Formula 1 race director Michael Masi has moved to further defend his decision to allow cars on-track with a crane still on-track during qualifying for the Turkish Grand Prix, while maintaining his team will “learn” from the incident.
A decision that was met with an immediate backlash, Masi and race control opted to start the wet second session of qualifying while a recovery vehicle was still working to move the stranded Williams of Nicholas Latifi from Q1.
Afterwards, Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel said there was “zero tolerance” for the mistake, and that a further investigation was necessary.
In his own remarks on Saturday, Masi said that with the benefit of hindsight, he would’ve “handled it differently”, but indicated in his remarks after Sunday’s race that the decision he made was by no means negligent.
“As I said yesterday, in the comment that was put out, it was quite close to the barrier opening, the crane was on its way,” he explained to reporters.
“And we were given assurances that it would be well and truly clear. And looking at everything, I was more than comfortable with the local assurances on that basis.
“So as I said, the benefit of hindsight, you would do something different. But based on it all and the available information at the time, that was the call that we made. Obviously, it was a double yellow flag anyway, regardless, which is normal protocol, even when there aren’t cars on track. And further to that, that sector was extended even further. And it was an outlap.”
At the same time, Masi promised Formula 1’s governing body, the FIA, would learn from the incident.
“From an FIA perspective, we review every incident that takes place, be it minor, major in between or otherwise, at any point in time during a session, outside of the session, and continually learn from everything that takes place.
“So, from that end, we’ll continue to learn, no different to a team learning about different elements over a weekend and in between. We are absolutely no different.
“And from our end safety is our number one priority, and you learn from everything, every time a car rolls out of the pitlane, every time you look at something different.”