Ferrari urge safety car clarification; ‘It’s the luck of the draw’ says other teams
Sunday’s European Grand Prix in Valencia witnessed an outpouring of frustration from Ferrari.
The Italian manufacturer was left angered by Sunday’s race stewards, believing that they had taken too long to penalise Lewis Hamilton for overtaking the safety car while it exited the pitlane.
Although Hamilton was given a drive-thru for the offence, Ferrari was angered that the McLaren driver had been allowed to build up an on-track time advantage before any decision had been made – leading to Fernando Alonso, whose afternoon was compromised by the safety car period, to claim that the race had been ‘manipulated’.
Subsequently, Ferrari has called for the safety car rules to be clarified, to ensure that there would be no repeat of yesterday’s controversy = a move which has been criticised by a number of other teams.
“I think since we started changing the safety car rules, every time you change something you get all these scenarios thrown up, and I think it is just that.” Lotus technical chief Mike Gascoyne is quoted as saying by PlanetF1.com
“Charlie (Whiting, FIA race director) is trying to do the job as he sees it, calls it as he sees it, and he has as difficult a job as everyone. I think it is just one of those things.”
Gascoyne’s opinion is echoed by Red Bull team principal Christian Horner, who believes that none of the teams purposely gained an advantage from Sunday’s safety car period.
“I think the Safety Car rules have not played out for Ferrari, and McLaren was perhaps a bit naughty with the way it worked it, but it got a penalty for that.
“Arguably it didn’t cost them, but that’s just the way it worked out. I don’t think it was manipulated.”
He added: “The FIA just need to look at the Safety Car rules in the future.”
Despite this, Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali believes that the team are right to complain.
“We need to be careful by avoiding to take a counter-constructive attitude and complaining just for the sake of it, because it’s useless,” Domenical is quoted as saying by Autosport.
“We need to be very calm at these times, but we can’t pretend nothing has happened. However, I repeat, rationality must prevail over emotions, which are very strong.”
“I think what needs to be done is evaluating the sanction by keeping in mind the time of the decision and the way the race is developing. These are important issues.
“Looking back during the post-race analysis, it’s clear that you are advantaged by not following the rules because at the end of day you gained more points. This is not alright from the point of view of the principle of the sporting regulation, and we need to work on it.
“I think we need to believe in the principles: it worked this way today, let’s hope it’s different next time.”
Meanwhile, Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo believes that the events of the European Grand Prix may have a negative impact on the future of Formula One.
“The result of yesterday’s race was misrepresentative,” he said on Monday on Ferrari’s website. “Ferrari, which showed itself to be competitive in the European Grand Prix, paid a price that was too high for respecting the rules.
“Meanwhile those who didn’t follow the rules were penalised by the race officials in a way that was less severe than the damage suffered by those who did respect them.
“That is a very serious and unacceptable event that creates dangerous precedents, throwing a shadow over the credibility of Formula 1.
“We are sure that the FIA will fully analyse what happened, taking the consequent necessary decisions. Ferrari will watch this with interest.”
So how do you view the events of the European Grand Prix? Are Ferrari right to be angered? Should the Safety Car rules be changed? – Share your views by leaving a comment.