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Martin Brundle

Brundle criticises final laps of Italian GP: It was painful to watch

With the Italian Grand Prix finishing under the Safety Car following Daniel Ricciardo's retirement from the race, Martin Brundle believes that fans were denied a "thriller" ending to the event.

Safety car Monza
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Martin Brundle has suggested that the final laps of the Italian Grand Prix were "not the FIA's finest event" after proceedings were ended under the Safety Car.

In the closing stages of the Monza race, the Safety Car was deployed to allow for a safe removal of Daniel Ricciardo's stricken McLaren, which was unable to be pushed off the circuit.

With six laps remaining, this led to a series of events that Brundle believes ultimately denied fans of a thrilling end to the Grand Prix.

"On Lap 47 of 53, the McLaren of Daniel Ricciardo, who was having a better run than of late at a track where he of course won last year, broke down at the side of the track," Brundle wrote in his column for Sky Sports.

"What followed was a catalogue of problems which ruined the end of the race, not that [Charles] Leclerc was going to catch [Max] Verstappen it must be said. [Carlos] Sainz may have had a look at [George] Russell for the final spot on the podium.

"It was painful to watch. The McLaren was stuck in gear so couldn't be wheeled away after Daniel struggled to find a decent service opening.

"It's an old school track with poor service road access, and eventually a mobile crane arrived to scoop it up."

Could the Italian GP have been red flagged?

Brundle has questioned whether an alternative option would have been for a red flag to be shown, allowing for the race to be restarted in the latter stages as was seen at the 2021 Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

"There has been an initiative discussed whereby, in the final five laps of a race, if there's an issue of this kind then throw the red flag and have a standing start re-start," Brundle said.

"We saw this in Azerbaijan last year and it does make for great anticipation and a thrilling finale to a race.

"I must say though that for me a red flag means a very serious incident or something like a cloud burst and a waterlogged track."

Brundle believes red flag would have been "justified"

Given the situation, though, Brundle believes that stopping the race was a viable option.

"The red flag can be used as a tool to neutralise a race along with yellow flags, and one of two Safety Car options," the former F1 driver explained.

"But when the Safety Car picked up third place George Russell's Mercedes rather than comfortable race leader Max Verstappen, with a bunch of back markers in between, then it really did fall apart.

"I must say seeing the cars file past a recovery vehicle and a suspended F1 car reversing down the track, albeit at safety car speeds, it would have been easy to justify a red flag stoppage.

"Instead, for only the thirteenth time in F1 history a race was ended at low speed behind the Safety Car. It was not the FIA's finest event.

"It's such a short race there anyway due to the high average speeds, and the fans would have deserved a thriller at the restart."

Also interesting:

F1 Podcast: Does F1's grid penalty system need revising?

With confusion reigning for several hours over Max Verstappen's starting position for the Italian Grand Prix, does F1's grid penalty system need revising, and should there be a rule preventing races from ending under the Safety Car?

RacingNews365.com F1 journalists Dieter Rencken and Michael Butterworth discuss the key issues from the Italian Grand Prix.

F1 2022 Italian Grand Prix RN365 News dossier

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