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Explained: The tractor on track and Gasly’s penalty at the 2022 Japanese GP

The Japanese grand prix was a full-on roller coaster ride, from a Two hour delayed start to an approx. hour and a half serotonin dosage; Though it had its fair share of scares, one stood out the most, a near death experience, as expressed and stressed over by Scuderia AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly.

After Carlos Sainz’s first lap incident, him losing control of his Ferrari due to aquaplaning and crashing into the barriers at T-12, a spin for Zhou Guanyu, and other small incidents which forced the double yellow flags being waved at the drivers, Safety car procedure were started. Carlos’ shunt into the barriers had caused the Rolex advert board to fall onto the track. Multiple drivers passed Sainz closely, narrowly avoiding another possibly massive crash.

Among them was Pierre’s car which picked up the Rolex board. The board stuck to the front wing of his AlphaTauri, resulting in him pitting under the safety car. This, obviously, was no fault of his and he had to pit which was an extremely unlucky event. Emerging 39 seconds behind the safety car queue from the pits, he was to catch the queue, requiring him to go at full throttle.

While the cars were still out on the track and behind the safety car, 2 marshals were seen on track signalling the recovery vehicle, the tractor in the spotlight, to come ahead and recover the crashed Ferrari. The safety car along with the pack went past the recovery team, 30 seconds later, the red flag was out, 32 seconds later Pierre Gasly passed the scene at reportedly 251 kmph. The driver’s radio message made it evident how scared and angry he was regarding the would’ve-been-fatal situation. Especially since he knows the loss that was suffered before this.

Now the question arises, if the cars were still on the track and not in the pitlane, and that too behind the safety car, why then, were the marshals and the recovery staff given the green light to go ahead and recover the shunted F1-75? Especially, a track that has a history of an almost carbon copy circumstances, that occurred 8 years ago, resulting in the loss of a massive talent, Jules Bianchi.

FIA also slammed Gasly with a 20 sec time penalty and 2 penalty points on his Super License 45 mins after the race finished, on the grounds of speeding under red flag. “In relation to the recovery of the incident on Lap 3, the safety car had been deployed and the race neutralized. Car 10, which had collected damage and pitted behind the SC, was then driving at high speed to catch up to the field. As conditions were deteriorating, the red flag was shown before Car 10 passed the location of the incident where it had been damaged the previous lap”, said the FIA. Gasly was speeding, true, but the catch is, that the red flag was shown just 2 seconds before he arrived at the scene, if you think logically, not enough time to react, let alone slow down. 

But the above debacle does not even make sense, given the fact, that the recovery procedure was given a Go-Ahead despite all the cars being on the track. The FIA has attracted a lot of heat regarding this decision, It should be held accountable for such blunders, as is demanded by several of the current drivers like Lando Norris, Checo Perez and the fans alike. Almost every race ends up in a controversy, FIA and the Stewards need to take care about the outcomes and the ones involved in it.

What are your thoughts regarding the Gaslypenalty? A blunder like before or a rule followed by the books. Anyway, a lot has been happening in this SILLY SEASON, Let’s hope the future of F1 is much better than this.

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