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Brundle calls for "root and branch" change at race control

NEWS STORY
01/06/2022

Driver turned TV pundit, Martin Brundle has hit out at officials following the confusion surrounding the start of Sunday's Monaco Grand Prix.

In the moments before the scheduled start, race control announced that the start procedure had been suspended, subsequently announcing that the race would get underway behind the safety car.

Following another delay the race did eventually get underway only to be red-flagged after just two laps.

Normally, Brundle would have been able to inform the millions of viewers looking in as to what was happening, but it soon became clear that he was as in the dark as the rest of us.

While the original start was thought to have been suspended due to light rain that was falling, it was subsequently claimed that race control was aware of a far heavier belt of rain moving towards the Principality.

Eventually, almost an hour after the original scheduled start time the safety car led the field out on track again and the race eventually got underway.

After the race, it was claimed that the delay was due to a power outage caused by the downpour, which had led to communications issues and a problem with the starting systems which ruled out any hope of a standing start in favour of rolling starts.

"Holding up a race in anticipation of incoming weather is not necessary," write Brundle in his column for Sky Sports. "We have virtual and real safety cars, red flags, pit stop crews who can change tyres in two seconds, and two types of wet weather tyres to cover those challenges.

"That's what Formula One racing is all about," he adds.

"We were informed by the FIA at 20.03 after the race on Sunday that there were power issues on the starting gantry due to the heavy rain which explains the rolling starts after the red flags. If we had been told this in the media via our simple and effective WhatsApp group, we could have then informed the tens of millions of viewers around the globe and the tens of thousands of fans trackside, and it would all have made a lot more sense.

A couple of reliable sources tell me that there were heated arguments in race control during the impasse as we all looked on unsure of what was happening," he reveals "This presumably explains the periods of inaction and lack of information, and the reason why the safety car was not out exploring track conditions as usual.

"The FIA, for the well-being of F1, urgently needs a root and branch change with a fully dedicated and empowered race director with at least one understudy, a dedicated circuit and systems inspector, plus an empowered and effective communications department. I consider this a highest priority issue."

Sadly, since the recruitment of Niels Wittich and Eduardo Freitas as race directors in place of Michael Masi, a number of questionable decisions have been made, with many concerned at the pair's preoccupation with the rules surrounding jewellery and sanctioned underwear as opposed to what is happening on track.

At the same time, those of a more sceptical nature are wondering if Sunday's debacle was to put Monaco in a bad light at a time there is already a question mark over its future as part of the Formula One World Championship.

Of course, once the ‘highlights' get the Netflix treatment the focus will be on Charles' despair, Sergio's joy, Jos' frustration, Guanyu's pants and Lando's tonsils, with the shambolic circumstances that almost ruined the weekend airbrushed from the record.

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by elsiebc, 03/06/2022 14:35

"@kenji "We've run wide at that corner for years and now all of a sudden you're telling me that I can't do that? I'll run wide there four times each lap. I'll just get an exemption.""

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2. Posted by kenji, 03/06/2022 1:01

"When is a rule not a rule? "

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3. Posted by Defiant, 02/06/2022 16:00

"@ClarkwasGod I'm with most of what you wrote. I agree with Max Noble on your stance of jewellery, I think that the advice regarding jewellery is a sensible one (I've had to follow that many times), but making it a rule is an eye roll moment for me.
I cannot agree with having Masi back though."

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4. Posted by jcr, 02/06/2022 12:54

"When the directors put the jewellery ban on amnesty I thought it was the nose ring as Hammi said he had already removed all the other bits. But, His ear rings were visible for the world to see on sunday, so he has gone backwards.

@Max. with litigation in this day and age the way it is, I cannot see the FIA taking a chance on being sued over somebody elses stupidity (Ego)
Plus rules must apply to everyone."

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5. Posted by Max Noble, 02/06/2022 9:10

"Ah poor Masi! Not so bad after all?
Agree that Liberty want Monaco to look ratty right now… but never ascribes to malice that which is equally well explained by stupidity…
@ClarkwasGod - quite. Throughout my career I’ve worked in a number of “safety challenging” environments, and there is nothing like a cheery dismemberment, crushed limb, blinding, or Heaven Forbid death, to really get folks focussed on safety. Get Sir Lewis to sign a waiver to the effect that it is all his own fault if he burns, tears, crushes, destroys parts of himself due to his own choices, and let’s keep racing. Then let us look at the possibility of his nose ring killing others…

As to the underwear… Anyone who wants to encourage third degree burns to their body after seeing poor Romain spit-roasted the other year needs a sanity check."

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6. Posted by ClarkwasGod, 01/06/2022 19:05

"First thing they should do is to have only one of the two Race Directors at a GP. Herbie Blash is there as advisor - he should be the permanent deputy. Having both RD's at the same race will only lead to tension and, maybe, "heated arguments" between two alpha males. It's inevitable that the pendulum would swing from the laissez-faire style of Masi to a more dictatorial attitude given the fallout from last season. Hopefully it will swing back to a more neutral stance where the true priorities are addressed. As for jewelry, whenever I visit one of my ships, my wedding ring is always removed and stowed in my wallet. Google pictures of hands being "de-gloved" by a ring - not pretty. Jewelry also can act as heat sinks in the case of fire, so that requirement is maybe not so "petty"."

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7. Posted by Tardis40, 01/06/2022 18:59

"Heated arguments indicate a lack of leadership."

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8. Posted by Greg, 01/06/2022 18:01

"Agree. There needs to be some change. And bring back Michael. If that puts noses out of joint.. stiff"

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9. Posted by Wokingchap, 01/06/2022 15:44

"I agree with Mr.Brundle, things are going from bad to worse."

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10. Posted by elsiebc, 01/06/2022 15:37

"Bring Charlie back! Please!!! Even now he would be doing a better job. And it should be only one man, no team other than who he personally brings on and has full control over. "

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11. Posted by Superbird70, 01/06/2022 14:08

"From a previous post;
"Alfonse and Gaston sat in their deck chairs in F1 race control sipping an aperitif. Listening to the national anthem as the as the band played on, they mused, "Today was surely going to be a race of titanic proportion and the weather was just the tip of the iceberg"."

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