European F3 Monza: Poor driving standards caused race to be stopped

Formula 3 European Championship race director Nils Wittich felt he had no choice but to abandon the third race of the weekend at Monza over concerns about driving standards

European F3 Monza: Poor driving standards caused race to be stopped

FIA Single Seater Commission president Stefano Domenicali, who is not at Monza, is understood to have been furious about the driving in Saturday's second race, and is believed to have been in contact with an FIA official during Sunday's finale.

Wittich, who stepped into the race-director role this weekend as the usual official, Sven Stoppe, is on DTM duty at Lausitz, called an emergency meeting on Saturday night with drivers and team managers to explain what would happen if standards did not improve on Sunday.

He explained that the competitors were told that in the event of a crash caused by bad driving, the race was to continue under the safety car until 75 per cent distance, the point at which maximum points can be awarded, was reached.

But an early safety car caused by a crash by Ryan Tveter meant that by the time it appeared for the second time, with Mikkel Jensen in the gravel, it would have been impossible to reach 75 per cent distance in the series' 35-minute race-time allocation.

"During the briefing we informed the drivers that it was not acceptable or the way we want to present F3," said Wittich.

"Mr Domenicali told us to be very strict in this case, so we informed the drivers that if they drive like this today we will finish the race under the safety car.

"The first safety car was not a problem [concerning driving standards], but in the second we had two cars [believed to be Jensen and Lance Stroll] leaving Turn 11 [Parabolica] wide to give them full speed on the straight, and as a result we had an accident.

"I was talking with the stewards and they said this [abandoning the race] is the only way to do it - you could see pushing on the straight and overtaking manoeuvres off the track."

Wittich added that the high-speed nature of the Monza circuit should not necessarily cause accidents if drivers respect it.

"The drivers at this standard of series should be able to handle tracks like this," he said. "It doesn't matter if it's Pau, Hockenheim or here.

"I'm very sad for the good drivers [with only half points awarded for races two and three], but it was the drivers' decision in driving this way."

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