Pierre Gasly says he’s lucky to be alive in fiery rant

The FIA's negligence could have had lethal consequences in Suzuka, Pierre Gasly has warned.

AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly launched a heavy tirade of criticism at race control after they put his life at risk during the 2022 Japanese Grand Prix.

The FIA ruled that the start of the wet race would be completed in intermediate conditions, with a standing start taking place.

However, visibility was awful, as were the grip levels, and Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz span off into the barrier after he lost control of his car at Turn 11 on the opening lap.

Gasly was behind the rest of the field having started from the pit lane, and when he traversed the scene of Sainz’s crash for a second time, he narrowly avoided a recovery vehicle.

READ: Pierre Gasly fumes at the FIA as he faces penalty

Race director, Eduardo Freitas, had somehow decided that sending the crane onto the circuit to collect the Ferrari was a good idea.

Jules Bianchi passed away in 2015 after spending months in a coma following his crash at the Japanese Grand Prix in 2014.

A recovery vehicle had been sent out to pick up Adrian Sutil’s Sauber, and the Frenchman, having lost control at Dunlop, crashed into it.

Freitas and the FIA showed on Sunday that lessons have not been learned from the events of eight years ago, and that the safety of the drivers is still being disregarded.

Article continues below

Onboard shots on Sebastian Vettel’s car appeared to show that the truck had been sent onto the track before the red flag was deployed.

Alex Albon also indicated that the four-time champion has warned the FIA about sending vehicles onto the racetrack, and they still put lives at risk.

Bianchi’s passing was supposed to serve as a legacy and a pivotal moment for safety in motorsport, but the FIA belittled that in the opening stages of the race in Suzuka.

“We lost Jules already,” an emotional Gasly told Sky Sports.

“We all lost an amazing guy, an amazing driver, for the reasons that we know.

“Eight years ago, on the same track, in the same conditions with a crane. How? How today we can see a crane, not even in the gravel, on the racetrack, while we are still on the track?

“I don’t understand that.

“Obviously I got scared, obviously if I lost the car in a similar way as Carlos lost it the way before, it doesn’t matter the speed, 200, 100 [kph], I would have just died. Simple as that.

“I don’t understand that, it’s disrespectful to Jules, disrespectful to his family and all of us.

“We are risking our lives out there, and always, we are doing the best job in the world but what we are asking is at least keep us safe, it’s already dangerous enough.

“And today I just feel it was unnecessary to… we could have waited one minute to get back in the pit lane and then put the tractors on track.

“I’m just extremely grateful that I’m here, and tonight I’m going to call my family and all my loved ones.

“And the outcome is the way that it is because I passed two metres from that crane. If I would have passed two metres to the left, I would have been dead.”

The stewards blamed Gasly for the near miss, indicating that he was going too quickly under red flag conditions.

The 26-year-old rubbished their excuse, and confirmed that he was staying within his delta time.

“I was respecting my delta lap time,” affirmed Gasly.

“We’ve got a lap time to respect on the steering, and I was nine seconds slower than that delta, so this is not fair.

“This is not fair because I was doing everything correctly, that crane should not have been there.

“And if I would have been dead right now, if I would have crashed into that crane, what’s the outcome?

“I don’t think an tractors should be on the racetrack. They’re probably going to say I’m wrong, and probably all my mistake.

“I don’t know, what I care about is my colleagues, all of us, and as individuals, we don’t face this situation because today, if I would have aquaplaned the way that Carlos did the lap before, I would not be standing here.

“And there would be another one after Jules, and Jules was extremely painful, and I don’t think it’s respectful towards him towards his family.”

Gasly hopes that lessons will be learned from what could have been a fatal mistake by Freitas and his team.

READ: ‘Get out of the way’: George Russell’s near-miss with Pierre Gasly at Suzuka

“I think the most important is… everything was fine today, but we came close to a dramatic outcome.

“Most important is for the future that they don’t put us in that situation when it’s not necessary. We could have waited one more minute, and all got back in the pit lane, and put the tractors out there.”

Max Verstappen went on to win the race in Japan, claiming his second world title in the process.