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FIA vows to publish F1 Japanese GP crane incident report

The FIA has completed its investigation into the timing and use of the recovery vehicles at Formula 1’s Japanese Grand Prix and revealed that “procedural issues” were to blame.

The car of Carlos Sainz, Ferrari F1-75, is recovered with a truck

The car of Carlos Sainz, Ferrari F1-75, is recovered with a truck

Steven Tee / Motorsport Images

In the wake of Carlos Sainz's opening lap crash on the run out of Suzuka’s hairpin, marshals sent a recovery truck onto the circuit to help retrieve the stranded Ferrari.

With memories still fresh of the incident at the 2014 Japanese GP, where Jules Bianchi suffered injuries he would later succumb to after hitting a similar crane in a run-off area, there was widespread unease in the paddock about what happened.

A number of drivers expressed their concern about the tractor being there as they toured around behind the safety car, while AlphaTauri's Pierre Gasly – who drove past at much higher speed as he was off the back of the pack following a pitstop – was left furious at the dangerous situation.

Following the World Motor Sport Council meeting at the Royal Automobile Club in London on Wednesday, the FIA revealed it has undertaken a thorough analysis of the incidents which took place in Suzuka.

A brief statement read: “Procedural issues have been identified and will be corrected in the short and medium term. The findings will be made public in the coming days.”

One of the key aspects of the investigation will likely be whether the trackside marshals acted unilaterally in sending the crane out so quickly, or they were authorised to do so by race control.

Article 2.6.1 of Appendix H of the International Sporting Code by which all FIA events are run, states clearly: “No marshal or vehicle shall enter the circuit perimeter without permission from race control.”

In further safety-related news, it was confirmed that larger mirrors will be required in the 2023 F1 technical regulations for “better ‘blind-spot’ visibility”, as well as an “improvement of brake circuit definition”.

The accident involving Zhou Guanyu, Alfa Romeo C42 at the start of the race

The accident involving Zhou Guanyu, Alfa Romeo C42 at the start of the race

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Further improvements are to be made to the regulations on roll hoops, which were strengthened following an FIA investigation into the accident involving Zhou Guanyu at the British Grand Prix.

An update was also made to the superlicence points system to extend the relaxation of the requirements for championships listed in Supplement 1 counting for points.

This is valid only for championships ending no later than 31 March 2023 and is to take into account the reduced sporting activity during 2022 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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