Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto made his views clear that the FIA are not doing Formula 1 justice following the contentious ending of the Italian Grand Prix.
Despite starting the race in P7 due to a grid penalty, Red Bull’s Max Verstappen muscled his way into prime position to win at Monza, Ferrari putting Charles Leclerc on soft tyres for his final stint in the hope he could hunt down the Dutchman.
Leclerc was making slow progress but not enough, although the appearance of the Safety Car on lap 47 of 53 threatened to change that situation, triggered by Daniel Ricciardo who had brought his McLaren to a stop at the side of the track.
The front three – Verstappen, Leclerc and George Russell – all pitted, Russell a lap before the leading duo, with the Safety Car then picking up Russell.
As marshals struggled to push away Ricciardo’s stricken McLaren, the crane arrived to remove that obstacle – but the lap count ticked by until ultimately it became clear the race would finish behind the Safety Car, with Verstappen released to cross the line and take the chequered flag.
Leclerc was not happy. “Come on, it’s clear,” he vented over the team radio about the track when told of how the race would conclude.
Binotto felt the FIA had more than enough time to clear the cars between the Safety Car and leader, allowing for a grandstand finish. Shades of Abu Dhabi 2021?
After those events, Binotto said there had been “long talks” about how to make the handling of these kind of scenarios better, while a new structure was put in place afterwards as Michael Masi left the race director role, with the position now split between two race directors who alternate in the role.
Binotto claims the FIA do not have enough experience in their ranks, which meant they had failed Formula 1 at Monza.
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Asked by Sky Sports F1 if Ferrari could have done anything differently to stop Verstappen, Binotto replied: “Honestly, I don’t think. We tried whatever we could. Max had a fantastic race, he has been very fast today, once again less tyre degradation to us and I think he deserved the win at the end.
“A bit disappointed for the ending because I think we could have finished differently the race. Finishing behind the Safety Car is never great – not for us, or for F1, for the show.
“And I think there was plenty of time for the FIA to act differently today. The Safety Car came in front of George – they may have put it ahead of Max, but even if it was ahead of George I think there was no reason not to release the cars between the Safety Car and the leader, no?
“If they are simply waiting for safety, we know now there is a minimum lap time for cars who are released, so it’s fully safe to run on the track at that time. So, to wait so much, it’s simply wrong and it’s not great for the sport.
“After Abu Dhabi last year we had long discussions how to improve because the final objective, final aim, is try to restart the race as soon as you can in a safe manner.
“And I think today certainly it could have happened. The FIA changed a lot in that area, but still I think they need more experience and they need to do a better job because F1 deserves a better job in that respect.”