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Pierre Gasly

Brundle 'horrified' by Japanese GP incident

Following an incident where Pierre Gasly had a near-miss with a digger at Suzuka, Martin Brundle says recovery vehicles should never be on-track at the same time as F1 cars.

Verstappen Leclerc Japan start
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To news overview © Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Martin Brundle has heavily criticised an incident in last weekend's Japanese Grand Prix in which Pierre Gasly encountered a recovery vehicle on track.

With the Safety Car having been deployed following Carlos Sainz's crash on Lap 1 at Suzuka, Gasly had fallen to the back after a pit stop to repair damage, and was driving more quickly than the field in order to catch up with the train of cars.

Onboard footage of Gasly's car showed the AlphaTauri driving past the recovery vehicle at high speed as he exited the hairpin.

When the race was red-flagged one lap later and all the drivers had returned to the pits, Gasly was visibly distressed at having encountered the vehicle, and following the conclusion of the race, spoke of how he was reminded of a tragic incident at Suzuka in 2014.

At that year's Japanese Grand Prix, also run in heavy rain, Gasly's fellow Frenchman Jules Bianchi lost control of his car and struck a recovery vehicle, sustaining critical head injuries which would ultimately claim his life.

Brundle also had his own near-miss with a recovery vehicle at Suzuka in an equally wet race in 1994, instead striking a marshal as his McLaren aquaplaned off track, and the Briton said the Gasly incident had brought back bad memories of that event.

Brundle relives 1994 Suzuka incident

"I was horrified because I had an incident there in Suzuka in 1994 when I'd been crying on the radio for the race to be red flagged because the conditions were horrific," Brundle told Any Driven Monday.

"I aquaplaned off in a place where I couldn't see, even my dashboard, I went off and just missed one of the Caterpillar diggers but unfortunately hit a marshal and ran back to help him. The bone of his leg was sticking out of his overalls and it was a horrible mess.

"After that experience, I remember saying in '98 [on commentary], 'we can't have vehicles on track when race cars are on track'. You can aquaplane off, you can have a car issue, whatever.

"It should never happen. Of course, we did have the awful incident again in 2014 when we effectively lost Jules Bianchi.

"You just can't have it."

Also interesting:

F1 Podcast: Do F1's rules on championship points in shortened races need modifying?

RacingNews365.com F1 journalists Dieter Rencken and Michael Butterworth discuss the key issues from the Japanese Grand Prix, including Max Verstappen's dominant run to his second World Championship, and whether F1's current system of awarding points in shortened races needs tweaking.


F1 2022 Japanese Grand Prix RN365 News dossier

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