Start, Mugello, 2020

Tuscan Grand Prix red-flagged on lap eight as two crashes wipe out six cars

2020 Tuscan Grand Prix Ferrari 1000

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The Tuscan Grand Prix has been red-flagged after a pair of crashes at the start of the race.

A major crash at a Safety Car restart left the pit straight covered in debris and wrecked cars. The race had been restarted following another multi-car crash at Luco on lap one.

Max Verstappen and Pierre Gasly were taken out of the race on the initial start. The Red Bull driver was falling back into the pack due to a problem with his power unit when he was collected by Gasly and Kimi Raikkonen, who tangled on the run out of Dan Donato.

Carlos Sainz Jnr and Lance Stroll collided ahead of them, but both were able to continue.

Following a length interruption to clear the track, the race restarted behind the Safety Car. The field bunched up tightly behind race leader Valtteri Bottas and several cars at the back of the field collided.

Antonio Giovinazzi made heavy contact with Kevin Magnussen, sending the Haas into the side of Nicholas Latifi’s Williams. Sainz also ran into the back of Giovinazzi’s Alfa Romeo. All four were eliminated from the race.

The red flags were shown soon afterwards and the depleted, 14-car field returned to the pits. The race is expected to resume with a standing restart.

“That was fucking stupid from whoever was at the front,” fumed Grosjean on his radio. “They want to kill us or what? This is the worst thing I’ve seen ever.”

Bottas asked his team for an explanation what had happened at the restart. “I think Valtteri it was people going between you’d gone so they concertina-ed into each other,” said strategist James Vowles.

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2020 Tuscan Grand Prix Ferrari 1000

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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13 comments on “Tuscan Grand Prix red-flagged on lap eight as two crashes wipe out six cars”

  1. From Grosjean’s perspective it must’ve looked like the leader slowed down significantly, but Bottas didn’t slow down, he drove slowly all the way to the SC line as any leader would’ve done. The accident was a combination of SC line being so far away from the last corner, SC turning off its light so late and bad luck. It wasn’t Bottas’ fault.

    1. FIA fault for the safety car lights out point. Reminds me of the Baku chaos

  2. They should have changed the safety car “lights out” point after the two F2 safety car periods which showed it was an accident waiting to happen. How could they not react before F2…

    1. They have to show the leader that he has to prepare to take over pacing the field though. The SC heads into the pits out of the last corner, and from there on Bottas could have started speeding up right away, if he had wanted.

      Off course he didn’t want to do that and give all the cars right behind a great chance of blasting past him. The mistake was made earlier, as Latifi mentioned the guys in the back were already starting to get racy even at the stretch BEFORE the last corner, way before they were ever allowed to start racing again @theessence

  3. Bottas waits in his car.

  4. Before F1*

  5. I know Bottas didn’t break the rules but I think his conduct on the restart was poor. Leaving it until just before the line to launch and weaving at the last second amplified in to an inevitable crash lower in the field.

    1. Every driver expected bottas to do what he did. Start at the last moment to prevent the Tow. Some people just thought they could outsmart everybody. Well, they couldn’t.

    2. Bottas did nothing wrong. But the whole restart is fundamentally flawed because it has few small issues in it that create big consequences. When you have cars at the front going constant speed, cars at the rear who are catching up and cars in the middle who are yoyoing their speed you have the best chance to create big crash. That speed difference will eventually become huge between two cars which creates too small gap and the car behind can not stop.

      And what is worse there is no indication for the cars further down behind to know when the leaders are going. This is partially why the yoyoing happens. A driver thinks the race has started, accelerates and then brakes when he notices it didn’t start. This creates a yoyoing that effect where everybody behind needs to accelerate and then brake. Drivers also want to guess and predict when the race starts by accelerating little earlier. At that point a crash is 100% certainty because the rules demand very small gaps (10 car lengths) and the speed of an f1 can change quicker than humans can perceive. By the time a driver notices the car ahead is suddenly braking the speed difference can be 200kmh between the two and the distance is just 25 meters.

      Sporting code 39.17 says it very clearly tho:
      “In order to avoid the likelihood of accidents before the safety car returns to the pits, from the
      point at which the lights on the car are turned out drivers must proceed at a pace which
      involves no erratic acceleration or braking nor any other manoeuvre which is likely to endanger
      other drivers or impede the restart.”

      But you still have room for bad motivations and misjudgments. Cars behind need to catch to the car in front and it is very difficult to see when the leader goes, when the race starts. So on one level drivers must be ready to accelerate when they think the leader has gone (who they can not see) but they are also penalized if they don’t go or go too early. Penalizing the driver is the easy part. They did accelerate and brake. But they were reacting to the car in front as that is the only info they have about when the race begins. And as such they need to make a judgment that is very difficult for a human to make. F1 car can go from 250kmh to 100kmh in 1.5 seconds, easily. Take away half of that second for reaction time and nobody can brake early enough. And nobody wants to brake because if you misjudge it you lose positions.

      Bottas kept constant speed. Drivers little behind him did not. Those created the issue but got away clean. The people who crashed thought the race was already going. They broke the rules but they were put into place where no human can make the right call. All the procedures are in such way that it creates this kind of situations. What are you supposed to do in the following situation:

      It is restart. You are 15th. Car ahead accelerates. Do you accelerate? Options below:
      a. you accelerate. The leader has started, restart goes well
      b. you don’t go. The leader has not started, restart goes well
      c. you accelerate. The leader has not started, you brake but already crashed into the car in front.
      d. you don’t accelerate. The leader has started, you lose positions.
      In all 4 situations the driver has the same amount of information. It is down to making the right guess.

  6. That whole restart procedure needs to be re-examined. Am I right in assuming the the green lights can come on, but the race doesn’t restart until the leader reaches the line? As we saw today, that just sounds like a recipe for disaster if the leader decides to wait until then last second to go.

  7. The whole issue was triggered by Red Bull racing a car that they knew was faulty.
    Max even said it stalled on the formation lap.

    Very dangerous.

    Without it, there wouldn’t have been the safety car and no crash on the restart.

    1. It’s clearly the fault of corona, cause without that we wouldn’t race here.

      1. let´s blame karl benz for inventing the automobile

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