Gasly , who received a 20-second post-race penalty for speeding under a red flag during the on-track tow truck incident, says it was an unnecessary risk to have that vehicle there that was going to recover Carlos Sainz ‘s crashed Ferrari while the rest of the pilots kept rolling.
The Frenchman hit remnants of advertising banners that had come off in Sainz’s crash and had to pit to change the front wing, causing him to drop from the back of the pack behind the safety car . The AlphaTauri driver said he stuck to his allowed delta lap time while catching up with the Safety Car-led group, and was passing through the tow truck area when the red flag period kicked in.
What happened was reminiscent of Jules Bianchi’s fatal accident at the rainy 2014 Japanese GP , when he collided with a tow truck recovering Adrian Sutil’s car, prompting a review of racing safety measures.
“We lost Jules [Bianchi] eight years ago in similar conditions with a tow truck on track in the gravel,” Gasly told Motorsport.com when asked about the incident. “I don’t understand how eight years later, in similar conditions, we can still see a crane, not even on the gravel, but on the track.
“It is not respectful to Jules, to his family, to his loved ones and to all of us,” he said. “It was a dramatic incident and I think we learned that day that we don’t want to see any cranes in these kinds of conditions.”
“If I had lost the car in a similar way to how Carlos [Sainz] lost it on the previous lap… I was going 200km/h but that’s not the point, even at 100km/h, if I had lost it and collided with a 12-ton crane, I’d be dead right now.
“I’m so thankful that I’m still standing and that I’m able to call my family tonight and my loved ones and that nothing happened.”
“But really for the sake of us drivers, I hope this may be the last time we see a tow truck and take such an unnecessary risk for all of us racing drivers.”
Gasly explained that due to the layout of the track where Carlos Sainz had crashed and the conditions, he was not able to see the crane until very late.
“It’s a corner so you don’t really see it and there was a safety car, we have a delta lap time to respect and I was nine seconds slower than the delta lap time,” he said.
“I was looking to get to the back of the pack and I saw it at the last moment and when I saw her she was going 200 km/h. crane. I passed two meters to the right, two meters from the crane, which is not acceptable to me as a pilot”.
Pierre Gasly did not want to go into detail about what he told FIA F1 race director Eduardo Freitas in his summons during the red flag stop, but he is sure the incident will be discussed to make changes in the future.
“We were all in the pitlane a minute later. Risking my life for a minute, I don’t think that’s acceptable,” he said. “We have a delta lap time, there is a certain process that we have to follow under the safety car, I was respecting it and there was a tow truck on the line.
“The tow truck was two meters from my left front tire, obviously I got really scared and what went through my mind was… we all had Jules’ accident and if we could go back and change the situation from that day, he I’d still be here.”
“I think we shouldn’t have risked my life, but it’s something we have to discuss. The most important thing is for the future, what I want is for all my teammates to be safe and for all of us, whether in F1 or in the lower categories, hopefully no one has to face a similar situation. Hopefully we can finally learn from this situation.”