FIA announces findings after Suzuka crane incident and rules out Eduardo Freitas

FIA announces findings after Suzuka crane incident and rules out Eduardo Freitas

It is almost at the end of his long text, first explaining the research carried out, then indicating the resolutions and measures taken, that the most important decision has slipped. After the incident at the Japanese Grand Prix, where a tow truck came out to pick up Carlos Sainz’s Ferrari when all the cars had not yet gathered behind the safety car, race director Eduardo Freitas was dismissed by the FIA ​​for what remainder of season.

Therefore, the “rotary” steering stops and Niels Wittich will be the only one at the controls for the last races of the season. It is hard to imagine in such a context seeing the Portuguese, who also officiates at Endurance, return to Formula 1.

But this marginalization is not the only information to retain from this investigation carried out in ten days. The FIA ​​considers first of all that its procedures were indeed followed in connection with this incident, which in particular angered Pierre Gasly, who had passed this place at high speed while trying to catch up with the rest of the peloton (behind the safety car).

The Alpha Tauri driver had been forced to brake at the end of the previous lap, after recovering an advertising panel detached by Sainz from the nose of his car. But the panel concludes that, given the changing conditions, it would have been more prudent to delay the deployment of the crane, giving reason to the many pilots who had expressed their incomprehension at seeing such a machine in this place, even more so on the circuit. where the accident that had claimed the life of Jules Bianchi in similar circumstances had occurred in 2014.

Various measures will be taken, which will be explained in detail to the drivers and teams in Austin this weekend. First, the official FIA courier service will indicate to the teams if a tow vehicle is present at a location on the track, with the obligation for the teams to notify their drivers. Secondly, a system must be developed that monitors the status of all cars at all times, regardless of their position (either on the track or in the pits) under the safety car system (virtual or classic).

For this, a better repair of tasks will be implemented at the “Race Control” level, both on site and in the new remote entity created this year. Lastly, a new delta will be introduced (which tells the drivers what pace to follow under the safety car). It can be adapted in certain sectors depending on possible incidents. Between the lines, it appears that Freitas and his crew had, among other mistakes, lost sight of Gasly’s presence far behind the rest of the platoon when validating the departure of the crane and the marshals to take charge of the car. of Sainz.

Other aspects are also studied, such as the level of performance of the rain tires (full wet), whose usefulness sometimes seems questionable given that it is almost impossible to start a race (especially due to visibility) when the conditions demand it. Suzuka’s drain is also flagged and will need to be checked.

Finally, the way in which the article that governs the distribution of points when a race is shortened will be modified. The goal will be to avoid the confusion that gripped the paddock and spectators at the end of the Japanese Grand Prix, where less than 75% of the distance had been covered but all the points were awarded, thus crowning Max Verstappen for the second time. This was the case because the event had been stopped by the 3 hour clock which starts at the time of the first start while the cars were still on the track. Only part of the points would have been given if the race had been interrupted at that time.

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