Sergio Perez says the deployment of a recovery vehicle onto an active track at Suzuka last Sunday was the “lowest thing I’ve seen in years”.
The Safety Car was deployed shortly after Carlos Sainz crashed on the opening lap, which left his car stricken on the circuit.
A recovery tractor then ventured onto the track, resulting in a near miss for Pierre Gasly, who was outraged over the scenario.
Drivers voiced their anger after the race, as Jules Bianchi died as a result of injuries he sustained at Suzuka in 2014 following a collision with a recovery vehicle.
“In any conditions which should never see a crane on track while the cars are out there,” Perez said. “You do not really know what can happen there.
“It doesn’t matter [about] the conditions – it should just never happen and I really hope that this is the last time we get to see in any category the recovery vehicles on track while there are cars out there.”
The race was then red-flagged for several hours as the conditions worsened, which Perez believes was the right call to make.
“I think the first time, when we were on laps to the grid, the track was looking alright, even for Inters, but I think it picked up before the race start and especially, I think, during the first lap it picked up even more,” he said.
“So yeah, I think in that regard it was right to stop the race, to start the race at the times we did, but what is really low and was the lowest thing I’ve seen in years was two crane vehicles out there.”
Perez’s team-mate Verstappen was leading the race on the opening lap, and was the first to pass by the tractor.
With no cars in front of him, Verstappen’s visibility wasn’t severely reduced due to the lack of spray – but the two-time World Champion says that a collision with the vehicle at any speed would be cause for concern.
“Of course, I arrived there first and I saw the crane and I have perfect visibility but when you’re behind, you always try to drive out of the spray,” he said.
“You go left or you go right, because you can’t really see anything and that is when things happen.
“You drive suddenly left and suddenly you can see a crane or whatever, that would be very dangerous at any speed. So that’s definitely something we need to improve.”
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