Sebastian Vettel says he has “zero tolerance” for a mistake made by FIA race director Michael Masi during qualifying for the Turkish Grand Prix, in which the second session started while a recovery crane was still in one of the departure areas.
The crane was recovering Nicholas Latifi’s Williams from a gravel trap at Turn 8 after a crash in wet conditions at the end of the first qualifying session.
Under normal circumstances, the second session would not start until all recovery vehicles are off the track, but Masi said that a confusion in communication between the Race Director and race control caused the session to start before the race. circuit was ready.
Double yellow flags were flown at the scene to warn drivers to slow down, but Vettel said such carelessness shouldn’t be possible in modern Formula One.
“I think we are all human, mistakes do happen, but this mistake has zero tolerance,” Vettel said. “So I think we are all aware and I hope and I am very sure that it will not happen again in the future. But for sure we will talk about this and reveal the reasons.”
The incident bore startling similarities to the run-up to Jules Bianchi’s crash at the 2014 Japanese Grand Prix, which left the French rider with severe head injuries that led to his death nine months later.
That incident occurred during the race when a recovery vehicle was dispatched with double yellow flags to lift Adrian Sutil’s Sauber off the gravel track only for Bianchi to lose control in wet conditions and crash into the crane.
Current Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc, who is Bianchi’s godson, said it was shocking to see a similar oversight recur in Turkey.
“Well, for the crane, obviously, I think we’ve all been a bit surprised to see that,” he said. “We will probably talk together at the next briefing to try to avoid this kind of situation.
“It is not necessary to say what happened in the past with these types of situations, I think it should not happen and we will make sure it does not happen again.”
It is the second incident in as many race weekends in which a race control error has caused a dangerous situation on the track.
At the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, drivers were allowed to unleash themselves behind the safety car while stewards were still clearing debris from the track.
The end result was a series of cars passing the quarterbacks at near-race speeds, while the correct procedure should get all the quarterbacks off the track before the cars unrolled behind the Safety Car.
Masi said both incidents are being investigated and said lessons will be learned.
“From the perspective of the FIA, we review every incident that takes place, be it minor, major, intermediate or otherwise at any point in a session or outside of a session and we continually learn from everything that happens,” he said in response. to a question about recent bugs. “From that point on, we will continue to learn and it is no different than a team learning from different elements over a weekend and in between.
“We are not at all different and as I have said many times, safety is our top priority and you learn everything every time a car goes out onto the pit lane and every time you look at something different.
Speaking specifically about the recovery crane in Turkey, Masi added: “It was quite close to the barrier opening and the crane was on its way. We were assured it would be fine and really clear and looking at everything, I was more than comfortable with the guarantees. premises on that basis.
“With the benefit of hindsight, I would do something different, but based on the information available at the time the call was made. Anyway, it was a double yellow flag, which is normal protocol when the cars are not running track, and that sector spread even more and it was a turn.