Drivers want a say in wet start decisions
|By Mark Glendenning and Jonathan Noble
||Sunday, October 7th 2007, 02:08 GMT
Formula One drivers have asked FIA race director Charlie Whiting to consider their views on whether or not conditions are safe enough to start a race, following the experience of last week's Japanese Grand Prix.
Although the Fuji race began behind the safety car, drivers were complaining of extremely poor visibility and a lack of grip, and many among them felt conditions were too dangerous to race.
And, ahead of what could be again a wet race in China today, the drivers have formed a united front in their belief that they must play a bigger role in deciding if conditions are safe enough to race in.
Toyota's Jarno Trulli, a keen campaigner for improved safety in F1, said that drivers had told Whiting in their briefing on Friday night that they must be consulted more about conditions.
"We just gave Charlie [Whiting] our opinion about the last race, and most of the drivers - I would say 100 percent of the drivers - who have spoken have clearly said that the conditions in Fuji were extreme," said the Italian.
"It was difficult to judge from the outside, but from the inside it was really, really bad. I'm not saying that we shouldn't have raced, but probably we should have thought twice before releasing the safety car.
"What we wanted to say was, next time it would be better if they listened more to the drivers who were driving around the circuit in such bad conditions, and get the right decision. Obviously Fuji was a lucky race, I would say, because nothing happened."
Trulli believes that the discussions on Friday had marked something of a breakthrough, because for the first time in a while all drivers were united.
"I was quite excited because for the first time all the drivers had exactly the same feelings about the last race," he said.
"There is nothing really which has to change. It's just a question of respecting the rules and taking care of safety. Probably from the outside, it didn't look as bad as from the inside.
"That is why I can understand Charlie's position, and that's why we only expressed our position after the Fuji race. Most of the drivers thought it was too dangerous to race and we probably should have delayed it."
Trulli also disputed claims from Fernando Alonso that drivers were widely critical of Lewis Hamilton's driving behind the safety car.
"No, absolutely not. We had a discussion about the several accidents, about the accident with (Sebastian) Vettel, with Mark Webber, with (Robert) Kubica ... many. But not attacking Lewis at all."