Mika Hakkinen has labelled the recovery truck incident at the Japanese Grand Prix a "concern". The race was red-flagged shortly after the start due to worsening weather conditions, and a crane came onto the track to remove Carlos Sainz's stricken Ferrari following his crash on the opening lap. As Gasly – who had started the race from the pit lane – tried to catch up to the rest of the pack behind the Safety Car, the AlphaTauri driver was shocked to encounter the tractor on the circuit in poor visibility. A furious Gasly voiced his anger over the incident on team radio, and later suggested that he could have been killed had he lost control of his car. Other drivers have since raised concerns about what happened, with the event set to be investigated by the FIA.
Memories of Bianchi tragedy
In their criticism of the incident, drivers including Gasly and Sergio Perez referenced Jules Bianchi's accident at Suzuka in 2014, where the Marussia driver hit a crane in wet conditions. Bianchi passed away from his injuries in July 2015. Hakkinen has added his voice to the debate, and stressed the importance of continuing to focus on safety in the sport. "Safety is the most important outcome for everyone in Formula 1," the two-time World Champion said in his column for Unibet . "This means for the drivers, teams, marshals and spectators. "The FIA and F1 have worked hard to improve safety, and we know that Jules Bianchi's accident in 2014 was a really tragic moment from which everyone tried to learn. "That was the only fatal driver accident in the last 28 years and we do not want another."
Hakkinen encouraged by FIA investigation
Hakkinen is pleased to see that the FIA will investigate the incident, with the Finn hopeful that systems can be improved in light of the events. "What happened on Sunday is a concern because it was clear that Pierre got a big shock when he saw a truck on the circuit," Hakkinen added. "He has now been penalised for driving too fast under red flag conditions , but it is good to see the FIA launch a review of events because it is easy for a driver to be distracted, not see a signal or not realise what is happening, particularly in conditions of poor visibility. "We need systems in place that make certain everyone knows what it going on. "Everyone is determined to keep this sport as safe as possible, and every incident gives us an opportunity to learn, improve and avoid a repeat."