F1 team bosses and drivers discuss the ending of Italian GP at Monza under safety car conditions rather than race being red-flagged for better end.

While Max Verstappen took his fifth consecutive victory at Monza in F1 Italian GP, but there are those who the Safety Car at the end ruined what might have been a titanic showdown between the Dutchman and Charles Leclerc.

If anything, the fans were denied what could have been a fantastic finish and may go some way to account for the booing when the WDC was on the podium. The safety car period to recover the car of Daniel Ricciardo may have been deemed a bit of overkill, but the FIA defended its stance.

“While every effort was made to recover Car #3 quickly and resume racing, the situation developed and marshals were unable to put the car into neutral and push it into the escape road,” said the FIA then. “As the safety of the recovery operation is our only priority and the incident was not significant enough to require a red flag, the race ended under safety car following the procedures agreed between the FIA and all Competitors. The timing of the safety car period within a race has no bearing on this procedure.”

Selected F1 team bosses and drivers had mixed opinions on the matter as usual, where some felt the race should have been red-flagged while others thought due process was followed, as the 2021 Abu Dhabi GP topic was re-visted.

Safety car shenanigans and issues around it –

Horner: “Personally I was disappointed, felt like the safety car picked up the wrong car. And then that delayed things further for what looks like a reasonably trivial incident. The car wasn’t in the barrier or anything like that. And the principles of what we’ve always discussed is nobody wants to see a race finish under a safety car like that. And it felt like there was enough time to get the race going again. And despite there being a risk with it all being bunched back up we would have preferred to win the race under racing conditions, than, obviously, under a virtual safety car and you could hear the displeasure of the crowd at the end there because it just felt everybody had been robbed of that.”

Wolff: “There are rules. These rules have been followed to the dot. There was a car on the track and there was a crane out there. This is why they did not let anyone overtake. There was not enough time to do differently. If anyone wants to have two laps of racing… honestly they followed the rules to the dot. What happened in Monaco few years back, the track was blocked at the moment. You red flag a race because something has happened and you cannot go through. Not because you want to have a nice end of a race.”

Safety car rules and procedures to be looked at –

Horner: “I think that one could have been sorted out in the time, to be honest with you. I think it was a case of picking up the wrong car. The safety car didn’t pick up a leader and then that caused a huge delay for them to have to catch up and then the released cars to catch up. And I think you could have at least got one racing lap in there. Most probably two.”

Binotto: “No, I don’t think it’s a matter of changing the rules. The rules have been discussed, largely, especially after Abu Dhabi last year, they were discussed with FIA, F1 and the teams and we came to a conclusion that the current format is probably the right one to keep. So I don’t think it’s a matter of regulations today. I am certainly disappointed for how long it took them to decide and I think we are not understanding why it took so long to release the cars between the safety car and the leader. And I don’t think the safety could be the right reason for it. Because when you are released, as as driver, you cannot go simply flat out around the track, because there is a minimum lap time, which is set in the regulations.

“And this minimum lap time is there to make sure that whenever they are running and driving, they’re doing it safely. So what we do not understand is on the current regulations that we believe are right, why it took so long for them to decide. And they simply need to do a better job because the F1, the show, and it’s not Ferrari and tifosi because if the safety car would have ended before, how would have finished the race? I don’t know. Max still was the fastest car and he was on new tyres. But generally speaking, I think we should try to end the safety car as soon as possible and give more track time, race time to all the drivers. So the disappointment of today was to see how long it took them to decide. And we believe that in that respect, they didn’t do a good job today. And they need to do a better job in the future because that is not good for the F1.”

Wolff: “What happened at Monza, if in the regulations book. I would have liked a different end for good TV but it is not in the book. Five or ten laps to the end you have a safety car that is red flagged. If it in the rules good.”

Seidl: “After what happened last year in Abu Dhabi, there were a lot of discussions between FIA, Formula 1 and all the teams involved in order to see how the rules could be modified in order to make sure that races never end under a Safety Car. But despite FIA and Formula 1 really pushing us all to find solutions, it was down to us as the teams, and pretty much to all teams not agreeing to any change because we couldn’t agree on any better solution, which is then also still a fair solution in terms of the sporting outcome.

“That’s why, I guess, we simply have to accept that, unfortunately, situations like Monza can happen. We only want a solution that’s also fair on the sporting side and not suddenly ending up in jeopardy. And that’s why we couldn’t agree on anything better than what we have in place. In the end, we voted that the regulations should stay as they have been. As far as I remember every single team voted like that. And therefore, I think let’s close the subject”.

Safety Car deployed because of Ricciardo’s car being stuck, accept it –

Binotto: “I accept it. I understand it. So, it may have been complicated, but still in parallel I think we could have with the safety car done a better job in order to prepare the entire train of cars to be ready for a new start of the race. And that didn’t happen. Simply that was wrong and could have been done better; without changing the regulations and because the regulations are in place, it’s only a matter of applying them in a better way.  There are rules. These rules have been followed to the dot. There was a car on the track and there was a crane out here.  This is why they did not let anyone overtake. There was not enough time to do differently. If anyone wants to have two laps of racing… honestly they followed the rules to the dot.”

Sprint race at the end with red flag or how it ended was well –

Verstappen: “Yeah – but from what I understood, was that the car was stuck in gear and that’s why it took so long . Because, of course, when the car’s parked there, there is no gap where you can push the car into, compared to some other places. And that’s why the crane had to come. And that’s why I guess they just run out of time. So, I guess it was very unfortunate. Normally, I think everyone wants to finish under green flag. But yeah, unfortunately, we were just short of laps. But I mean, I had a new Soft as well so I was not too worried. I mean, even if it was one lap shootout.”

Leclerc: “Yeah, obviously I really wanted for this race to start again. But yeah, I mean, from the car, I didn’t understand because the last time we passed through, the track was clean. So, I really thought that we will restart again. But it didn’t happen. So maybe there are things in the background that I didn’t know that didn’t make the restart possible.”

Russell: “It’s just racing, I think. It’s obviously not always easy when the car stops in an awkward place. We always want to end a race under green flag but you know, what can you do? It’s just how the game goes. And I don’t know what the race picture looked like but I don’t think it would have changed the result, either way. What is clear though, is these one-stop races, minimal tyre deg, they don’t seem to offer that much of an exciting race – but I don’t know, I haven’t obviously seen what the race was like behind us”.

Ricciardo: “I just found out when I got back to the scales that the race ended like that. I’m not sure. I need to watch it, but I mean normally a red flag you see when there’s an accident. Obviously there was just – I pulled my car to the side of the road, so I think if they put a red flag out immediately, everyone would think that’s strange. I understand the marshals had a tough time moving the car, so maybe then – obviously if they saw… In that situation normally, it doesn’t take long to pull a car to a safe spot so let me see if they could have done something. But I think because as I said it was switched off and stuck in gear, maybe that was part of the problem. It’s a shame, I was I was in the race, I wasn’t at the end, but you want to finish if you can under green flag racing but if that was the safest thing to do then sometimes this is the way it goes.”

Here’s Sergio Perez, Christian Horner on Monza

Here’s George Russell, Lewis Hamilton on Monza

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Here’s Max Verstappen, Christian Horner on Italian GP