FIA issue response as Pierre Gasly fumes over recovery truck on track

Thomas Maher
AlphaTauri's Pierre Gasly on track during the Japanese Grand Prix. Suzuka, October 2022.

AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly was incensed to see a recovery tractor on track while cars were still circulating as the Safety Car was deployed.

Pierre Gasly furiously labelled the decision to deploy a recovery tractor on track as ‘unacceptable’, as the French driver encountered the vehicle near the racing line.

Gasly, who started from the pitlane after a rear wing change on his AlphaTauri, pitted at the end of the first lap after hitting debris after Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz crashed in the second sector.

Going past the scene on the second lap, with the Safety Car now deployed for the cars out front, Gasly was fortunate to avoid a recovery tractor that had emerged onto the circuit to recover Sainz’s car – the tractor only barely off Gasly’s chosen line through the fast right-hander.

Gasly could be seen furiously engaged in conversation with members of his team as the race was red-flagged due to the intense rainfall, while his radio messages back to the team while on track revealed the extent of his rage.

“What is this tractor?! What is this tractor on track?” he shouted.

“I passed next to it, this is unacceptable! Remember what has happened. I don’t believe this!”

Gasly was referring to the tragic circumstances of the 2014 Japanese Grand Prix, held in similarly wet conditions, when Marussia driver and then-personal friend Jules Bianchi suffered serious injuries after a collision with a recovery vehicle – the French driver succumbed to his injuries eight months later, having never regained consciousness.

Charles Leclerc, godson of Bianchi, also acknowledged the tractor appearing on circuit, saying: “Guys…what the f**k is this crane?”

Sebastian Vettel, who raced for Red Bull on that fateful day at Suzuka, took to the radio to say: “Next time, they should inform us if there’s a fricking tractor on the road.”

The FIA have since issued a statement regarding the incident, stating the race had been neutralised by the point Gasly reached that section of the circuit.

“In relation to the recovery of the incident on Lap 3, the Safety Car had been deployed and the race neutralised,” said the governing body.

“Car 10 [Gasly], which had collected damage and pitted behind the Safety Car, was then driving at high speed to catch up to the field.

“As conditions were deteriorating, the Red Flag was shown before [Gasly] passed the location of the incident where it had been damaged the previous lap.”

The FIA have since confirmed the incident will be investigated following the chequered flag, while Gasly has been summoned before the stewards for an alleged breach of the Sporting Regulations: Speeding under red flag conditions.

Chairman of the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association, Alex Wurz, reflected on the situation as he took to Twitter to say: “I think we need to discuss a tractor on track….. we can keep it short: this must NOT happen guys.”

This story will be updated.

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