A potentially dangerous situation arose at Formula 1’s Emilia Romagna Grand Prix when several lapped drivers encountered marshals still working on-track.
The Safety Car was called when Max Verstappen’s Red Bull suffered a tyre failure on the run to Villeneuve and became beached in the gravel trap.
Under the Safety Car Williams’ George Russell lost control of his FW43 on the approach to Acque Minerale.
After a few laps those who had been a lap down were given the signal to overtake and did so in a bid to return to the train prior to the restart, as per the usual protocol.
However a group of four marshals were still working at the area where Russell had crashed, with one on the track sweeping away debris.
Kimi Raikkonen was first to encounter the scene and backed off, which prompted close pursuers Antonio Giovinazzi, Nicholas Latifi and Romain Grosjean to do likewise.
Sebastian Vettel and Lance Stroll, following at separate intervals, approached the scene at speed, with Stroll in particular passing close by at considerable speed.
The situation came 18 months after Sergio Perez came close to striking two marshals when he exited the pit lane at the 2019 Monaco Grand Prix.
“Okay it’s a bit dangerous to leave marshals on,” radioed Grosjean to Haas.
Vettel informed Ferrari that: “Tell them to watch out the marshals are on the track. It’s very, very dangerous. Tell the marshals to get out, get out of the track.”
Neither Vettel nor Stroll were informed about the marshals by their respective race engineers.
It is understood that the complaints raised by drivers were not passed on to Race Control by their respective teams.
However all of the drivers had already passed through the scene at a reduced speed the previous lap, behind the Safety Car, when marshals were in the region.
Article 39.12 of Formula 1’s Sporting Regulations states that once drivers are approved to unlap themselves they “should then proceed around the track at an appropriate speed, without overtaking, and make every effort to take up position at the back of the line.”
Double waved yellow flags were still being shown both trackside and on the lighting panels that are outlined in the pre-event briefing.
As per the regulations no rule was broken by any driver and as a consequence there were no investigations.
The situation, which was flagged up on the Reddit platform, only came to light after FIA Race Director Michael Masi’s usual post-race briefing with the media.