Cluster assembly before the start and at the finish line. This is how Sunday’s Formula 1 Italian Grand Prix will be remembered.
I’ll start with a ridiculous starting grid. Within the constraints of the budget constraint, the car has seven listed components – an internal combustion engine, a turbocharger, a heat generator, a kinetic motor-generator, an energy store, control electronics and an exhaust system. With a prescribed amount of each for use in one season, use must be monitored.
Engineers design components to be durable, but F1 drivers demand more, so accordingly, something has to give, and it’s usually one of the above. Exceeding the annual allocation will result in grid starting penalties.
Penalties on the F1 grid
At the Formula 1 Italian Grand Prix, nine pilots decided to replace the listed items and were subsequently punished.
After qualifying, grid shifts had to be applied and confusion reigned among teams, drivers, most spectators, fans and – incredibly – governing body officials. Incredibly, it took the FIA nearly four hours after qualifying to release the preliminary grid position list.
To make matters worse, only 10 minutes later a “corrected” version appeared. Why so long?
If the FIA has struggled to cope with the calculations, how do they expect the newly arrived F1 fan to cope?
READ ALSO: The safety car feature benefits Verstappen and Red Bull
In addition to the failure on the starting grid, the race was decided by the safety car, which of course was not appreciated by the fanatical tifazzi (Italian car racing fans) or the team.
On lap 46 of the 53-lap full race, Daniel Ricciardo’s McLaren went off the track after losing engine power, and after a short delay a virtual safety car situation was announced.
Marshals tried to push the car to safety, but it got stuck in gear, requiring the safety car to be fully deployed to keep the tow truck on its way. Unfortunately, he was deployed in front of third-placed George Russell instead of leader Max Verstappen, leading to a further delay waiting for the field to take its correct position.
On reaching there was no time to restart the F1 race. Teams and spectators alike wondered why the race was not red-flagged and restarted when the track was cleared.
An FIA spokesman explained: “While every effort was made to quickly recover car #3 and resume racing, the situation developed and the marshals were unable to put the car into neutral and push it onto the exit road.
“As the safety of the recovery operation is our only priority and the incident was not significant enough to require a red flag, the race ended with a safety car in accordance with agreed procedures.
“The time of the safety car period in the race has no bearing on this procedure.”
The whistle during the interview and the podium ceremony showed the mood of the fans.
To see the F1 2022 driver standings, click here.