Date published: April 16 2018
Sebastian Vettel has questioned the timing of the Safety Car in Shanghai, feeling it should have been called “half a minute sooner” as it took him out of the race.
Valtteri Bottas was leading on Sunday afternoon ahead of Vettel when the two Toro Rosso drivers collided.
The crashed spewed debris over the track and led to F1 race director Charlie Whiting deploying the Safety Car.
However, of the timing cost both Bottas and Vettel.
The Safety Car was brought out was leaders passed the pit entrance giving neither the chance to pit.
Red Bull did, and won the race with Daniel Ricciardo.
“Obviously the timing of the Safety Car was bad for Valtteri and myself, because we had no chance to react,” Vettel said.
“The Safety Car was caught almost straight away, so basically we were taken out of the race there, and didn’t have the choice to jump on fresh tyres or stay out.
“I understand if something happens and you have to react straight away, then you can’t always respect where cars are relative to each other.
“But we had two laps of the debris on the track, so why not call the Safety Car half a minute sooner and then everybody has the chance to decide whether they pit or not?”
“In my point of view it’s not right to send it when you actively change the race.”
Whiting has defended the call.
“I don’t look to see who is going to be advantaged or disadvantaged,” he said.
“It’s a little bit of a mystery to me why this has all come into sharp focus, because we’ve had the VSC since 2015, we’ve had the Safety Car for 20 years, and we know that in every intervention there will be winners and losers.
“If we have to sit there and work out who is going to be advantaged and work it so everyone has exactly the same chance… We don’t have time for that. It’s not our job to do that.
“I think we wanted to make sure it was necessary. We didn’t want to do it just on the basis that three or four teams called us to say we need a safety car, which happens nearly every time.
“I asked the clerk of the course if they could get it in a gap in the traffic, and he said: ‘No, it’s too much.’ We had to make sure it was justified.”