The FIA has promised a thorough review after drivers raised concerns when a crane was left out on track at the start of the second part of qualifying for Sunday’s Turkish Grand Prix.
The crane had been sent out to retrieve the stricken Williams of Nicholas Latiffi, who spun off at the end of the first session, but Q2 was given the green flag and cars allowed back on track before it had completed its job.
Renault driver Esteban Ocon said: “We were on an out lap so I was not taking any risks, obviously, [but was] still going quite fast because we needed to keep the tyres alive. It is not something that we like to see."
His team-mate Daniel Ricciardo added: "I am quite surprised there was a green. I don't know what the rush was. I guess they were worried by [fading] light but as we know, I don't think that should be happening. I am quite surprised by that."
McLaren team boss Andrea Seidl thought the crane had been moved by the time the cars reached the section of track it was on, and was surprised to learn that this was not the case.
Seidl said: “I’m sure that wasn’t the intention. I’m sure we will all learn from that and make the right decisions because it’s clear from that that no-one wants to have that [situation].”
The session was running late due to rain at the Istanbul Park track, which made the already slippery track surface extremely treacherous, with several drivers going off track in the opening session.
Race director Michael Masi admitted it was “not a situation we like to see” and explained: "We released the cars from pitlane as the recovery vehicle was moving to the escape road.
"Following information given to Race Control by the Clerk of the Course that the vehicle would be clear of the track before the cars on their out laps reached Turn 8 where the recovery was taking place.
"As soon as it became apparent that the recovery vehicle had been delayed in moving completely into the barrier opening, we extended the area of double-waved yellow flags from Turn 8 to the entry point of Turn 7 to further slow down the cars on their out laps.
"With the benefit of hindsight we would have done it differently and held the cars until the recovery was completed. We will review our procedures to minimise the likelihood of similar incidents in future."
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