FIA slam 'offensive' Hamilton claim that pile-up caused by push for 'exciting' restarts

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Lewis Hamilton's suggestion that the main straight pile-up was caused by a push for "exciting" restarts is "offensive", FIA race director Michael Masi says.

After the Tuscan Grand Prix, 12 drivers were handed formal warnings as the stewards believed their actions contributed to the four-car crash, which saw Antonio Giovinazzi and Carlos Sainz both hit the slow-moving Haas of Kevin Magnussen at quite high-speed.

The concertina effect was caused by drivers eagerly trying to get an advantage on the long run to Turn 1, but leader Valtteri Bottas would leave it as late as possible before going full throttle to minimise the risk of being overtaken.

“Firstly, it’s absolutely not Valtteri’s fault at all,” Hamilton said post-race, with the stewards agreeing the Finn was in the clear.

“It’s the decision makers, I don’t know who. They’re obviously trying to make it more exciting but ultimately today you’ve seen they’ve put people at risk. So, perhaps they need to rethink that.

"They have been moving switching off the Safety Car lights later and later and later and we’re out there fighting for a position. 

“Especially when you earn a position like Valtteri earned the position of being in the lead and then obviously they are trying to make it more exciting – but today was a little bit over the limit perhaps, he [Valtteri] did exactly what anyone would do.”

Asked if the decisions made by Masi and other race officials to put out Safety Cars and red flags were dangerous, Hamilton replied: “I don’t want to overstep the mark.

“I know the fans were excited with the last race, with the restart and everything so it seemed like they… if there’s a piece of paper on the track they’re going to put the red flag out and do a restart and I can understand why and that is exciting.

“Ultimately, these races can get boring when everyone streams out and there’s such big gaps between everyone and so this does bring it back it in.

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“They do it in NASCAR, the put out the yellow flag all the time and safety cars, whatever, all the time to keep the race exciting," Lewis noted, "but they definitely need to take into account the safety aspect because today wasn’t particularly safe with the restart.

“I could almost see that coming. I’m sure they will learn from it and we will move together, the sport together.”

Bottas largely echoed his Mercedes teammate with his own comments on the matter, but in response, Masi was adamant there was no truth to the claims.

“From an FIA perspective, safety is paramount, full stop. End of story,” he told RaceFans.

“In my capacity as the race director and safety delegate, point blank, that’s where my role sits as the sporting integrity and safety.

“And anyone that says otherwise is actually quite offensive.”


As for the complaint about the Safety Car lights being switched out later, notifying the drivers that it will pit at the end of the lap, the Australian was equally stern.

“They [the drivers] can criticise all they want,” said the FIA race director.

“If we have a look at a distance perspective from where the lights were extinguished to the control line, [it’s] probably not dissimilar, if not longer, than at a number of other venues.

“At the end of the day, the Safety Car lights go out where they do, the Safety Car is in pit lane, we have the 20 best drivers in the world, and as we saw earlier today in the Formula 3 race, those drivers in the junior category had a very, very similar restart to what was occurring in the F1 race and navigated it quite well without incident.”