Was Sebastian Vettel’s Shanghai safety car moan valid?

Sebastian Vettel's suggestion that the timing of Formula 1 safety cars should be re-assessed to avoid changing race outcomes is questioned in this latest clip from The Motorsport Show

Was Sebastian Vettel’s Shanghai safety car moan valid?

Vettel was critical of the FIA's call in the aftermath of last Sunday's Chinese Grand Prix, and hinted that the fact he and race leader Valtteri Bottas were already past the pit entry when the safety car was deployed meant the timing of race director Charlie Whiting's call was "not right".

Panellists Anthony Rowlinson, the editor of F1 Racing, and former McLaren PR chief Matt Bishop discuss the events in Shanghai with host Peter Windsor, in particular whether Ferrari driver Vettel was right to question the timing of Whiting's decision.

"The safety car is called the safety car - it's there for safety reasons, it should be deployed whenever the race director decides there is a situation of potential danger and the field has to be controlled," Bishop says.

"Yes, it has the desirable side-effect of jumbling things up - not desirable if you think you have a chance of winning the race, like Sebastian Vettel perhaps [did].

"But it's there for safety reasons. So no, I disagree with Seb, it should be deployed as soon as that risk and that danger is identified."

Rowlinson suggests Vettel's comments are typical of his "petulant" nature, while Bishop says the random element of safety cars promotes welcome unpredictability in F1.

"He would say that wouldn't he?" says Rowlinson. "It's just petulance. Sebastian is a bit petulant - it's probably one of his minor failings.

"Come on - it's a safety car, it spiced things up, it gave us a brilliant grand prix to watch."

Bishop adds: "Predictability is one of the problems in Formula 1. So what is the harm in having the dice rolled occasionally?"

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