China pitlane vehicle incident 'low key but unacceptable' - FIA

FIA Formula 1 race director Charlie Whiting believes the Chinese Grand Prix qualifying pit vehicle incident was "low key", although still "unacceptable"

China pitlane vehicle incident 'low key but unacceptable' - FIA

Jenson Button declared the positioning of a circuit vehicle close to the entrance of the pitlane in Q1 as "the most dangerous part of the session".

He argued the vehicle could have been hit by an F1 car going off at that point.

Responding to Button's comments, Whiting told Autosport: "The driver of the circuit vehicle that decided to park in the run-off area of the pit entry was rather silly, but he moved it very quickly.

"This man had been brought in specially to drive the pick-up that was cleaning the track, ironically a new measure this year meant to improve safety by cleaning the track better, and it was used to very good effect.

"The driver lacked experience and won't do it again, but it must be emphasised this is not a normal run-off area and the risk was low. Unacceptable nonetheless."

Button also questioned why the vehicle did not prompt a red flag given one was called when Nico Hulkenberg lost a wheel but parked his Force India off track.

Whiting added: "No flags were shown because this was not on the track.

"It was in no way comparable with the incident involving Hulkenberg whose car had stopped on the side of the track, with a wheel bouncing around all over the place."

Qualifying was also halted for 20 minutes while the circuit truck made an attempt to remove water on the pits straight after Manor rookie Pascal Wehrlein aquaplaned into the barriers on a wet section he had not seen due to a small rise in the asphalt.

"We decided we would try and remove some of the water as it appeared drivers were actually capable of ignoring the fact that the grip of the track had changed," said Whiting.

"If half the track was wet and half was dry would we be expected to dry the wet half? I think not.

"The reason it took a little while is that they were trying to remove the water as opposed to drying it."

Another unusual incident arose between Q2 and Q3 when a forklift truck emerged with a tyre bundle used for support races.

"The tyre bundle that was put out on the apex of Turn 14 was done mistakenly as the marshals thought that qualifying had finished," Whiting explained.

"I suspect when we told the clerk of the course we would not be continuing Q2 [following Hulkenberg's accident] he thought we meant qualifying in general.

"No harm was done as they were removed long before the cars went back on track.

"It was quite amusing to hear all the team managers calling to wonder why we were doing this.

"I confess I did wind one of them up by saying we were getting fed up with drivers abusing the kerb and decided to take a drastic measure to deter them."

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