Mugello restart crash prompts GPDA letter to FIA

The Grand Prix Drivers’ Association has written to Formula 1 race director Michael Masi asking how to improve safety car restarts after the crash in the Tuscan GP.

The subject is set to be discussed in Friday’s drivers’ briefing in Sochi, and in the GPDA meeting that will follow on from it.

GPDA director Romain Grosjean said he and fellow director Sebastian Vettel talked through the accident with the organisation’s president Alex Wurz and legal representative Anastasia Fowle before contacting Masi.

Grosjean himself only just managed to avoid the cars ahead and escape the Mugello accident, which saw four cars retire.

“We’ve had a few discussions with Seb, Alex and Anastasia on the GPDA WhatsApp group,” said Grosjean. “And we wrote a letter to Michael Masi and tried to find out what we can do better.

“I don’t think there was anything standing out in Mugello in terms of restarts. It was a lot of small things that led to a big crash at the end, but maybe a few tweaks in some of the rules could possibly help.

“And that’s what we want to discuss, to avoid such a scary moment. And I guess we were kind of lucky with everything, that we didn’t end up with someone being hurt, because it was quite a high-speed crash, and also a car flying into the fence could have been a bit naughty.”

Grosjean’s Haas teammate Kevin Magnussen, one of the four drivers eliminated in the crash, has also called for a look at safety aspects of restarts.

“I was reacting to the car in front of me,” said the Dane. “The car in front of me was reacting to the guy in front of him, and all the way down, everyone is trying to react. At the end of it, someone gets caught out and can’t react, so that causes the accident.

“I think it would be good to look at how we do those restarts so we can avoid accelerating and then braking again, making sure that once we accelerate, that it’s for good. I don’t know what the solution would be, but certainly worth looking into if we can make it safer.”

McLaren’s Carlos Sainz, another of the drivers eliminated in the accident wants to hear the views of his fellow drivers – and stressed that the discussion should be kept private.

“I think we need to take some lessons and learn from it,” said the Spaniard. “I think we as drivers didn’t make our lives easy by some people second guessing the start, and making it very complicated for the people at the back. And we’re definitely going to discuss that tomorrow [Friday].

“I think we need to analyse together with the FIA what we can do better because the crash was huge. And it could have been a lot worse, I think, especially when I look back.

“So how are we going to avoid that in the future needs to be discussed privately, but I definitely think we need to have a proper look all together, have all our thoughts, brainstorm a bit of how can we try and avoid it next time.

“I personally want to wait for the drivers briefing to hear everyone’s opinion and to analyse what some drivers have to say and why they left those big gaps. And why the safety car lights were late out and all those things.

“I want to hear everyone’s opinion before taking some conclusions, and before forming a bit of a group and discussions to potentially make things better next time.

“I think we just need to sit down clearly, discuss, have everyone’s opinion, and see what we can do better. But I don’t think it’s right either to criticise drivers or criticise the FIA publicly, I feel like it should be discussed internally always.”


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