‘How can you start the session with the safety truck on track?’ F1 stewards slammed for allowing qualifying session to restart during treacherous conditions while machinery removed beached car
- Formula One restarted second qualifying session despite truck being on track
- The truck was helping carry off Nicholas Latifi’s stricken Williams from the gravel
- Such incidents are usually done under a red flag, meaning a session is stopped
- However Q2 started with the car still being recovered under cautious yellow flag
- But similar scenario led to the death of Jules Bianchi after the 2014 Japanese GP
- Former F1 driver Marcus Ericsson who raced at Suzuka hit out at F1 stewards
F1 stewards were severely criticised during qualifying for the Turkish Grand Prix after restarting a session with a truck still recovering a car off circuit.
The first qualifying session at Istanbul had ended with the Williams of Nicholas Latifi spinning off the road into a gravel trap in the treacherous low grip conditions compounded by heavy rain. The spin required a crane to lift it off the circuit and out of harm’s way.
Similar incidents during qualifying usually result in a red flag to stop the session to allow a car to be safely recovered.
Formula One’s second qualifying session for the Turkish Grand Prix was allowed to start despite a crane still carrying off Nicholas Latifi’s Williams who had spun at the end of Q1
Latifi had been one of many drivers who struggled for grip during the first session in Istanbul
However the second qualifying session was quickly started while marshalls were still removing Latifi’s car, with the beginning of the running done under yellow flags which are used to warn drivers of dangers on the circuit.
Although there were no further incidents, it brought back tragic memories of a similar scenario from the 2014 Japanese Grand Prix when Jules Bianchi spun off under yellow flags in the wet at Suzuka before he collided with a crane recovering another car.
The promising French star was left in a coma before sadly never recovering having passed away a few months later from the head injuries suffered in the crash.
Former Formula One driver Marcus Ericsson drove for Caterham during the race that led to Binachi losing his life, and hit out at the sport for forgetting past lessons and needlessly risking injuries in Istanbul.
Cranes and trucks have in recent years been treated as extremely hazardous in F1 following the tragic death of Jules Bianchi as a result of the injuries he suffered in the 2014 Japanese GP
Bianchi slipped into a coma after spinning out and colliding with a truck under yellow flags
Veteran Alfa Romeo driver Kimi Raikkonen was left stunned by the restart at Istanbul
He posted on Twitter: ‘Please F1 how on earth can you start the session with the safety truck on track still!?!? Have we not learned from the past? I can’t believe it.’
Experienced driver Kimi Raikkonen was also left perplexed at the call to start the second session too early, asking his Alfa Romeo team over the radio: ‘Why did they start the session? I have no idea.’
Ericsson’s words had merit considering Latifi was one of many drivers who were struggling for grip during the rain-hit first qualifying session in Istanbul.
The worst conditions came 10 minutes in when drivers were struggling to even keep the cars on the road in a straight line, resulting in a red flag to allow the track to be cleared of the saturated water.
Conditions had proven treacherous in qualifying in the moments leading to Latifi’s spin
Haas driver Romain Grosjean was another who spun into the gravel on the low-grip circuit
Track conditions became so wet that road sweepers were used to clear the standing water
Romain Grosjean also spun off the road for Haas to put him in the gravel trap and many other drivers either ran wide off the circuit or spun during the low grip conditions.
Lance Stroll eventually took his first ever pole position ahead of Max Verstappen who had otherwise dominated the weekend.
Lewis Hamilton will start the race from down in sixth following his and Mercedes’ worst qualifying session of the year, but remains in good shape to match the record of Michael Schumacher’s seven world championships this weekend.
He only has to finish in front of team-mate Valtteri Bottas to retain the title, while the Finn must win to take the title battle on to the next race in Bahrain.
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