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Teams believe start was handled correctly


Contrary to what many fans feel, for the most part the teams believe that the start of the Monaco Grand Prix was handled correctly.

Just moments before the race was due to get underway, Race Control announced that the race start procedure had been suspended and that a 10-minute warning would be given before proceedings got underway.

At this point, Race Control having confirmed that there was an 80% chance of rain during the race - rain which had been predicted for several days and therefore adding to the hopes of a dramatic race - the first spots began to fall.

It was subsequently announced that a delayed start would happen behind the safety car before this too was delayed for several minutes.

Finally, the safety car led the field out on to the track, by which time the rain had increased in intensity, and after two laps behind the red Mercedes the 'race' was red-flagged.

While fans and drivers complained about race director Eduardo Freitas' seemingly over-cautious approach, behind the scenes there were various factors of which they were unaware.

The rain, which had already caused a power outage, was set to get even worse, furthermore electrical systems used by both the FIA and F1 had been affected by the rain leading to a number of erroneous messages appearing on timing screens.

Eventually, almost an hour behind the scheduled start, the race got underway, but due to the uncertainty over the reliability of the starting systems only rolling starts were possible from then on, not standing starts.

Mercedes boss, Toto Wolff was among the first to leap to the defence of the decisions that were taken.

"The rain at the beginning was torrential," said the Austrian, "I don't think that you can start the race with thunderstorms moving into Monaco like this. So I have no beef at all with the start having been delayed for a few times. You need to give Freitas and the race directors the credit that this was a very difficult race to manage.

"I would have hoped for an earlier start when it dried up, but I think there was a problem with connectivity to Biggin Hill," he continued, referring to F1’s digital HQ back in the UK. "And that's why they couldn't get it going.

"So overall, the format, how it was, was more an American football game, so you can go for hot dogs and beer in between. But I think at the beginning there was nothing else that could have been done."

"I would say in the end it was the right thing to do, what the race director has decided," agreed Andreas Seidl. "I think there was absolutely no need to start the race knowing how the weather forecast was and to rush it, because there's simply no point ending up in taking a risk ending up in a lot of crashes, especially at this track.

"So from this point of view everything was done in the right in the right way. Safety first. I'm supportive of the decisions that have been made. There's no point knowing how the weather forecast was to take these unnecessary big risks, and under those conditions there was no way to race.

"Cars were aquaplaning all over the place," said the German. "Visibility was poor."

In a revealing comment the McLaren boss admitted: "From a team perspective, to be honest, knowing how low we all are on parts this year under the cost cap, one of the positives of this race day-to-day as well is that both cars are still in one piece.

"On our side it was clear with the weather forecast also that there was continuous rain predicted, and that's why we simply had to wait until the window is opening again where the rain gets lighter or stops."

Though it was to make a monumental mistake in terms of strategy later in the afternoon, Ferrari was one of the only teams to fit full wets to its cars within the original start's mandatory 5-minute window.

"You call it yourself, strange decisions," said Mattia Binotto. "But I can only say that we were a team that was fully prepared on the grid. We had our extreme wet tyres fitted on the cars on time.

"At the time, we were certainly in a strong position," he continued, "and good for the team to show that at least we were organised, showing that we've got some great capacity as well.

"Sometimes we are doing the right way to say taking the right decisions, but unfortunate that the race control decided to postpone furthermore, the start of the race. Now why is it needed? Not clear to me. I think we should ask them for the reason."

At Red Bull, Christian Horner called for a review of the situation.

"I think that needs a bit of a review because it was a little chaotic, with tyres coming on the grid, off the grid," said the Briton. "It's a busy enough grid here, and it's always a little dangerous to try and pre-empt the weather.

"You can argue it both ways. You could say we would have been better starting the race and then reacting to the downpour, and either putting the safety car out or stopping the race, but I think it needs a bit of a review after this weekend."

Monaco aside, as debate over the budget cap continues, is Andreas Seidl giving us an indication of what's to come; that at the merest hint of rain Race Control will react in a bid to prevent teams suffering any damage - and thereby costs - that could affect their championship hopes.

Whatever was going on behind these scenes on Sunday, ignoring the lack of information, the fact is that the powers-that-be appeared to be extremely over-cautious in their handling of the situation.

Furthermore, in the light of the events of Abu Dhabi, some have simply lost faith and find it difficult to accept what the powers-that-be are telling us is the entire story.


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1. Posted by kenji, 01/06/2022 0:44

"What I found to be most annoying was the lack of information! The so called 'outage' could've been communicated to the public and that would've helped. Same goes for sending out the safety car to trundle around and clear a bit of water and show the fans that there was soemthing happening. Massive PR fail...IMO"

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2. Posted by Mad Matt, 31/05/2022 15:38

"It's hard to understand how losing a link to Biggin Hill stopped them being able to do a normal start, what kind of stupid IT architecture have they got?

For the rest, I agree with the Editor, I'm concerned that they're becoming so risk adverse they'll soon be cancelling races if the fans don't all clap when the drivers go by as we couldn't risk a drivers psychological well being...... as my mum would say "whatever next?" :-)"

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