Sebastian Vettel tears into the FIA and Pirelli for Japan GP controversy

Sebastian Vettel ultimately came home sixth at the Japanese Grand Prix.

Sebastian Vettel has remarked that it was “lucky” no one got hurt after race control sent a recovery vehicle out onto the racetrack during the Japanese Grand Prix.

Eight years ago at the same race, Jules Bianchi suffered a fatal accident when a crane was deployed at Dunlop to collect the crashed Sauber of Adrian Sutil.

Under yellow flags, the Frenchman lost control, and suffered what should have been a harmless accident had the crane not been in the way.

Since then, deploying vehicles onto the circuit has been deeply frowned upon, so there was shock and anger when one was deployed after Carlos Sainz’s crash last weekend.

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The race had started in extremely wet conditions, but the drivers set off on Intermediates rather than full Wets, while a standing start was called rather than a rolling one.

The crane was deployed while the drivers were still racing, and visibility was poor, so Pierre Gasly struggled to see the crane on the track as he was passing it.

The AlphaTauri driver missed it by a couple of metres, in a negligent decision by the FIA that could have led to the death of a driver and marshals.

Adam Cooper, a long-term journalist in the Formula 1 paddock, reported that the drivers were “angry” about the presence of the vehicle after what happened eight years ago, as it had been released before the red flag was deployed.

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Vettel wants to ascertain what transpired in the build-up to the incident, and he asks that the extreme Wets be made easier to get up to temperature so that they can be safely used in tough conditions.

“After what happened, there’s a lot of things that led to this circumstance which we need to understand first,” he told Sky Sports. 

“The entire grid leaves on the wrong tyre, which we were all to blame but then no one to blame because we’re all in the same pressured position. 

“We have an Intermediate tyre that is a lot faster than an extreme tyre, the extreme tyre is a tyre for the condition, but it’s so slow that you’re pressured to go onto the next tyre. 

“That needs to be improved, that would have solved the problem. 

“We are not able to race when there is some water on the track because the water drainage is probably not good enough. We’ve known this for years but then one thing leads to another and then we had a crash with Carlos going off. 

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“Visibility is close to none when you’re inside the car following with a spray. We’re lucky that nothing happened but we need to understand and make sure that it just mustn’t happen.”

Recovery vehicles ae now typically only sent out after the Safety Car or Virtual Safety Car is deployed, after Bianchi was killed by a crane that was out in an isolated caution zone.

Despite what happened that day, Vettel affirmed that there is “probably not enough” awareness of safety given what happened in 2014.