Ferrari Team Principal Mattia Binotto says that due to the extremely wet conditions leading up to and during the Japanese Grand Prix, it would have been “safer” to start the race under the Safety Car.
Carlos Sainz crashed out on the opening lap at Turn 12 after aquaplaning off the circuit and into the barriers. Low visibility from the spray of standing water on the track was the root of his misfortune.
The race was red-flagged after a lap behind the Safety Car for Sainz’s incident. It was later resumed from a rolling start behind the Safety Car after a two-hour wait for the conditions to improve.
When asked for his thoughts on the standing start, Binotto stated: “Yeah, I think as first, should we have started the race standing start or should we have started behind the safety car at first?
“I think behind the safety car would have been certainly safer, and safety should have always been put in that first position.
“Why I’m saying that, because as soon as we started, a lot of drivers, obviously most of the drivers on intermediate tyres which were the fastest, but then very little grip, very little visibility.
“Maybe, by starting behind the safety car, it would give you at least a couple of laps to understand the situation, have the feedback from the drivers before deciding to go for it. I think at first that was a critical point.”
Binotto also spoke on the recovery vehicle incident in which a tractor crane and marshal were on track in low visibility conditions with F1 cars still driving.
The incident was met with anger from drivers, who were frustrated over the dangerous situation on top of the already extreme conditions.
“The second, certainly the crane, having the crane on-track while the cars are running, we said that, very dangerous,” Binotto said.
“It should not happen. So overall, I think it has been a bad situation that again, needs to be addressed. It cannot happen anymore.”