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Ralf Schumacher: Both Gasly and the FIA have to question themselves

Pierre Gasly was left furious after coming across a recovery vehicle on track during the wet conditions of the Japanese Grand Prix. With the incident set to be investigated by the FIA, former F1 driver Ralf Schumacher has given his take on what happened.

Ralf Schumacher believes that both Pierre Gasly and the FIA have to "question themselves" over the recovery vehicle incident at the Japanese Grand Prix. The race was red-flagged shortly after the start due to the increasingly wet 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. 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. After the race, the Frenchman was handed a drive-through penalty – which was converted to an additional 20 seconds being added to his race time – for speeding under the red flag as he passed Sainz's car, and also received penalty points on his Super Licence. Meanwhile, the FIA have confirmed that they will investigate the events regarding the use of a tractor on the track.

Schumacher understands drivers' perspective

Gasly was not alone in speaking of his fury over the sight of a recovery vehicle on track, with he and several other drivers referencing Jules Bianchi's accident at a wet Suzuka in 2014. The Marussia driver hit a crane that was recovering another car, and passed away from his injuries nine months later. As such, Schumacher says he can sympathise with the drivers' feelings about the incident, but believes that both Gasly and the FIA were at fault. "The topic surrounding Pierre Gasly was highly emotional," Schumacher wrote in his column for Sky Sports Germany . "I can understand the drivers' criticism. They have pointed out that they don't want to see any of these tractors while there are still cars on the track. "Nevertheless, that doesn't justify Gasly chasing the field at 250 km/h at this point either. That is anything but clever. I think both sides have to question themselves."

Incident "has to be investigated", says Schumacher

While Schumacher agrees with the penalty given to Gasly, he has also backed the FIA's decision to investigate the crane incident. "It can't be a problem to wait until the cars are all in the pits and then send out the tractor, as long as there is no immediate danger," the former F1 driver said. "It has to be investigated why things went differently from what was discussed with the drivers. "I think the penalty for Gasly is right and understandable, because it was clearly recognisable that the race had been stopped. "There is also the rule that you should drive at walking pace and be able to stop at any time – and for good reason, because there could be people on the track."

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