Both F1 fans and drivers are furious over what happened at the start of the Japanese Grand Prix. Because of treacherous weather and poor visibility due to rain, the Suzuka race was red flagged. Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz had already crashed and a number of drivers had gone off the track. But Pierre Gasly, who was behind the pack due to swapping out his AlphaTauri’s nose cone, was met with a tractor on track as he raced back to the pits.
Karun Chandhok and Paul di Resta take a closer look at the incident involving the recovery tractor on track. pic.twitter.com/GMUBfiGF6r
— Sky Sports F1 (@SkySportsF1) October 9, 2022
The tractor was released to remove Sainz’s Ferrari from the track, but according to reports, it came out onto the track before the red flag was shown. With Gasly driving at around 250kmph, this could have created a very dangerous situation. Fans and drivers were obviously angry over this after 2014 saw Jules Bianchi – Charles Lecler’s godfather and F1 racer – fall into a coma and eventually pass from his injuries after hitting a support vehicle on-track at Suzuka.
“What is this? What is this tractor on track?! I passed next to it. This unacceptable. Remember what has happened. Can’t believe this,” shouted Gasly down the radio to his team. “I could have f****ng killed myself!”
Other drivers have now taken to Twitter to voice their concerns and anger:
Wtf. How’s this happened!? We lost a life in this situation years ago. We risk our lives, especially in conditions like this. We wanna race. But this… Unacceptable.
— Lando Norris (@LandoNorris) October 9, 2022
“Wtf,” an angry Lando Norris posted. “How’s this happened!? We lost a life in this situation years ago. We risk our lives, especially in conditions like this. We wanna race. But this… Unacceptable.”
Red Bull chief Christian Horner mirrored this disgust:
“Totally unacceptable. We lost Jules Bianchi here, 5-6 years ago and that should never, ever happen.
“There needs to be a full investigation into why there was a full recovery vehicle on the track.”
Jules Bianchi’s father also posted to Instagram, breaking the hearts of many:
“No respect for the life of the driver. No respect for Jules’ memory. Incredible.”
An angry Sainz also commented:
“I still don’t know why in these conditions we keep risking having a tractor on-track, because it’s just worthless. If you’re going to red flag it anyway, why risk it?”
Martin Brundle, who isn’t attending today’s race, posted from Twitter:
“Should have been an instant red flag with a stricken car in a critical position in those conditions. Clearly debris on track too. Should NEVER EVER be a tractor on track until the cars are all collected up behind a safety car or in the pits. Gasly can’t take all the blame here.”
Red Bull’s Sergio Perez also tweeted:
“How can we make it clear that we never want to see a crane on track? We lost Jules because of that mistake. What happened today is totally unacceptable!!!!! I hope this is the last time ever I see a crane on track!”