F1 news: FIA admits to error with regard to Japanese Grand Prix crane incident

Formula One's governing body, the FIA, has changed its rules after admitting it made a mistake in sending out a crane at the rain-hit Japanese Grand Prix.

French driver Pierre Gasly said he could have been killed after he narrowly missed the tractor deployed to recover Carlos Sainz's Ferrari. 

The FIA launched an investigation into the grisly incident - and while it maintained the correct procedures were followed as laid out at the time - the recovery vehicle should not have entered the circuit as Gasly attempted to catch the rest of the pack in safety car conditions.

The FIA concluded that a recovery vehicle will no longer be allowed on the track until all the drivers are grouped behind the safety car.

Gasly's near miss came eight years after Frenchman Jules Bianchi crashed into a recovery vehicle in Japan. He died from his injuries nine months later.

The FIA also revealed that race director Eduardo Freitas, who took charge of the race in Japan on October 9, will not be used again this year, with Niels Wittich to officiate the remaining four races.

Wittich and Freitas were due to rotate the role this year following Michael Masi's departure.

Ahead of this weekend's United States Grand Prix in Austin, the FIA said: "Even though it is common practice to deploy recovery vehicles once a race has been neutralised, the review panel discussed whether the entry of the recovery vehicle at Suzuka to retrieve the stricken Ferrari of Carlos Sainz was premature given the prevailing conditions.

"The review panel acknowledged that having recovery cranes on track at Suzuka during the weather conditions is a sensitive matter in view of the tragic incidents of the past.

"The panel determined that in hindsight, as the weather conditions were changing, it would have been prudent to have delayed the deployment of the recovery vehicles on track."

Gasly was hit with a 20-second penalty and two points on his licence for driving at speeds in excess of 125mph during doubled waved yellows. Drivers should be prepared to stop on the spot during such a phase.

The FIA added: "It was also acknowledged that in accordance with the applicable regulations, drivers have an obligation to limit their speed accordingly under yellow flag, safety car and red flag conditions.

"The drivers are further obliged to apply common sense at all times. It should be noted that after the event he [Gasly] expressed his regret during a stewards hearing which resulted in a penalty.

"In conjunction with the teams, a review of penalty precedents for drivers not respecting the rules relating to yellow, double yellow, Virtual Safety Car and Safety Car conditions will take place."

The FIA also said that the sporting regulations on points awarded for shortened races will be reviewed.

Max Verstappen was awarded a full quota of points - taking his second world championship in deeply confusing circumstances - despite completing only 28 laps in Suzuka.

Latest news