s a fricking tractor on the road,”

said the Aston Martin driver.

“I know we’re under Safety Car, but in turn 12, there’s this…”

“A tractor?”,

asked his race engineer Chris Cronin.

“Yeah, exactly,”

Vettel answered.

Overall, this incident is totally not acceptable, and FIA must investigate this issue thoroughly. Even behind the safety car drivers easily go at around 100kph.

In those conditions, what if a driver might have lost control and gone straight into the back of the crane, the results might have been horrific. Moreover, the rain only made visibility poor and Gasly avoided the incident literally in a nick of time.

FIA needs to ensure the safety of drivers and learn from past mistakes.

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