As the chaotic Istanbul weekend continued, fans were shocked this afternoon when the green light was given for Q2 whilst marshals were still removing Nicholas Latifi‘s stricken Williams from the gravel trap at Turn 8.
Echoes of Jules Bianchi‘s accident at the 2014 Japanese Grand Prix came to mind as cars made their way around the track in difficult conditions whilst a recovery crane was being removed after lifting the Williams to safety.
Normally, officials at the scene of the incident keep race control informed of progress and this information is passed on to the race director, Michael Masi.
It’s understood that race control was informed that the recovery crane would be clear by the time the first cars arrived at the scene, however a problem navigating a gap in the barriers meant the crane was still at the rear of the run-off where Latifi’s car had been.
Whilst the cars were on their out laps, the drivers were building up speed and trying to generate heat into their tyres in conditions that had already witnessed a number of incidents.
“We released the cars from pitlane as the recovery vehicle was moving to the escape road,” explained Masi in the face of mounting criticism of the incident. “Following information given to Race Control by the Clerk of the Course that the vehicle would be clear of the track before the cars on their out laps reached Turn 8 where the recovery was taking place.
“As soon as it became apparent that the recovery vehicle had been delayed in moving completely into the barrier opening, we extended the area of double-waved yellow flags from Turn 8 to the entry point of Turn 7 to further slow down the cars on their out laps,” he added.
“Clearly this is not a scenario we want to see, and with the benefit of hindsight we would have done it differently and held the cars until the recovery was completed.
“We will review our procedures to minimise the likelihood of similar incidents in future.”
Check out our Saturday gallery from Istanbul, here.