Formula 1 | FIA caution, a wise lesson from the Norris crash?

The Saturday lesson was used for Sunday: this is how we could sum up the safety management of the FIA ​​during this Grand Prix weekend at Spa.

On Saturday in qualifying, Michael Masi, the race director of the FIA, decided to start Q3 despite the rain and repeated warnings, in particular from Sebastian Vettel. When Lando Norris then crashed heavily at the Raidillon, the Aston Martin F1 driver was very angry (« Damn it, I said so »); then Vettel repeated that Masi should not « Not to be proud » of its management.

The next day for the race, the FIA ​​took no risk: faced with the conditions, whether at 3 or 6 p.m., the green flag was not raised.

Was Masi influenced by the criticized management of Saturday? Did he fear a « Norris bis » and another controversy?

In any case, he acknowledges having taken into account the return of the pilots (in qualifying) for the management of Sunday …

“Based on what they told me, and after experiencing the conditions of this circuit, and everything in between, we probably wouldn’t have started anyway. « 

“But it’s also an advantage to have this perspective, listening to those who have driven on this circuit in these conditions. Because each circuit is a little different in the way the water comes in, and the way the tire reacts. « 

“Qualifying gave the driver a good benchmark, gave me incredible feedback on what can and cannot happen which obviously helped my process for the race. « 

“Everyone I spoke to or ran into was very willing to tell me what we can and cannot do, which has helped me a lot. « 

This is an opportunity for the man from the FIA ​​to reaffirm that he co-manages race weekends, in particular by listening to the drivers.

“We’ve always done it like this. It’s up to the pilots to give us feedback by radio, and we did it at Hockenheim 2019, we did it for Turkey 2020, everywhere. « 

“It’s real time feedback from them at that point on what they can and can’t handle depending on the track. « 

Norris and Vettel support the FIA

There was no choice for the race anyway: as Lando Norris points out, visibility was almost zero on the track on Sunday.

“If you’re not in first place you’re going to have a big crash because you can’t see where you’re going. « 

“A lot of people don’t understand how bad things are for the pilot when they see on-board cameras, with all the water hitting your screen and the amount of sprays you get. Those flashing lights that’s supposed to be so bright and stuff, you can’t see them unless you’re five or ten yards from the car, and if a driver starts to go slow, turn, or crash, you won’t. not know it’s there until you hit it. You don’t have a chance to drive like this. « 

Quite logically, Sebastian Vettel also fully supported the choice not to start the 20 F1s at 280 km / h in the Raidillon …

« It was actually wetter the second time around [à 18 heures]. Our priority is always to be safe. We don’t want anyone to be injured, neither in the car, nor among the spectators. It is always the number one priority. « 

“It’s probably not a popular decision but it was the right decision under the conditions we had. « 

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