Pierre Gasly, a number of current and ex-F1 drivers, plus virtually the entire Formula 1 community, were left seething with anger with the FIA once again, as what was almost a deadly incident came to surface.
The first Japanese Grand Prix since 2019 began under what were initially wet but seemingly manageable conditions. However, Carlos Sainz crashed during the incredibly long Turn 12, after aquaplaning over one of the few rivers that ran across the Suzuka International Racing Course.
The incident saw the Spaniard slide across the circuit and crash into the barrier on the outside of the corner, which saw some advertising boarding fall onto the circuit, with Sainz’s F1-75 also stopping just on the edge of the circuit.
Gasly happened to run over the boarding, which resulted in a broken front-wing, which led to the Frenchman pitting at the end of the first lap for a new front-wing and full Wet tyres as the rain suddenly intensified.
A Safety Car was released following Sainz’s collision, meaning that the AlphaTauri driver was able to catch-up with the pack.
In order to get onto the rear of the field, Gasly was going perhaps slightly faster than he should’ve done, but what he came across was simply unacceptable.
As the Alpine-bound driver exited the Turn 11 hairpin, the race was still under double-waved yellow flags; however, the Frenchman almost hit a tractor which had been released onto the circuit to collect Sainz’s car.
The Frenchman was absolutely livid, as were the entire F1 community, who couldn’t believe that the FIA allowed a tractor to go onto a circuit whilst cars were still going past, with the drivers struggling to see too far into the distance.
Gasly was immediately onto his radio, where he understandably shouted, “I could have f*****g killed myself!’.
The incident wasn’t initially seen; however, it soon came to light what had happened after it was uploaded onto social media and then eventually discussed by broadcasters, during the red flag break.
It brought back far too many memories of the 2014 Japanese Grand Prix, where in what were similar conditions, Jules Bianchi sadly lost his life as a result of the injuries he sustained after crashing under a recovery vehicle.
Gasly has actually been summoned to the stewards who believe the Frenchman was driving too quickly; however, even if he were slightly over the speed he should’ve been doing, there is no excuse that could make a tractor entering a live circuit during incredibly heavy rain sound correct.
When the race was resumed, Gasly ended up finishing P17, although by the end of the race he was probably less than bothered about scoring points following what almost happened.
Bianchi’s father also took to Instagram to share his sheer frustration and anger at the FIA, who it appears haven’t learned their lesson following the death of Philippe Bianchi’s son, who was predicted to achieve incredible things in Formula 1.
On Instagram, Bianchi’s father wrote underneath an image from the incident, “No respect for the life of the driver. No respect for Jules’ memory. Incredible.”