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FIA

How Race Control made the calls to red flag and restart race at Imola

FIA Race Director Michael Masi has explained the decision making that led to the red flag, and rolling restart of the Emilia Romagna GP.

Article
To news overview © Red Bull Content Pool / Getty Images

Michael Masi has explained the thinking behind why Race Control felt the Emilia Romagna GP needed to be red-flagged in the immediate aftermath of the Valtteri Bottas/George Russell crash.

After the Mercedes and Williams driver collided and speared into the barriers on the approach to Tamburello, Masi made the call as the FIA's Race Director to red flag and neutralise the race and go for a restart.

"With the incident with George and Valtteri at Imola, which ultimately resulted in the red flag, there was a number of elements to that, obviously primarily ensuring that the drivers were okay," Masi explained.

"And then, obviously from the neutralising of the race itself, which we went for initially a safety car and then for a red flag.

"But then, once we suspended the race and went into a red flag procedure, obviously, we're then going into effectively a recovery mode of cleaning up the site and trying to get everything clear, ensuring that the cars are safe, particularly because of the ERS systems. And making sure that all the marshals are safe when doing so."

Having cleaned up the debris and removed the badly damaged cars, the question of how to restart the race as fairly and safely as possible becomes Race Control's main objective.

There's more to this decision than meets the eye, as Masi explained.

"Then it's into the restart procedure and working with each of the teams, so then having a look at the logistical elements of lapped cars, what restart procedure we're going to use. We're quite fortunate in F1, where we have both a standing and a rolling start.

"So evaluating the track conditions for that, and what would be best. And then ultimately, as we saw, we restarted, because particularly the left hand side of the circuit was damp after Turn 1 that we went for a rolling start."

Masi explained that the decisions aren't based upon a precedent, but rather on evaluating the circumstances presented to him on any given occasion, and then applying the regulations to those circumstances.

"We have a set of regulations there that give us an outline of what we need to do," he explained.

"Further to that, as a race director, I've got a great toolbox of tools to use. But there's always little differences and nuances in each situation that you need to try and apply as best as possible. Depending upon the incident that's before you."

RN365 News dossier F1 2021 Portuguese Grand Prix

The latest news about the Portuguese Grand Prix straight from the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve.

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