Drivers express concern about safety procedures

Questions have been raised in regard to the length of time it took the medical crew to arrive at the scene of Ralf Schumacher's accident at Indianapolis. The Williams driver crashed at the last corner, due to a puncture, and the badly damaged car...

Questions have been raised in regard to the length of time it took the medical crew to arrive at the scene of Ralf Schumacher's accident at Indianapolis. The Williams driver crashed at the last corner, due to a puncture, and the badly damaged car came to a halt on the main straight. Reports vary but it was somewhere between one and three minutes before Schumacher received attention.

"I'm disappointed if he was sitting there for a few minutes because that's life or death stuff," said McLaren's David Coulthard, according to Autosport. "That needs to be looked at."

The race continued under the safety car but many people thought it should have been red flagged, including the Scot. "After the crash I was on the radio to the team and my exact words were, 'Tell Charlie Whiting to stop the race because there's too much debris and someone is going to get a puncture'," Coulthard added.

BAR's Jenson Button was in agreement, for the safety of not only Schumacher but also the other drivers. The Briton said the safety car should have taken the pack through the pit lane instead of past the scene of the accident.

"I think it should have been stopped," said Button. "The accident was bad in itself but there was debris as well. It should have been stopped or they should have taken us through the pit lane and the hoovers brought out."

The amount of debris on the track could have caused further problems but Coulthard conceded that the clean-up crews had done a good job. "What I was worried about was doing the restart and going down the start/finish straight with bits of carbon flying everywhere," he explained.

"That stuff is nasty when it gets into a tire. But they did a good job clearing and perhaps I was forgetting that they are used to clearing up loads of debris from big shunts here at Indianapolis. In hindsight I think Charlie (Whiting, FIA race director) was probably right to leave the race running."

Renault's Fernando Alonso also suffered a high-speed crash caused by a puncture, although he escaped unharmed. After inspecting his and Schumacher's deflated tyres, Michelin concluded the punctures had been caused by debris on the track, probably from an early incident at the first corner.

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Jenson Button , Ralf Schumacher , David Coulthard , Fernando Alonso
Teams McLaren , Williams