EA dangerously placed recovery crane at the side of the track caused a lot of trouble among Formula 1 drivers in Japan and triggered a new safety debate. “It was the worst thing I’ve seen in years. I hope that was the last time and never happens again in any racing series,” said the enraged Mexican Sergio Perez.
The Red Bull driver spoke from the heart of most pilots after Frenchman Pierre Gasly narrowly missed the tow truck and then got angry. However, the 26-year-old was illegally driving much too fast himself.
Crane reminds of Bianchi accident
“What is this tractor doing on the track?” the Alpha Tauri driver yelled to his team over the pit radio on Sunday: “I drove right past it. That is unacceptable. Remember what happened. I can’t believe it.” He later cursed that he was able to kill himself in this situation and ran angrily through the paddock.
Gasly recalled October 5, 2014. Eight years ago, his good friend Jules Bianchi crashed under a tow truck in a horrific accident in the rain at Suzuka. He had sustained severe head injuries, and Bianchi died as a result the following summer, 2015. It was the last fatality in Formula 1.
“I don’t know if there’s much more to say about that,” said former world champion Sebastian Vettel: “We had a very tragic accident here eight years ago. Jules lost his life and I don’t know how something like that can happen.”
It is simply not possible for a service vehicle to go onto the track when there are still cars on the road. It doesn’t matter what speed they’re going at. “It can’t be, we were just lucky today,” said the 35-year-old Vettel from Aston Martin.
After the start of the Grand Prix, the incident involving Gasly and the recovery crane occurred on the second lap. However, the race had already been red-flagged at this point. However, Gasly still wanted to catch up with the field and, after a pit stop, drove at a significantly excessive speed at this point.
The world association initiated an investigation and subsequently gave Gasly two penalty points and a 20-second penalty because he had even driven 251 kilometers per hour on the wet track despite the red flag at one point.
The Frenchman should have acted extremely carefully, also because he knew that there had been an accident at this point a lap earlier. He should have realized that there was at least a chance that recovery vehicles or people were on the course. However, despite his mistake, his colleagues shared Gasly’s anger. “We’re going to have to talk about why that crane was on the line,” Williams driver Alexander Albon said on Sky.
The world automobile association Fia announced a “thorough review of the events” in connection with the use of the recovery vehicle. “This is part of the usual debriefing and analysis of all race incidents to ensure continuous improvement of processes and procedures,” it said in a statement.