Haas trio Guenther Steiner, Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean discuss how they can tackle red flag re-starts and if alternating tracks will serve well for F1 calendar.
The Mugello red flag re-start is still fresh in the minds of the F1 circus and heading into the Russian GP, it is likely to remain as that, which generated some diverse opinions. Re-igniting the talks are Haas trio of Steiner, Grosjean and Magnussen.
In the pre-Russian GP brief, they discuss about how they can tackle the red flag re-starts. In fact, Steiner suggested NASCAR-style module which may benefit the cause and limit incidents like how it was at Mugello with a multi-car pile-up.
“I think it’s just one of those things, the restart line was far down the straight at Mugello – and some people obviously took a chance and tried to have a run at it,” said Steiner. “I don’t think anybody did anything wrong, I fully agree with that one, it was just circumstances.
“Going forward, to avoid these things, I think we need to look at where to put the restart line and maybe also think about a restart zone. I’m not an expert in these things, but other series do it like that to avoid these things from happening. I think it’s worthwhile to look into it, but I’m sure it’ll come up on the agenda of the sporting working group.”
This could be further discussed between F1 teams as Steiner alluded too. Meanwhile, from the Haas drivers, Grsojean – who was pretty vocal on the radio – being a GPDA Director, is unsure how exactly this can be avoided, considering the different tracks they race.
“If you look from our onboard cameras, it looked like the whole field accelerated then slowed down,” said Grosjean. “That’s really what I felt at first. Then when you look from the outside cameras, obviously it’s much less clear as Valtteri kept a slow speed at the front.
“I think some tried to get the momentum, but then realized they were a bit too quick and had to slow down. Little-by-little, the whole field, by the time you were in P18, 19 or 20, it just became a long acceleration followed by big braking. I think that was a surprise for all of us. We couldn’t do much about it. I don’t know what to say to avoid this incident.
“Maybe, possibly, thinking of restarting the race at the safety car line – which is much earlier on the straight line and therefore we’re not having the risk of having the whole straight slower. I don’t know if that’s even going to work.”
Haas teammate Magnussen, who was a passenger in the incident, echoed Grosjean’s sentiments on how the crash happened and felt the re-start rule needed to be changed, but did not throw more onto what actually can be done.
Staying on the topic of Mugello, the Haas trio were pleased with how F1 embraced a new track, which only came into being few months before the event. Although, they know, it is a temporary solution but they feel alternating with other events, could help the calendar have new places, rather than the same for some venues, who have financial issues.
Germany used to do it with Nurburgring and Hockenheim but they stopped few years back. “I don’t know if it’s because it was new it was so exciting, or could it be exciting every year,” said Haas chief Steiner. “If you were to rotate them, there could be some of that newness every time we do it. I’m completely for that one.
“I like change, if you’re always doing the same thing, you always know the outcome of it – it’s much more predictable when you do more of the same. I think it would be great if we could rotate it, if it’s possible commercially, and that’s for Formula One to look into. Seeing what happened at Mugello, I’m now really looking forward to the Nürburgring, Portimao and Imola.”
This is an idea which Grosjean supported as well. “I think this year, with having a different calendar, it’s really brought the spotlight on some circuits,” he said. “My personal view is that there’s merit in swapping one year with the typical calendar, with one that’s more like this year, and back again. That way we wouldn’t have the same routine.”
And, Magnussen added: “I thought Mugello was great, I really enjoyed driving the track. Even though it was high speed, high downforce, and we all thought it would be very difficult to overtake, it actually was possible to overtake. We ended up seeing quite a few passes in the race.
“It wasn’t just in F3 and F2, but even in F1 where following the car ahead is even more difficult. I think Formula One would benefit from old school tracks like Mugello – more exceptional things can happen, the consequence of making a mistake – a driver mistake, is bigger and therefore more spectacular in the race.”
Here’s F1 2020 stats and information so far: https://formularapida.net/f1-key-statistics-and-information-from-2020-season-so-far/
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