Brundle reveals ‘heated arguments’ in Race Control

Jamie Woodhouse
Red Bull's Sergio Perez on track during the Monaco Grand Prix. Monte Carlo, May 2022. Results

Red Bull's Sergio Perez on track during the Monaco Grand Prix. Monte Carlo, May 2022.

F1 pundit Martin Brundle heard that squabbles going on at Race Control explained the delays and lack of updates on race day in Monaco.

Rain fell prior to lights out in Monaco, this resulting in the start of the race behind delayed, a strange call considering that the intermediate tyres would have been able to cope with the water out on track.

The race then began behind the Safety Car, but after a couple of laps a torrential downpour descended on the Principality, forcing the cars back into the pits for what became a delay of around 45 minutes.

Originally, the FIA said the delayed start was due to safety concerns, with no wet running having taken place that weekend, while the radar showed that downpour coming in.

It was later revealed though that the rain had led to power problems, explaining the delays and lack of standing restarts.

It is, though, common for the Safety Car to head out and assess the track as Race Control plots out the right time to go racing, though Bernd Maylander was only called into action during this period to lead the cars around at the start and restart.

And according to some “reliable sources”, Brundle explained that upheaval in the Race Control room caused the uncertainty.

The Mercedes Safety Car leads the field at the Monaco Grand Prix. Monte Carlo, May 2022.

“Holding up a race in anticipation of incoming weather is not necessary,” Brundle wrote in his Sky Sports F1 column.

“We have virtual and real safety cars, red flags, pit stop crews who can change tyres in two seconds, and two types of wet weather tyres to cover those challenges. That’s what Formula One racing is all about.

“A couple of reliable sources tell me that there were heated arguments in Race Control during the impasse as we all looked on unsure of what was happening.

“This presumably explains the periods of inaction and lack of information, and the reason why the Safety Car was not out exploring track conditions as usual.”


2022 saw a restructuring of Race Control, with Niels Wittich and Eduardo Freitas sharing the race director role, supported by Herbie Blash and a Virtual Race Control. Freitas was on duty in Monaco.

Brundle though believes that further changes must be made in the form of assigning specific responsibilities to people in Race Control.

“The FIA, for the well-being of F1, urgently needs a root and branch change with a fully dedicated and empowered Race Director with at least one understudy, a dedicated circuit and systems inspector, plus an empowered and effective communications department,” Brundle suggested.

“I consider this a highest priority issue.

“We were informed by the FIA at 20.03 after the race on Sunday that there were power issues on the starting gantry due to the heavy rain which explains the rolling starts after the red flags.

“If we had been told this in the media via our simple and effective WhatsApp group, we could have then informed the tens of millions of viewers around the globe and the tens of thousands of fans trackside, and it would all have made a lot more sense.”