Russell: Recovery vehicle deployed in FP1 was stupid and unnecessary

George Russell says a recovery vehicle being used while Formula 1 cars were pitting under a red flag during opening practice for the Italian Grand Prix was "stupid" and "unnecessary"

Russell: Recovery vehicle deployed in FP1 was stupid and unnecessary

As Russell rounded the Ascari chicane and entered the back straight, a recovery vehicle was making its way towards Sergio Perez's crashed car on the grass on the left-hand side of the track.

When Russell had cleared the stricken Racing Point and approached Parabolica, he radioed his Williams team to say: "What are they doing bringing that truck onto the track while we're still driving round?

"Just completely unnecessary. Especially in these conditions."

Asked by Autosport to explain why he was moved to make that comment, Russell said: "In light of recent events [Anthoine Hubert lost his life in a Formula 2 crash at Spa last Saturday], you would have thought something stupid like that wouldn't happen.

"Regardless of whether we're under red flag or VSC [virtual safety car], it can happen at any point.

"Lewis [Hamilton] crashed under VSC in Germany.

"So, there's no need to take the unnecessary risk of bringing a recovery vehicle onto the track.

"The truck was exactly where Perez crashed."

Hubert's crash was the first on a grand prix weekend that led to a fatality since Jules Bianchi went off in the rain during the 2014 Japanese Grand Prix and struck a recovery tractor.

However, in that instance the vehicle had been deployed while the race continued under yellow-flag conditions.

If a red flag is shown, the FIA's sporting regulations instruct drivers to "immediately reduce speed and proceed slowly back to the pitlane" and the FIA monitors whether drivers reduce speed "sufficiently".

The recovery of a stopped vehicle will be instructed to begin when the race director deems it safe to do so.

This means a recovery vehicle can be used swiftly once the session is under a red flag, if conditions are considered safe.

From the time at which the red flag is communicated to teams until the time that each car crosses the first safety car line when entering the pitlane, drivers must stay above the minimum time set by the FIA ECU at least once in each marshalling sector around the lap.

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