Pierre Gasly outraged over chaotic Japanese GP incident

Pierre Gasly was horrified after encountering a rescue track on the track during the Japanese Grand Prix. Pictures: F1TV/Getty Images

Pierre Gasly was horrified after encountering a rescue track on the track during the Japanese Grand Prix. Pictures: F1TV/Getty Images

Alpha Tauri driver Pierre Gasly was left furious after a chaotic start to the Japanese Grand Prix, after getting caught up in a scary incident in the opening laps.

The race was red-flagged on lap three due to another downpour moving in on the Suzuka circuit, however the race was already under safety car conditions after Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz crashed heavily on the opening lap.

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Before the race was red flagged the field was still lapping behind the safety car when Gasly, who had been forced to pit after collecting debris from Sainz’s crash, encountered a rescue tractor that had come onto the track.

F1 fans fans were horrified when footage of an unsighted Gasly passing the tractor on the track emerged.

Many fans and experts said Gasly was right to be furious after encountering the tractor, which presents a massive safety issue even in clear conditions, let alone the significantly more dangerous conditions in the wet.

The incident was an unsettling reminder of the circumstances in which former F1 driver Jules Bianchi lost his life at the same course in 2014, when he slid off the track and into a tractor on a runoff area which had been brought out to retrieve another car that had crashed earlier.

Social media was scathing of the incident, with many demanding the FIA explain how it could have happened.

Gasly will be subject to an FIA investigation of the circumstances after the race.

During an extended red flag due to wet conditions, McLaren driver Lando Norris joined many fans on Twitter questioning why a rescue truck was on the course at all, regardless of Gasly’s driving or position on track relative to the field.

“What the, what is this tractor?” an outraged Gasly exclaimed over team radio.

“What is this tractor on track, I passed next to it. This is unacceptable. I can’t believe this.”

Later shots shown on the broadcast after all the drivers had made it back to the pits showed an angry Gasly speaking to his team after getting out of the car.

Gasly was a long way behind the field after pitting on lap one to remove the debris and replace his front wing, meaning he wasn’t in the queue behind the safety car at the time, but on the same lap as the field.

He was entitled to catch up to the back of the pack, which is when he encountered the tractor on the course.

F1 horrified by tractor incident at Japanese Grand Prix

Sky Sports commentator Jenson Button also said Gasly was right to be angry.

“He would have had to go slowly around to the pits, then they changed the front wing which would have taken a long time. The rest of the field were a long way ahead, and maybe the truck didn’t expect another car to be coming at a high speed,” Button said.

“Obviously he’s passed at high speed with a truck on the track, which is what you don’t want.

“I understand Pierre’s frustration with it being on track, he’s pretty upset understandably that on a corner where a car has just aquaplaned off, there was a truck parked there.”

Sainz aquaplaned off the road on the first lap and slammed into the barriers, making for a scary sight as the field behind struggled to see ahead of them with heavy spray being kicked up from the cars in front.

The Spanish driver was desperately unlucky to lose control in the torrid conditions, but Gasly was arguably luckier to escape unharmed after an advertising board from where Sainz hit the wall made its way onto the circuit.

Gasly collected the board, which got stuck on the car and also caused his front wing to break off and get caught underneath the car.

Fortunately, none of the other drivers were affected by the debris coming onto the track, though Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton almost collected it before Gasly had the misfortune of running over it.

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