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Gasly: Spotters would avert Vettel/Stroll incidents

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Gasly: Spotters would avert Vettel/Stroll incidents
By:
Sep 13, 2019, 1:51 PM

Pierre Gasly thinks that Formula 1 should think about a 'spotter' system like in IndyCar to help drivers recover when they are left in tricky spots, like Sebastian Vettel and Lance Stroll were at the Italian Grand Prix.

Vettel spun early in the race at Monza and was left sideways to the track at the high speed Ascari chicane. Unable to see to his side, he slowly nudged back on the circuit but made contract with the unsighted Stroll, who himself was then spun.

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Moments later as Stroll himself recovered, after similarly being unable to see to his side, he moved into the path of Gasly – who was forced to take to the gravel to avoid a collision.

Speaking about the incident afterwards, Gasly said: "I saw he was stopped, and because it's a really high-speed place I thought he would just wait and stay there - and when I saw him moving, I was already planning to go around the outside of him. I had to go in the gravel, but it was quite close to the wall."

Gasly knows that the high head protection design of F1 cars makes it very difficult for drivers to see if they are stuck like Vettel and Stroll, which is why he thinks that having a system of external assistance may be the best way to prevent a repeat in the future.

Asked by Motorsport.com what he felt the best solution was, Gasly said: "For this kind of thing I think just not spinning there! If you end up in that position, for sure I think with the shape of the F1 car, and also your HANS, you can't really rotate [your head].

"So unfortunately in the place he was, he could not see anything. Maybe the engineers in this case need to say 'okay, stay there'. For sure you're in your race, you want to go as fast as possible, but in the end I think it could have been a lot worse for him. Luckily nothing happened."

With IndyCar using spotters to help drivers be aware of other cars on oval racing, Gasly reckoned something similar could work for F1.

"Yeah, exactly," he said. "I don't have like a [complete] solution in mind right now, but for sure it wasn't ideal and wasn't the safest way."

F1 race director Michael Masi said after the Italian Grand Prix that his best advice to drivers would be to not move at all if they were unsure about the proxity of other cars.

"The teams have a bit to play in everything," he said. "The honest part is when in doubt be a bit cautious. But everything happened so quickly.

"It wasn't as if it was a huge time lag. It was literally bang, bang, bang. It was the concertina effect."

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About this article

Series Formula 1
Drivers Pierre Gasly
Teams Toro Rosso Shop Now
Author Jonathan Noble