Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto left the Italian Grand Prix frustrated with how race director Niels Wittich dealt with Daniel Ricciardo’s late retirement, by seemingly following the rulebook to a tee.
Ricciardo pulled off the circuit between the two Lesmos on Lap 47/53 to retire, with a Safety Car having been released to recover the Australian’s car.
The recovery process took considerably longer than Wittich expected, as it was revealed that Ricciardo’s MCL36 had been stuck in gear, which resulted in the marshals needing a tractor to remove the car from the circuit.
Due to the amount of time it took, the race finished behind the Safety Car, with the incident not being deemed to require a red flag.
Binotto was furious that Charles Leclerc wasn’t given the opportunity to battle race winner Max Verstappen, with the Ferrari driver finishing the race behind the Safety Car in second place.
“Today we had all the conditions to have a restart of the race, I don’t know why they waited so long,” Binotto told Sky Italy after the race
“The FIA has been caught sleeping, maybe they are not yet ready to deal with these situations.”
Some have called for the rules to be changed so that going forward the race can be restarted should a similar situation occur; however, Binotto doesn’t believe this is necessary.
“No, I don’t think it’s a matter of changing the rules,” said the Ferrari boss.
“The rules have been discussed, largely, especially after Abu Dhabi last year.
“They were discussed with the FIA, F1 and the teams, and we came to a conclusion that the current format is probably the right one to keep. So I don’t think it’s a matter of regulations today
“I am certainly disappointed for how long it took them to decide, and I think we are not understanding why it took so long to release the cars between the safety car and the leader.
“I don’t think safety could be the right reason for it because when you are released, as a driver, you cannot go simply flat out around the track, because there is a minimum lap time, which is set in the regulations
“And this minimum laptime is there to make sure that whenever they are running and driving, they’re doing it safely
“So what we do not understand is, with the current regulations that we believe are right, why it took so long for them to decide.”
Following criticism from members of the paddock and a wave of boos from the Tifosi, the FIA were forced into releasing a statement into why the recovery took longer than expected.
The FIA blamed Ricciardo’s car being stuck in gear as the reason for this, due to it making the recovery more complicated.
Binotto understands that the process of removing the 33-year-old’s car became more difficult due to the issue with his MCL36, but he still firmly believes the race should’ve been restarted some way or another.
“I understand it may have been complicated,” he added.
“But still, in parallel, I think we could have, with the safety car, done a better job in order to prepare the entire train of cars to be ready for a new start of the race. And that didn’t happen.
“So I think simply that was wrong and could have been done better; without changing the regulations. The regulations are in place, it’s only a matter of applying them in a better way.”