After the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix, Michael Masi, FIA Racing Director, commented on several of the most important episodes of the weekend in Imola, in particular, promising that Max Verstappen’s retirement due to a burst tire would be investigated in detail..
Q: How will you be able to ensure the arrival of teams and riders at the next stages of the championship in the face of global restrictions associated with the pandemic?
Michael Massey: The FIA and Formula 1 will continue the work that has been going on since the time when we began to study everything related to this problem and develop a set of measures that allowed the resumption of motor racing competitions. We will continue to work with authorities, promoters and national auto clubs, as well as others in this process, to ensure a safe environment for all is a priority.
Question: After the departure of Esteban Okon, the virtual safety car (VSC) mode was introduced. But this did not happen immediately, but the VSC period itself turned out to be very short – can you comment on this somehow?
Michael Massey: We saw that Esteban pulled over to the side of the road relatively close to the break in the highway fence. To enable all the marshals to reach this place, even before they entered the track, we marked the scene with double yellow flags. When everything was ready to quickly evacuate the vehicle and send marshals to it, the VSC mode was introduced.
It continued while the car was being evacuated, which was removed from the track quickly and safely, after which it was possible to continue the race. There was no need to extend the VSC period.
Question: Doctors believe that the consequences of infection with Covid-19 can appear for a long time – should the riders who have undergone it be examined, and after the tests are negative?
Michael Massey: I think it would be inappropriate if the director of the races answered such a question, because I am not a medic. It should be asked by healthcare professionals.
Q: Will you be investigating the incident involving Max Verstappen, who retired due to a tire problem?
Michael Massey: Of course, I don’t want to see such incidents at all. But, as always in such cases, the FIA, together with Pirelli and the Red Bull Racing team, will organize an investigation, collect all the available information and figure out what exactly happened. This work will be carried out with the active participation of all three parties.
Q: Do you have an opinion on how well the DRS systems worked in Imola, Portimão or any other circuit?
Michael Massey: After each race, whether it is on a new track or on a familiar one, the FIA specialists responsible for collecting and processing data, as well as our electronics engineers from the technical department, analyze the work of the DRS. We have to find out if overtaking was too easy or not easy enough.
We change the configuration of the DRS zones slightly each year, if necessary. So it is too early to make definitive conclusions about whether DRS systems worked effectively on these routes or not.
Question: If the driver behind the safety car moves at a high enough speed and loses control of his car, shouldn’t he be fined for driving dangerously? After all, if someone, following the safety car, does not slow down enough, he will be punished …
Michael Massey: I think the mistake made by George Russell was very small. He rode with everyone behind the safety car, and his miss was literally minimal. Everyone saw on TV how upset he was, and it was clear from his emotions what happened there.
Question Lewis Hamilton on the podium drinking champagne from the boot of another driver. Is this a violation of the security protocol in force in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic?
Michael Massey: I must say that I did not study this issue in detail, we did not consider it at all.