Latifi: SC lights weren’t to blame for pile-up

Date published: September 16 2020

Nicholas Latifi thinks that the pile-up at Mugello still would have happened if the Safety Car lights went out earlier. 

Latifi, along with three other drivers, was taken out of the race at the first restart of the Tuscan Grand Prix after being hit by cars behind.

The cause of the incident was that backmarkers accelerated before those at the front, who were waiting for Valtteri Bottas to go.

Some feel that the Finn took so long to trigger the restart himself before the Safety Car lights went out so late, but Latifi doesn’t feel that that was the case.

“When the safety car lights go out too late when you’re the leader, you always want it to come off as early as possible so you can just start controlling your pace,” the Williams driver said as per Autosport.

“At the same time, with Valtteri in the lead. I’d be very surprised if he went earlier if the safety car lights went off earlier. For me, he would have waited to still be as late as he did because you want to minimize the slipstream effect.

“So let’s say even if the car lights went out at the beginning of the lap, and then he had a whole lap, I guarantee you he would probably still want to go at the same place because that would have been the smart thing to do.”

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With Bottas waiting until the end of the long straight to go, in order to avoid those behind getting an advantage due to slipstreaming, Latifi thinks that different restarts should be implemented for tracks of that nature.

“Going forward, I think maybe on a case by case basis on certain tracks, so mainly here, if we come back, and a track like Baku, maybe they just have to think about implementing something a bit different,” he added.

“It’s a difficult judgement to make. But definitely, I think there has to be, let’s say, a bit more discipline from all the drivers in situations like that, too. Not be nose to tail in case something like that happens, but to keep a reasonable gap.

“Because I truly think the accident was caused by some drivers in the mid-pack leaving too big a gap and accelerating flat out into that gap thinking: ‘Oh, now I’ve got to get close because the race is about to restart.”

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