FIA launch ‘thorough review’ after scary recovery truck incident at Suzuka

Henry Valantine
Japanese Grand Prix red flag. Suzuka October 2022.

Marshals at the Japanese Grand Prix wave the red flag as the race is suspended. Suzuka October 2022.

The FIA has announced it will be conducting a “thorough review” of the way Carlos Sainz’s car was cleared off track in the Japanese Grand Prix, after widespread fury from the drivers and teams.

Sainz aquaplaned into the barrier on the exit of Turn 10 on the first lap in wet conditions at Suzuka, prompting the Safety Car to be deployed.

The remaining cars filed past the scene of the accident before the race was halted fully through a combination of multiple first-lap incidents and heavy rain in Japan on Sunday.

Several drivers including Charles Leclerc, Lando Norris and Sergio Perez voiced their anger at seeing a recovery vehicle on the edge of the track in conditions where drivers could hardly see anyway, but Pierre Gasly was the most vocal of all at the time, with good reason.

He was looking to make his way back to the back of the pack after pitting to remove a chunk of loose advertising hoarding that came on track after Sainz crashed, but he went around the corner unsighted without knowledge that the recovery vehicle was on track, with a furious response coming from the AlphaTauri driver – worrying that if he had been two metres to the left of where he was, he would have died from a collision.

This incident was particularly pertinent as it brought back tragic memories from the 2014 edition of the Japanese Grand Prix, when Jules Bianchi collided with a recovery vehicle under Safety Car conditions on a wet surface at Suzuka, with drivers immediately drawing parallels after seeing marshals recovering Sainz’s car while the field was still on track.

As a result, the sport’s governing body will be taking a further look into what happened surrounding the incident.

The statement from the FIA said: “While it is normal practice to recover cars under Safety Car and Red Flag conditions, due to the particular circumstances and also taking into account feedback from of a number of drivers, the FIA has launched a thorough review of the events involving the deployment of recovery vehicles during the Japanese Grand Prix.

“This is part of the common practice of debrief & analysis of all race incidents to ensure continual improvements of processes and procedures.”

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