Formula 1 Race Director Michael Masi says the FIA had no choice but to bring the Formula 2 Sprint Race to a premature end due to extensive barrier damage following a collision between Luca Ghiotto and Jack Aitken.
Both drivers emerged from the crash unscathed after making contact around the long, left-hand Turn 3 corner at the Sochi Autodrom.
The race was subsequently called off and half points were handed out, with China’s Guanyu Zhou taking his first race win in the series.
Masi, who visited the scene of the accident before the race was called off under the guidance of F2 race director Silvia Bellot, says racing after the barrier repairs would’ve eaten into the F1 schedule.
“I think it’s unfortunate but at the end of the day we have a timetable to adhere to, for starters,” Masi said.
“And secondly the degree of that incident and the repair that needed to take place – I think in the end took in the vicinity of 90 minutes to do that repair.
“So I think that while yes what happened was unfortunate that the FIA Formula 2 Championship didn’t get to complete its race, it does happen occasionally.”
Ghiotto’s car quickly caught fire as both cars slipped under the Tecpro barrier, raising concerns that he would’ve been stuck among the flames if he was too injured to pull himself from the car.
Masi says the marshals were dealt a challenge in quickly getting to the scene due to the distance between the nearest post and the accident.
“Probably they got there relatively quickly, the challenge was it was quite a distanced between two marshals posts where the incident occurred,” Masi said.
“The firemen from the marshal posts both on the side of the incident, I wouldn’t want to be running with a fire extinguisher for 150 odd metres or whatever.
“As soon as the race was suspended and all of the competition cars had gone past we also saw marshals from the opposite side of the track cross.
“In the circumstances, yes seeing a fire is never good, the positive part was both drivers thankfully got our unscathed which is the most important element of all.”