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Masi dismisses Verstappen's safety car claim

NEWS STORY
12/10/2020

Race director, Michael Masi has defended the use of the safety car during Sunday's Eifel Grand Prix, after Max Verstappen had suggested the move was to 'spice up' the race.

While George Russell's retirement on lap 12 of Sunday's Grand Prix only necessitated the briefest of deployments of the Virtual Safety Car, when Lando Norris parked his McLaren on lap 42, the race director deployed the safety car proper.

As the field continued behind the AMG Mercedes, a number of drivers, most notably Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen, complained that running so slowly behind the safety car was compromising their grid due to the already cold conditions. As the field continued for five laps behind the vehicle, Verstappen even suggested that the field was being deliberately bunched-up in a bid to spice-up the race.

"I just didn't understand why the Safety Car was out for so long," said the Red Bull driver after the race. "The car was cleared.

"I understand they want to bunch up the field," he added, "but it's pretty dangerous with these cars when the tyres are so cold. We'll look into that."

Race director, Michael Masi subsequently explained that the reason for the length of the safety car period was because all the drivers up to fifth-placed Carlos Sainz had been lapped, and the lapped drivers had to un-lap themselves.

"There's a requirement in the sporting regulations, to wave all lapped cars past," said the Australian. "So I think from that point, it was position 6 onwards that was still running. So 10, 11 cars had to un-lap themselves, and therefore the safety car period was a bit longer than what we would have normally expected."

As to why the safety car was deployed at all, when Norris had parked beside a marshal's post and in the eyes of many race fans constituted no threat, Masi said: "Lando's car had some smoke and fire, so that was one point. The other was, at first glance, we weren't confident that the car could actually be recovered into the opening that was there, due to the tightness of it.

"So rather than having to react along the way, it was determined to go for a safety car, that way it could be dealt with all at once immediately."

On the other hand, the deployment of the safety car, at one fell stroke eliminated Lewis Hamilton's 10s lead and did indeed bunch up the remainder of the field.

Check out our Sunday gallery from the Nurburgring, here.

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by Cobra Driver, 13/10/2020 14:23

""We did not deploy the safety car to spice up the race". And at 88 years of age, I still believe in Santa Claus.
"

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2. Posted by USA1, 13/10/2020 13:43

"I have to agree with Max on this one, watching on TV that’s exactly what they were doing, giving the guys time to catch up, there was no reason for the safety car to still be out there!"

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3. Posted by Roli, 13/10/2020 13:41

"Hope he doesnt have the job for next season. His decisions have marred this year's championship. Far too many "rules" (restrictions). F1 should be the pinnacle of technology, not a circus."

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4. Posted by Barslug, 12/10/2020 19:59

"The secret to spicing up the race is with uncorking the engines and letting the drivers talent be the deciding factor. None of this artificial DRS, poor tires, fuel flow, safety cars, ect. "

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5. Posted by Lakota, 12/10/2020 19:56

"Have to agree with Max. 5 laps was way to long. "

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6. Posted by Steve W, 12/10/2020 19:42

"When the safety car kept staying out, I had to squint at the TV screen to make sure I wasn't watching an IndyCar race."

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7. Posted by Motorsport-fan, 12/10/2020 19:04

"Why cannot the lapped cars simply pull to one side, let the field pass and join at the back? agree with drivers it does appear more to do with spicing up the show, must have got the idea from the Americans. "

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