‘I Would Have Been Dead’: Formula One Drivers Sound Alarm Over Dangerous Conditions

[Twitter Screenshot Sam Sage]

Brianna Lyman News and Commentary Writer
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A group of Formula One drivers and teams sounded the alarm Sunday after one driver passed a tractor on the track at the Japanese Grand Prix, the same track where driver Jules Bianchi was killed in a similar accident.

Carlos Sainz crashed earlier in the race due to heavy rain, forcing Pierre Gasly to pit and replace a front wing that was damaged by debris from the accident, CNN reported. Gasly was attempting to make up for lost time when he drove past a tractor that was recovering Sainz’s car.

Gasly said he “would be dead right now” had he hit the recovery vehicle, Yahoo! Sports reported. Gasly compared the potential deadly accident to the one that killed French driver Jules Bianchi. Bianchi’s car collided with a tractor crane that was recovering a car at Japan’s Suzuka Circuit in Oct. 2015, according to the report. He was placed into an induced coma and died in July 2017. (RELATED: NASCAR Champion Alex Bowman Will Sit Out Another Big Race)

Gasly tore into the incident.

“We lost Jules already,” Gasly told Sky Sports “We all lost an amazing guy, an amazing driver, for the reasons that we know. Eight years ago, on the same track, in the same conditions, with a crane.”

“Obviously I got scared,” he continued. “Obviously if I would have lost the car in a similar way Carlos lost it the lap before — it doesn’t matter the speed, 200kph, 100 — I would have died, as simple as that. I don’t understand. It’s disrespectful to Jules, disrespectful to his family. All of us are risking our lives out there. We are doing the best job in the world but what we are asking is to at least keep us safe, it’s already dangerous enough.”

Bianchi’s father, Philippe, took to Instagram to echo Gasly, saying there was “no respect for the Life of the driver” or for “Jules’ memory.”

Driver Sergio Perez said Gasly’s near-accident was “the lowest point we’ve seen in the sport for years,” according to Sky Sports. “What happened today just makes me so angry. I just hope ever in the sport we never get to see this situation ever again.”

Grand Prix Drivers’ Association chairman Alex Wurz said, “we can keep it short: this must NOT happen guys,” according to Sky Sports.

The Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), the governing body for Formula One, later put out a statement announcing they planned to investigate the incident after “feedback from a number of drivers.”

“While it is normal practice to recover cars under Safety Car and Red Flag conditions, due to the particular circumstances and also taking into account feedback from a number of drivers, the FIA has launched a thorough review of the events involving the deployment of recovery vehicles during the Japanese Grand Prix.”