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Restart was considered, confirm drivers.

Despite many feeling that the wet conditions at Sepang could have given them a chance to improve their result, the Formula One grid was almost unanimous in its agreement that the Malaysian Grand Prix could not have been restarted.

Although starting in the dry, the threat of rain hung over the second round of the world championship for the first 20 laps and then, in a storm of near-biblical proportions, proceeded to flood the circuit while teams and drivers made and remade tyre changes in an effort to suit the conditions. With most having progressed from slicks to full wets, back to intermediates when the rain did not appear to be that heavy, and then back to full wets when it began in earnest, the stewards threw a red flag to neutralise the action just over halfway to the 56-lap distance.

The main activity then switched to the organisers office for, while the teams did what they could to keep drivers and equipment sheltered from the storm, decisions had to be made on whether a restart would be possible. Weather forecasts suggested that the rain may lessen, if not stop altogether, but the decision to start the race at 5pm then became a factor as the evening drew in.

Eventually, when it became too late to give the required ten-minute warning without exceeding the maximum two-hour time limit for the race, the red flag became final, handing victory - albeit with half points - to Jenson Button, but causing a few reshuffles further down the order, including among the Briton's podium partners, Nick Heidfeld and Timo Glock.

"I would obviously love to have the ten points, but this is the best we could have done, I think," Button admitted as he attempted to dry off, "Realistically, it was the right thing to do.

"I'm sure some people will say 'we didn't see the whole race and it's disappointing', but you have to think about the safety sometimes. I am here to race, as we all are, but there are limits to what we can do with the cars that we have."

Heidfeld revealed that he had used the time out of the cockpit to change the visor on his helmet because of the gloomy conditions, and made no secret of the fact that he had been on the radio 'telling our team manager and Charlie [Whiting] and the guys who normally listen that I think it was undriveable in these conditions', but still the teams and drivers were unsure as to whether they would be asked to restart.

"I said to the engineers that there was no way to drive anymore and that I was ready to jump out of the car, but they said we had to prepare [for a restart]," Glock revealed, "They said we would go behind the safety car, so I just put my helmet on and got ready - and then they said 'no, that's it, it's over'."

Button confirmed that a restart had been considered, but admitted that ending the race without one was probably the right thing to have done.



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Jenson Button (GBR) Brawn BGP001, Malaysian F1 Grand Prix, Sepang, Kuala Lumpar, 3rd-5th, April 2009
27.11.2016 - Race, Start of the race, Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB12 and Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H and Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H
27.11.2016 - Race, Max Verstappen (NED) Red Bull Racing RB12
27.11.2016 - Race, Jenson Button (GBR)  McLaren Honda MP4-31
27.11.2016 - Race, Jenson Button (GBR)  McLaren Honda MP4-31
27.11.2016 - Race, Max Verstappen (NED) Red Bull Racing RB12 leads Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid
27.11.2016 - Race, Jolyon Palmer (GBR) Renault Sport F1 Team RS16 and Jenson Button (GBR)  McLaren Honda MP4-31
27.11.2016 - Race,Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H  leads Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB12
27.11.2016 - Race, Felipe Nasr (BRA) Sauber C34 and Max Verstappen (NED) Red Bull Racing RB12
27.11.2016 - Race, Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB12 leads Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H
27.11.2016 - Race, Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB12
27.11.2016 - Race, Start of the race, Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren Honda MP4-31 off trach and Max Verstappen (NED) Red Bull Racing RB12 spins
27.11.2016 - Race, Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB12 and Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H
27.11.2016 - Race, Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB12 and Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H
27.11.2016 - Race, Max Verstappen (NED) Red Bull Racing RB12
27.11.2016 - Race, Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB12 leads Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H
27.11.2016 - Race, Max Verstappen (NED) Red Bull Racing RB12
27.11.2016 - Race, Jenson Button (GBR)  McLaren Honda MP4-31

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Powerline 2008 - Unregistered

April 07, 2009 2:41 AM

I think FM of Ferrari was the first driver to object to the twilight race time when it became public. As Brazilian, he knows very well that a tropical thunderstorm can rub out a good race. I think MW also voiced similar sentiments about the Aussie GP. Is there anyone in the FIA or FOM listening to the drivers? Perhaps the FOTA should lend more support to the GPDA.

Calvin _

April 06, 2009 5:36 PM
Last Edited 2802 days ago

I'm not sure if the rules need to be looked at here because the only reasons that the race didn't restart was because of i) putting it on at a stupid time meant that it was getting dark fast, and ii) the 2 hour rule. If the race had been put on at a reasonable time, then if a race is stopped, they could make a rule so that the 2 hour rule got extended by say, one extra hour.



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