FIA Formula 1 race director Michael Masi says Sunday’s multi-car pile-up during the Tuscan Grand Prix won’t lead to a review of the rules regarding safety car restarts.
Following a safety car period for an opening-lap crash involving Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Italian Grand Prix winner Pierre Gasly, four drivers were eliminated in a collision on the pitstraight as the race resumed.
A post-race investigation into the incident – that saw Antonio Giovinazzi, Carlos Sainz, Kevin Magnussen and Nicholas Latifi all retire – led to 12 drivers being given a formal warning.
The stewards noted “that the root cause of this incident was the inconsistent application of throttle and brake, from the final corner along the pit straight, by the above drivers”.
Race leader Valtteri Bottas was cleared of any wrongdoing, as the rules state he is allowed to dictate the pace and choose when to accelerate.
Before an official verdict was made, Masi was clear drivers were advised “very clearly” on the rules during Friday’s drivers’ briefing.
“Well, it’s still part of an ongoing stewards’ investigation so I’m probably not going to go into a blame part,” Masi said, as quoted by Motorsport.com.
“But at the end of the day, there’s probably some key points to take out of it [and] the drivers were all advised very clearly at the drivers’ meeting on Friday night. There were two key parts to remind them.
“One was to ensure that they don’t overtake the safety car before the safety car line at pit entry. The second part was, which is unusual for this circuit, is that the control line where they can overtake is located close to the pit lane exit.
“So it’s not a surprise, and we’ve seen similar matters in Baku, with such a long run, let’s call it, to the control line where the leader who has every right to dictate the pace has kept it quite slow to try and avoid a slipstream from the cars behind.”
Asked if the incident would lead to a review of the restart procedures, Masi replied: “I don’t think there’s any need to review the safety car restart rule.”
The safety cars lights being switched out late was suggested as a likely cause of the accident by several drivers, but Masi denied this triggered the four car collision.
“Simply put, they can criticise all they want,” he said. “If we have a look at the distance perspective, from where the lights were extinguished to the control line, probably not dissimilar, if not longer, than a number of other venues.
“So, at the end of the day, the safety car lights go out where they do, the safety car is pitlane. We have the 20 best drivers in the world.
“And as we saw earlier today in the F3 race, those drivers in the junior category had a very, very similar restart to what was occurring in the F1 race, and navigated it quite well, without incident.”