F1 Race Director explains Eifel GP Safety Car
By Mat Coch
Tuesday 13th October, 2020 - 8:30am
Michael Masi has explained why Race Control elected to deploy the Safety Car in the latter stages of the Eifel Grand Prix.
Lando Norris pulled his McLaren off the road after 42 laps of the Nurburgring, parking it near an opening in the fence at the Ford Kurve (Turn 6).
Though seemingly out of harm’s way, the Safety Car was deployed soon after.
“Lando’s car had some smoke and fire, so that was one point,” FIA Race Director Masi explained.
“The other was, at first glance, we weren’t confident that the car could actually be recovered into the opening that was there, due to the tightness of it.
“So rather than having to react along the way, it was determined to go for a Safety Car; that way it could be dealt with all at once immediately.
“It was the safest action in that circumstance.”
The Safety Car picked up the field on Lap 45 and remained on track until the end of Lap 49.
That interruption allowed Daniel Ricciardo to take to the pits, replacing his worn out medium compound tyres with a set of new softs.
It also covered off the risk posed by Sergio Perez, who had 16 lap newer tyres on his fourth placed Racing Point.
“I just didn’t understand why the safety car was out for so long,” Verstappen exclaimed post-race.
“The car was cleared. I understand they want to bunch up the field, but it’s pretty dangerous with these cars when the tyres are so cold.”
Masi explained: “There’s a requirement in the sporting regulations to wave all lapped cars past.
“So I think from that point, it was position six onwards that was still running.
“So 10, 11 cars, that had to unlap themselves, and therefore the Safety Car period was a bit longer than what we would have normally expected.”
Lewis Hamilton went on to win the race from Verstappen with Ricciardo third, his maiden podium for Renault.