Ocon: F1 drivers will learn from Mugello restart carnage
Esteban Ocon says that Formula 1 drivers will learn a lesson from the crash at the safety car restart in the Tuscan Grand Prix.
The Renault man was one of 12 drivers to receive a warning from the FIA stewards after the incident that saw Carlos Sainz, Kevin Magnussen, Antonio Giovinazzi and Nicholas Latifi eliminated from the race.
Ocon, who was just in front of the collisions, admitted that he was so surprised by the lack of reaction from the cars ahead that he thought his team was mistaken when it told him that the race was restarting.
“I've re-watched a bit the video,” said the Frenchman. “Clearly the safety car light got switched off a lot later than what we are used to in this race.
“From where we're sitting in the car, I got told 'safety car is in this lap.' But the guys were still driving like if there was another lap, so I thought maybe there was a misunderstanding with me and the team, maybe there's another one, that we are going for another lap.
“And actually, no it wasn't. We stayed for a very long time at slow speed. Obviously there's a short acceleration, which increases from the back, because the guys at the back are catching up more of a gap. So it's a bit like motorway traffic.
“And yeah, it caught everyone by surprise, just behind me. I got lucky to not get hit in the back. But some didn't, unfortunately.”
Asked about the regulation that requires drivers not to undertake “no erratic acceleration or braking” at a restart, he said: “We like everything being precise in F1, rule-wise, but it's not always easy to do so. I'm pretty sure it's going to be discussed at the next FIA drivers' meeting, that topic.
“Now that everyone knows that this can happen. I think we are going to be all more aware that there could be braking, or there could be a very late restart like there was now.
“The last time something happened like that was Baku in F2 , I think that's the similar example that comes into my mind.”
Although Ocon avoided the accident, he was forced to retire before the restart due to an overheating brake issue.
“It was not an easy race obviously on our side,” he said. “It's a shame because I would have liked to be part of that one, obviously.
“I think the base of the car was very strong, so that's the positive of it. I had a clean start, Turn One was also pretty good, but then I had to avoid Carlos [Sainz] who spun, I lost again the position that I more or less did right in the first corner.
“And after that we were struggling with that brake overheating issue on the rear under the safety car, and obviously it came up. We lost a bit of data from there, and when we came to a stop on the red flag it was impossible to repair in such a short time. We decided to retire the car.”
Asked if the team knew the cause of the overheating, he added: “Not really, we were not sure, it could be caused by debris that came into the duct, But we are still reviewing it.”
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