Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz has told the FIA that they cannot play with safety after Pierre Gasly narrowly avoided a recovery vehicle in Japan on Sunday.
Sainz started the Japanese Grand Prix third ahead of Sergio Perez, but a great launch from the Mexican got him in front going into Turn One.
Sainz later lost control while going over a river at Turn 11, and he span into the wall, ending his race.
An advertising hoarding was launched into Gasly’s car as he drove past, before the red flag was later deployed to fix the barrier and clear the Ferrari, as well as the Williams of Alex Albon, who had come to a stop.
Gasly, who started from the pit lane, was catching back up to the pack when he drove past the accident for a second time, and he was a matter of inches away from a recovery vehicle that had been sent out on track.
Inexplicably, race director, Eduardo Freitas had allowed the vehicle to enter the racetrack while cars were still travelling around at high speed, and replays suggest that it was already out before the red flag had been shown.
Even under a red flag, visibility is extremely poor, so the Frenchman could barely see the rescue vehicle until he passed it.
Jules Bianchi passed away in 2014 in highly similar circumstances after a crane was sent out to recover the stricken Sauber of Adrian Sutil.
Eight years on, at the same circuit, the governing body gave a grave indication that they have not learned from the events of that fateful day.
The drivers had started the race from the grid on Intermediates, which Sainz was not entirely convinced by.
“Maybe the best would have been a rolling start on extremes – but then it was going to get worse – just to avoid any dangerous situation” he told Sky Sports.
“But then [if] they called us [and told us] we were starting on a rolling start on extremes, everyone complains that Formula 1 doesn’t race in the wet.
“But, when you see the situation, basically we’re driving without visibility, so how can you drive a Formula 1 car at 300kph without visibility?”
The Spaniard was perplexed that, after what happened to Bianchi eight years ago, race control still disregarded safety by sending a vehicle out onto the racetrack.
“I don’t know if people understand, but even behind the Safety Car, we are going at 100-150kph, and still at those speeds we see nothing,” added Sainz.
“So, if one driver decides to get a bit out of the racing line, or has a small aquaplaning or has to change a switch on the steering wheel and gets a bit out of line and hits a tractor, it’s over no?
“I still don’t know why, in these conditions, we’re risking having a tractor on track, because it’s just worthless anyway.
“You were going to red flag it anyway, so why risk it?”
Max Verstappen was crowed champion on Sunday after he took the win from Sergio Perez in second, and Charles Leclerc in third.