Martin Brundle hits out at FIA over Suzuka recovery truck storm

Jon Wilde
Martin Brundle taking part in Sky Sports F1's coverage. Abu Dhabi 2021

Martin Brundle believes joint responsibility should be apportioned for the recovery-vehicle furore at the start of the Japanese Grand Prix.

Carlos Sainz’s crash into the barrier during the opening lap on a wet Suzuka track was among a host of incidents as a standing start took place with the whole field on intermediate tyres.

Debris from the Ferrari flew onto the circuit along with a piece from an advertising board that became lodged on the front of Gasly’s AlphaTauri car.

But along with that issue for Gasly there was another more serious concern – in that, playing catch-up with the field having started from the pit lane, he arrived at the scene of Sainz’s accident to see a tractor already deployed to retrieve the wreckage.

Thoughts inevitably sprang to mind of the 2014 Japanese Grand Prix in which Jules Bianchi’s car struck a recovery vehicle and the driver tragically died from his injuries nine months later.

Regarding the latest incident, the FIA issued a statement summoning Gasly to a hearing over an alleged breach of the rules following the completion of the race, which was red-flagged within moments of the Sainz incident.

The governing body clearly felt the Frenchman had been driving too fast, saying he had “reached speeds of up to 250kmh when completing the lap under the red flag after passing the scene of the incident”.

However, Sky F1 broadcaster Brundle, who is not present at Suzuka this weekend, tweeted that the FIA should also carry some of the blame.

“Should have been an instant red flag with a stricken car in a critical position in those conditions,” said the 63-year-old veteran of 158 grand prix starts.

“Clearly debris on track too. Should NEVER EVER be a tractor on track until the cars are all collected up behind a Safety Car or in the pits. Gasly can’t take all the blame here.”

Sainz had started the race third on the grid behind Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc, but lost a position to Sergio Perez in the early stages and was running fourth when he aquaplaned off the circuit.

Sebastian Vettel and Zhou Guanyu were other drivers to lose out due to spins on the opening lap but remained in the race, unlike Alex Albon who suffered a suspected engine problem in his Williams and had to retire.

No further action was possible for over two hours until a resumption behind the Safety Car with 45 minutes remaining in the three-hour window within which the race had to be completed.

Read more: Jules Bianchi’s father posts on Instagram after recovery truck incident in Japan