Lando Norris lashes out at ‘unacceptable’ FIA

The Japanese Grand Prix was stopped at the end of the second lap following heavy rain and a crash for Carlos Sainz.

The first Japanese Grand Prix since 2019 is one that will be discussed for years to come; however, it’s for all the wrong reasons.

Max Verstappen claimed his 12th victory of the year at the Suzuka International Racing Course to finally become a double World Champion, although, an incident on the second lap of the incredibly wet race completely overshadowed what was another imperious victory.

The Grand Prix controversially started right at the point when the already falling rain suddenly intensified, with the likes of Alex Albon labelling the weather as the “worst” he’s ever driven in.

Those in the midfield were unable to see much further than 10 metres, which saw drivers “pinball” across the circuit in a bid to find where the edges of Suzuka were.

READ: Alex Albon chimes in on Japanese GP debate

Sebastian Vettel was the only driver to spin at the opening corner; however, he was soon joined by Carlos Sainz who crashed heavily on the outside of Turn 12, after aquaplaning across one of the many rivers running across the circuit.

Sainz was a complete passenger as his F1-75 slide across the circuit before colliding heavily with the barrier.

The contact with the barrier resulted in advertising boarding falling onto the circuit, which was hit by a helpless Pierre Gasly.

Gasly pitted for a new front-wing and tyres at the end of the lap, whilst a Safety Car was released following Sainz’s crash.

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The Frenchman dropped well behind the pack, so admittedly drove faster than he should’ve done to catch-up with the field.

However, when approaching Turn 12 he narrowly avoided driving straight into the back of a recovery vehicle, which had for some reason been released onto the circuit, despite it still being live.

Gasly was gobsmacked by what he’d seen and shouted over the radio that it was “unacceptable”.

“God! What the?! What is this tractor?!” Gasly said on the team radio, whilst clearly, and understandably, being shaken up.

“What is this tractor on track? I passed next to it, This is unacceptable! What has happened? Can’t believe this.”

The AlphaTauri driver was very vocal after the race, where he insisted that the FIA had learnt nothing from the tragic death of Jules Bianchi in 2015, who died as a result of the injuries he sustained after crashing under a recovery vehicle during a wet 2014 Japanese GP.

The race was red-flagged moments after Gasly missed the tractor, with the incident being shown several times during the interval.

During the break, Lando Norris shared his thoughts on the incident over Twitter, with the McLaren driver equally insisting that it was “unacceptable” for a tractor to be allowed onto the track during a wet race.

“Wtf. How’s this happened!?” Norris questioned on Twitter.

“We lost a life in this situation years ago. We risk our lives, especially in conditions like this. We wanna race. But this… Unacceptable.”

Norris’ comments were supported by McLaren boss Andreas Seidl, who explained that he needs a “behind closed doors” chat with the FIA.

Seidl was adamant that what happened “must not happen”, with the Woking-based outfit’s boss hoping to resolve what happened in a “constructive way”.

READ: ‘It’s just worthless’: Carlos Sainz baffled by the FIA

 “It’s clear that what happened there absolutely must not happen, no doubt,” said Seidl.

“But at the same time, that’s for me a discussion that we have behind closed doors with the FIA and the race directors, because that’s the right way to work together in a constructive way, that’s why I want to keep it like that.”

Gasly was summoned to the stewards after the race and was awarded a 20-second time penalty and two penalty points, after being deemed to have driven too fast when the red flag was flown moments after he nearly hit the tractor.