F1 drivers like Sebastian Vettel, Romain Grosjean and more unalpping themselves were caught off-guard with marshals on track while them going at full speed in Emilia Romagna GP.
It is standard procedure; the practice of the safety car waving through lapped competitors to allow them to find the rear of the field and subsequently line up in orderly fashion. Yet, at the F1 Emilia Romagna GP on Sunday, this mundane activity went almost awry.
Where the FIA would typically wait until the track was cleared of both debris and marshals to release those lapped runners, lapped cars were waved through long before marshals had left the track, some barreling through the populated area at high speed and risking the safety of those tending to the F1 track.
Though not shown during the race on the world feed, footage of the incident spread online after the event – thanks to F1 TV – and the images of cars navigating the area at high speed, with marshals nearby, disturbed some.
The incident took place at the crash site of Williams’ George Russell, which happened moments after Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen had crashed out. The video sequence from several F1 drivers unlapping themselves portrayed a dangerous moment as the likes of Sebastian Vettel and Romain Grosjean radioed the dangerous situation.
The first car to arrive on the scene was Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen, who had previously asked his engineer about whether or not he was permitted to unlap himself. “Can I go past?” the Finn inquired, to which his engineer replied, “I don’t have the message yet.”
After this, he was waved through by the safety car, and though he never received confirmation from his engineer on the matter, he carried on in reaction to the gesture from the safety car. He would approach the complex wherein the marshals were clearing the track of its debris, but as he appeared to notice the double-waved yellow flags, he slowed, and took turns 10 and 11 cautiously – where experience came in handy.
Behind Raikkonen, his teammate Antonio Giovinazzi slowed in reaction to the Finn, and took the complex at a similar clip. Haas’ Grosjean was the third to go through, the Frenchman having been notified of the double-waved yellow before arriving on the scene.
“It’s still a double yellow in 10-11. There’s still debris,” Grosjean’s engineer warned him. After he passed the marshals, the 34 year-old came on his radio and said, “Ok but it’s still dangerous to have the marshals on [the track].”
Ferrari’s Vettel was next and went unwarned of the marshals. The German took turns 10 and 11 at normal speed as he was trying to catch the back of Grosjean, but was startled by their presence, he remarked, “Tell them to watch out – marshals are still on the track.”
The most troubling onboard of those shared showed Racing Point’s Lance Stroll taking the corners at particularly high speed. The Canadian did not share anything with his team on the radio on the matter, despite his proximity to the marshals. None of the F1 drivers spoke about the matter after the race, which seemed quite dangerous.
Here’s news about part of front wing of Sebastian Vettel stuck with Valtteri Bottas
Here’s how the F1 Emilia Romagna GP panned out
[Note: Due to FOM restrictions, we cannot share videos and neither can we use screenshot from videos to showcase the close proximity. The F1 TV viewers can re-watch the sequence anytime they wish to]