Why F1 drivers were allowed to cause Dutch GP pitlane traffic jam

FIA Formula 1 race director Michael Masi says that it was his suggestion for drivers to wait at the Zandvoort pit exit in order to create a gap in qualifying.

Why F1 drivers were allowed to cause Dutch GP pitlane traffic jam

The Dutch GP weekend saw the unusual sight of drivers waiting in the narrow pit exit lane before commencing their out laps.

Because it was not possible to pass that sometimes led to frustration for those behind and who were keen to get going.

In some cases, drivers failed to get round in time to get their final lap in, or were not able to bring their tyres in as planned.

Creating gaps has become a regular issue in recent seasons, and has often led to penalties for drivers judged to have impeded rivals.

Aston Martin's Sebastian Vettel qualified only 17th at Zandvoort after being blocked by traffic in Q1.

"It happens too frequently," Aston team principal Otmar Szafnauer told Motorsport.com. "And then the guy who first blocks somebody on the fast lap gets the punishment usually.

"But it shouldn't be that guy, it should be everybody that caused the train. And that's what the FIA should be looking at, and punish those who start the process.

"You can't block the pitlane once you're out of it unless you can wait off to the side and allow people to go past you so they get their lap in."

Nikita Mazepin, Haas VF-21, Sebastian Vettel, Aston Martin AMR21

Nikita Mazepin, Haas VF-21, Sebastian Vettel, Aston Martin AMR21

Photo by: Jerry Andre / Motorsport Images

In terms of gap creation, Masi has made calls on a circuit-by-circuit basis. In Azerbaijan, drivers were told to back off well before the end of the lap, and not in the fast sweeping turns that lead to the start/finish area.

The tight Zandvoort lap meant that he asked drivers to create a gap before going onto the track.

"A few of the teams spoke to me about it," the Australian explained. "And because of the nature of the circuit I said I would prefer that they created their gaps at this venue in the pit exit road, rather than out on the track.

"And I think everyone accepted that, and all of them were doing exactly the same thing. So just purely because of the nature of the venue. I think they all got that message quite well."

The next F1 venue in Monza has been the scene of controversy in recent years with drivers backing off and trying to get into position to get a tow.

In 2019 those at the front slowed so much that most of the Q3 contenders failed to get a final lap in, and last year drivers were cautioned to avoid driving unnecessarily slowly.

"A completely different set of circumstances and we'll deal with Monza separately," said Masi. "Plus obviously it's a sprint qualifying event next weekend.

"Here has been what it's been, and Monza will be what Monza will be. And events after that we'll look at each and every one based on the track characteristics."

Read Also:

Masi also clarified why Q2 at Zandvoort was not restarted after Nicholas Latifi's crash brought out a red flag with 1m38s on the clock – sufficient time for at least a few drivers to get a final lap in.

"I think you just hit the nail on the head, only a few," said Masi. "And we always, if you have a look, do not restart a qualifying session unless anyone that's able to participate in that session can all get out of pit exit and start their flying laps.

"From a sporting equity perspective we have always not re-commenced any part of qualifying if not everyone can get out, make it around and start their flying lap.

"At some circuits it's two minutes, two and a half minutes. You need to evaluate each and every circuit of what it is.

"But you look at the prime example of people slowing in the pit exit road and things like that, and everyone trying to create the gaps - there was no way that everyone could have got out and start a flying lap."

shares
comments

Related video

Could Zandvoort layout inspire other F1 circuits to change tack?

Previous article

Could Zandvoort layout inspire other F1 circuits to change tack?

Next article

George Russell braced for steep Mercedes F1 learning curve

George Russell braced for steep Mercedes F1 learning curve
Load comments
Russian Grand Prix driver ratings Prime

Russian Grand Prix driver ratings

The 2021 Russian GP was decided by late-arriving rain that allowed some to climb and caused others to plummet. But the events which played out beforehand are equally significant when considering the all-important driver ratings

The "blind faith" Mercedes call that won Hamilton his 100th F1 race Prime

The "blind faith" Mercedes call that won Hamilton his 100th F1 race

Until rain turned the Russian Grand Prix on its head in the closing stages, Lando Norris was set to convert his first Formula 1 pole position into a maiden win. But having recovered well from being shuffled back at the start, Hamilton and his Mercedes team called the changing conditions spot-on for a landmark 100th F1 victory

Why momentum is again behind Australia's aces Prime

Why momentum is again behind Australia's aces

At the Italian Grand Prix Daniel Ricciardo turned around a troubled F1 season and, in F2, Oscar Piastri demonstrated once again that he is a potential star of the future. BEN EDWARDS weighs up the prospects of F1 having two Australian stars

Formula 1
Sep 26, 2021
The tough balancing act facing Schumacher’s Netflix film producers Prime

The tough balancing act facing Schumacher’s Netflix film producers

Michael Schumacher is the latest sporting superstar to get the ‘Netflix treatment’, with a special documentary film airing on the US streaming giant’s platform this month. DAMIEN SMITH has the inside track on how the filmmakers gained access to tell the human story behind one of Formula 1’s most publicity-shy champions - while the man himself, for obvious reasons, is in absentia… 

Formula 1
Sep 25, 2021
Why Verstappen should be confident of Russian GP recovery Prime

Why Verstappen should be confident of Russian GP recovery

For the second race in a row, Mercedes has ended the first day of track action on top. It’s in a commanding position at the Russian Grand Prix once again – this time largely thanks to Max Verstappen’s upcoming engine-change grid penalty. But there’s plenty to suggest all hope is not lost for the championship leader at Sochi...

Formula 1
Sep 24, 2021
Why dumping the MGU-H is the right move for F1 Prime

Why dumping the MGU-H is the right move for F1

OPINION: With its days apparently numbered, the MGU-H looks set to be dropped from Formula 1’s future engine rules in order to entice new manufacturers in. While it may appear a change of direction, the benefits for teams and fans could make the decision a worthwhile call

Formula 1
Sep 23, 2021
The floundering fortunes of F1’s many Lotus reboots Prime

The floundering fortunes of F1’s many Lotus reboots

Team Lotus ceased to exist in 1994 - and yet various parties have been trying to resurrect the hallowed name, in increasingly unrecognisable forms, ever since. Damien Smith brings GP Racing’s history of the legendary team to an end with a look at those who sought to keep the flame alive in Formula 1.

Formula 1
Sep 22, 2021
Why the 2021 title fight is far from F1's worst, despite its toxic background Prime

Why the 2021 title fight is far from F1's worst, despite its toxic background

OPINION: Formula 1 reconvenes for the Russian Grand Prix two weeks after the latest blow in ‘Max Verstappen vs Lewis Hamilton’. While the Silverstone and Monza incidents were controversial, they thankfully lacked one element that so far separates the 2021 title fight from the worst examples of ugly championship battles

Formula 1
Sep 22, 2021