No safety car?

The race must go on....even when you're putting lives at risk?

I've never understood Formula One's policies when it comes to full-course cautions. I can say the same for NASCAR as well. In NASCAR's case however, they seem a bit too trigger happy on throwing cautions while in Formula One, they are much too conservative on when they opt for a safety car intervention.

It's perfectly understandable and even somwhat applaudable that Charlie Whiting is hesitant to completely change the complexion of a race because of a stalled car. But, there's a point when you have to use common sense and say no, this is too dangerous; the risk isn't worth it.

In this particular situation, what happens if a car suddenly swerves out of line in order to overtake or another driver has an issue? What if one of the track workers tripped, like this marshal did in the 2011 Canadian Grand Prix? And this was actually when I safety car was on the track mind you...

The lives of the track marshals and potentially the drivers is not worth keeping the the current race that is unfolding intact. If you look at the crash on the opening lap of that German GP, the marshals were actually safer in that situation than they were with the Sutil deal. Yet, there was a safety car intervention for the Massa crash and not Sutil's spin (and there should have been one for both incidents, don't get me wrong). Massa's car was a good distance away from the track and Felipe quickly exited the wreckage while Sutil's machine sat sideways and perfectly exposed on the exit of a fast corner.

I'm hearing that this is a 'new approach' by the powers that be in an effort to reduce  interference in the racing. I'm sorry, but what I saw Sunday was just stupid. They decided not to deploy the safety car on the grounds that everyone will avoid the accident scene and the marshals that are scurrying across the track. Officiating a race under such assumptions is nothing but superfluous and illogical.


They based their decision on probability. They based a decision that could put the lives of both track workers and racing drivers in jeopordy on the probability that something won't happen. You're just asking for trouble when you do stuff like that.

We waited an hour to repair the barrier that Kimi Raikkonen struck at Silverstone. The chances of another car hitting that exact spot during that race again were slim to none, yet, officials chose to fix it regardless. There was far more risk of something catastrophic happening with the Sutil situation, but the same precautionary protocals were not employed this time around, which is quite perplexing.

Tell me, what was the probability of those events unfolding the way they did? It was unlikely, but still possible, and it happened. Placing a decision that could have dire consequences cost two men their lives that day. Let me ask you this. What was the probability that track marshal Frederick Jansen van Vuuren would get run down by a car in the 1977 South African Grand Prix? What was the probability that his fire extinguisher would strike racer Tom Pryce in the head, killing him instantly as well?

Why then are we still doing the exact same thing 37 years after that tragic incident when there's a much safer option just the push of a button away? You are playing with fire Formula One....and you're eventually going to get burned.

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series Formula 1
Event German GP
Sub-event Sunday race
Track Hockenheim
Drivers Kimi Raikkonen , Adrian Sutil
Article type Commentary
Tags marshals, safety car, sauber