Valtteri Bottas reveals drivers had talked about marshals, vehicles on-track in Singapore

Jon Wilde
Carlos Sainz's Ferrari on a recovery truck. Suzuka October 2022.

Carlos Sainz's Ferrari on a recovery truck after Japanese Grand Prix crash. Suzuka October 2022.

Valtteri Bottas has concurred with fellow drivers that the safety aspect of recovering F1 cars from the track had been a recent discussion topic.

The issue was brought into focus at the Japanese Grand Prix, where Carlos Sainz crashed in the rain on the opening lap and a recovery truck was immediately deployed to scoop up the Ferrari which had rebounded off the barrier and back onto the circuit.

At that point, even though red flags had been waved, Pierre Gasly was still out on track as the last runner in the field and passed the recovery vehicle – triggering memories of the accident his compatriot Jules Bianchi had suffered at the same venue in 2014 and which ultimately led to his death.

After this year’s race at Suzuka, Alex Albon said Sebastian Vettel had raised the subject of recovery vehicles during the drivers’ briefing, sparked by what had happened on the Singapore Grand Prix’s street circuit a week earlier.

Bottas backed up what Albon had stated, referencing the Singapore incident in which Yuki Tsunoda had hit the barrier to bring out the Safety Car.

“I’m sure it will be a discussion for the next drivers’ meeting,” the Alfa Romeo driver, who finished 15th in Japan and continues to seek his first points since the Canadian Grand Prix, told reporters.

“But it definitely shouldn’t happen and I think we are lucky nothing more serious happened to anyone.

“The latest we have spoken about having people on track, or cranes or anything, was in Singapore.

“We were surprised how quickly some of the marshals went to aid Tsunoda. It was not yet VSC and there were people on the track and it was a similar thing here.”

After the Japanese Grand Prix, the FIA announced there would be a “thorough review” of what had happened – although they also hit Gasly with a 20-second time penalty and two penalty points for the excessive speed at which he had been driving when the red flags were being waved.

The FIA’s statement read: “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 have 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 and analysis of all race incidents to ensure continual improvements of processes and procedures.”

Read more – Pierre Gasly: Recovery truck incident ‘disrespectful’ to Jules Bianchi’s memory