The FIA, Formula 1‘s governing body confirmed it had looked into ‘procedural issues’ that occurred during the 2022 Japanese Grand Prix and would correct them for the future.
The Paris-based FIA did not spell out what it was referring to, but the shortened Oct. 9 race at Suzuka triggered anger and alarm when a recovery tractor was deployed while cars were following the safety car in poor visibility and slippery conditions.
There was also post-race confusion about the scoring system, with Max Verstappen and his Red Bull team, along with most of those present and the global television audience, initially unaware that the Dutch driver had won the Championship.
“As stated immediately after the race, the FIA has undertaken a thorough analysis of the incidents which took place at the Japanese Grand Prix in Suzuka,” it said in a statement after a World Motor Sport Council meeting in London.
“Procedural issues have been identified and will be corrected in the short and medium term. The findings will be made public in the coming days.”
AlphaTauri driver Pierre Gasly had said he was glad to be alive after he sped past the tractor before the Red flags were shown to stop the race.
Gasly: I would’ve been dead
The Frenchman recalled compatriot Jules Bianchi, whose car hit a tractor in similar circumstances at the circuit during the 2014 Grand Prix. Bianchi died in hospital in July 2015.
“How today can we see a crane, not even in the gravel but on the racetrack while we are still on the track? I don’t understand that,” said Gasly, who was penalised by stewards for speeding after the Red flags were waved.
“I passed two metres from that crane. If I would have been two metres to the left I would have been dead,” he added.
Other drivers also spoke out in the strongest terms about the incident.
“What happened today just makes me so angry,” said Red Bull’s Sergio Perez. “I just hope everybody in the sport will never get to see this situation ever again.”
The scoring confusion was a result of changes made after a farcical rain-hit Belgian Grand Prix last year, with teams including Red Bull wrongly assuming reduced points were to be awarded.
The FIA confirmed next year’s record 24 round calendar, with six sprint races. Safety improvements for 2023 included bigger mirrors for better ‘blind spot’ visibility and further changes to roll hoops which were strengthened after Alfa Romeo driver Guanyu Zhou’s big accident at the British Grand Prix. (Reporting by Alan Baldwin)