F1 team bosses, FIA hold summit on Italian GP safety car controversy

Senior Formula 1 team principals with FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem for a summit meeting on Monday, with Sunday’s controversial Italian Grand Prix final on the agenda. Many team principals were angry at how the race ended behind the safety car and insist the FIA ​​must change its rules to prevent a repeat of the incident.

The Monza race was won by Max Verstappen who dominated but took the flag behind the safety car. It was deployed with five laps to go after Daniel Ricciardo’s McLaren had stopped on track. There weren’t enough laps left to pull it off and complete the car shut-off and then for the safety car to complete its mandatory two laps, all of which are required by regulation, for racing to resume.

The Formula 1 World Championship sporting summit had already been called for Monday at Monza by the FIA, but now Sunday’s events will be revealed. The FIA ​​was not at fault, having followed its own rules. That in itself was a sore point for many following last year’s controversial Abu Dhabi GP finish, which cost Lewis Hamilton a potential eighth title, when then FIA race director Michael Masi, improvised the rules to secure a final race lap after a late safety car.

Verstappen’s Red Bull team principal Christian Horner insisted, however, that the sport should avoid finishing races behind the safety car and that the FIA ​​must be addressed as a matter of urgency.

“There are lessons to be learned, it goes against the principles of everything we’ve discussed,” he said. “It’s not good to finish races with safety cars, if they had known they couldn’t start they should have red flagged it and restarted. On Monday, everyone sits down, all the team managers. The president is also getting involved in this and I’m sure that will be high on the agenda.”

Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto also criticized the FIA’s decision, but Toto Wolff, Hamilton’s manager at Mercedes, made it clear that the FIA ​​had at least followed their own rules this time. “I am very pleased to see that there is a race director and colleagues who enforce the rules against the pressure from the media and the pressure from the fans and everyone to break the rules,” he said. “So at least Abu Dhabi, in that sense, gave the FIA ​​stronger confidence to enforce the regulations.”

However, he also agreed that F1 needed to find a more satisfactory way of ensuring that races were completed in racing conditions, provided the way to do so was strictly defined in the rules, which no doubt will address the summit. “I think we should all sit down and say if there’s anything we can do better, but what happened on Sunday is in the rule book, and that’s why it was enforced,” he said. “Would you have wanted to do one last lap with a bunch of cars on top of each other at the chicane? Yeah, good TV.”

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