Masi: No reason not to restart Azerbaijan GP after red flag

Formula 1 race director Michael Masi felt there was no reason not to restart Sunday's Azerbaijan Grand Prix despite a red flag with three laps to go.

Masi: No reason not to restart Azerbaijan GP after red flag

A tyre failure for Max Verstappen in the closing stages of the race in Baku initially prompted a safety car period before Masi threw a red flag, suspending the race.

After the debris had been cleared on the main straight, the drivers completed a formation lap before taking a standing start, setting up a brief two-lap sprint to the chequered flag.

Such a late red flag has previously resulted in the race not being restarted, but Masi said the way in which the rules were written meant there was no reason not to go ahead with the two-lap sprint finish.

"Thankfully for a number of years now, we've had the race suspension regulations," Masi explained.

"Going back many, many years ago, was when a race was red-flagged after a certain distance, it would go back two laps and so forth.

"Obviously with the race suspension element, yes there is an option to not restart. But within the timeframe and within the format of the regulations, we can restart. There was no reason not to."

Verstappen's tyre failed one lap before the race was red-flagged, with Red Bull sporting director Jonathan Wheatley later heard talking to Masi over the radio to suggesting suspending the race so that teams could change their tyres.

Masi said he had already been considering stopping the race prior to Wheatley's message, waiting to assess how much debris needed clearing on the main straight.

"It was actually already on my mind," Masi said. "From the perspective of what we communicate, we communicate to everyone equally.

"Looking with the number of laps that we had to go, the recovery that was being undertaken, and the fact that there was so much debris on the pitstraight, at that point, it was in my opinion the best option to suspend the race, clean everything up, and then have a race finish."

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing, climbs out of his car after crashing out from the lead

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing, climbs out of his car after crashing out from the lead

Photo by: Steve Etherington / Motorsport Images

The incident with Verstappen was similar to an earlier tyre failure for Aston Martin driver Lance Stroll, whose crash into the barrier at Turn 20 resulted in a safety car but no red flag.

Masi explained that he thought it was possible to clear the debris from Stroll's crash under a safety car, thus not requiring a red flag.

"Lance's incident, obviously in the middle of the race, there was more than enough time and space on the right-hand side of the track when we were recovering it, and we were confident with the way that that could be cleared up in that fashion," Masi said.

Read Also:

"As I said, when looking at everything, we weren't confident that the recovery on the pitstraight [from Verstappen's crash] and the amount of debris that was everywhere could be cleared up in the appropriate time.

"So we thought it was in the best interests of the sport to suspend and then restart in that circumstance."

shares
comments

Related video

How three drivers 'won' the Azerbaijan GP

Previous article

How three drivers 'won' the Azerbaijan GP

Next article

Wolff: Mercedes form ‘unacceptable’ in F1 title fight

Wolff: Mercedes form ‘unacceptable’ in F1 title fight
Load comments
The F1 champion who became an Indy king in his second career Plus

The F1 champion who became an Indy king in his second career

Emerson Fittipaldi’s decision to go racing with his brother led to him falling out of F1, but he bloomed again on the IndyCar scene. NIGEL ROEBUCK considers a career of two halves

Why Mercedes is pleased to be in the Hungary hunt at a 'Red Bull track' Plus

Why Mercedes is pleased to be in the Hungary hunt at a 'Red Bull track'

Mercedes ended Friday practice at the Hungaroring with a clear gap to Red Bull thanks to Valtteri Bottas’s pace in topping FP2. But there are other reasons why the Black Arrows squad feels satisfied with its progress so far at a track many Formula 1 observers reckon favours Red Bull overall

How Red Bull endured its second car crash in two weeks Plus

How Red Bull endured its second car crash in two weeks

OPINION: Red Bull was justified to be upset that Lewis Hamilton survived his British GP clash with Max Verstappen and went on to win. But its attempts to lobby the FIA to reconsider the severity of Hamilton's in-race penalty were always likely to backfire, and have only succeeded in creating a PR disaster that will distract from its on-track efforts

The ‘screaming’ F1 engine future that may not be out of reach Plus

The ‘screaming’ F1 engine future that may not be out of reach

OPINION: It wasn't just the Verstappen/Hamilton clash that had the Red Bull and Mercedes bosses at loggerheads at Silverstone, with the nature of Formula 1's 2025 engines also subject for disagreement. But hopes to have loud, emotive engines that are also environmentally friendly don't have to be opposed

Formula 1
Jul 29, 2021
The drivers that need to strike gold before F1's summer break Plus

The drivers that need to strike gold before F1's summer break

OPINION: Formula 1 is about to break up for summer 2021, with the title battles finely poised. But it’s not just the latest round of Max Verstappen vs Lewis Hamilton that will be worth watching this weekend in Hungary, as plenty of drivers are eying big results to change the stories of their seasons so far

Formula 1
Jul 28, 2021
How Lotus F1 uncovered, then squandered its last ‘unfair advantage’ Plus

How Lotus F1 uncovered, then squandered its last ‘unfair advantage’

Cast in the mould of its founder Colin Chapman, Lotus was powerful and daring but 
flawed – as it proved through further soaring peaks and painful troughs into the 1980s. DAMIEN SMITH examines a game-changing era

Formula 1
Jul 27, 2021
The core problems Yas Marina’s long-awaited tweaks won't address Plus

The core problems Yas Marina’s long-awaited tweaks won't address

OPINION: Changes to the layout of Abu Dhabi’s circuit aim to reverse the trend of insipid Formula 1 races there - the promoter has even described one of the new corners as “iconic”. And that, argues STUART CODLING, is one of this venue’s abiding failings

Formula 1
Jul 26, 2021
How Ferrari offered Britain's next F1 prospect what Red Bull couldn't Plus

How Ferrari offered Britain's next F1 prospect what Red Bull couldn't

Last year's Formula 2 runner-up Callum Ilott could be on his way to becoming the first Briton to contest a grand prix in an Alfa Romeo since Reg Parnell in 1950. But, says OLEG KARPOV, the Ferrari Driver Academy protege is having to temper his ambition at the moment – outwardly at least…

Formula 1
Jul 25, 2021