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Drivers ponder safety car start at Monza.


Despite producing the third-fastest lap in the final phase of qualifying for the Italian Grand Prix on Saturday, Mark Webber has admitted that he does not fancy racing in similar conditions.

Just about every session at Monza has featured a wet track, with Friday morning practice being abandoned short of its 90-minute duration as the track flooded. Saturday's equivalent session also featured torrential rain, while qualifying resulted in an unfamiliar-looking grid after some of the sport's leading lights were caught out by the conditions.

An increasingly wet surface left Kimi Raikkonen and points leader Lewis Hamilton languishing at the bottom of the second phase timesheets, while Felipe Massa produced a lap against the odds to make the cut - although he went on to qualify only sixth as Webber, Heikki Kovalainen and surprise pole-winner Sebastian Vettel stole the show.

With further rain forecast for raceday, however, there are concerns about track conditions, and the suggestion that the grand prix, like its GP2 support, could start behind the safety car.

"I don't think any of the guys want to race in those conditions," GPDA board member, and unofficial safety spokesman, Webber commented, "If you had a 53-lap time trial on your own, it's a bit easier but, if anyone has any aquaplaning on the straight… To race in that stuff is tricky.

"There are some safety concerns at this place obviously, because of the high speed, and it's so hard to know where the [other] guy is. You just can't see anything, so we can't really 'race' when the visibility is that bad because, if you can't see where you're going, then it's extremely difficult."

Although the Australian joked that, given his recent starts, getting underway behind the safety car might be an advantage, his rivals admitted that it was hard to plan for such an eventuality.

"It depends on the water level, but I think it should be okay to start as long as there isn't a lot of standing water," Kovalainen ventured, "Now, there was a little bit of standing water, but not the whole track. If that's the case tomorrow, I think it's okay to start on the grid."

First time polesitter Vettel admitted that a safety car start would make his life easier by lining the rest of the field up in single-file behind his Toro Rosso, but agreed with Kovalainen that a lot would depend on the amount of surface water.



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Paul - Unregistered

September 14, 2008 11:11 AM

As much as it''s good the drivers are thinking about safety and taking precautions, isn''t racing in the wet part of the job of being an F1 driver? F1 is supposed to be difficult and a challenge for the driver, that''s why they''re paid crazy money and all live in large houses in tax havens. Sorry Mark, but in this instance I for one don''t have much sympathy. No one wants to see anyone hurt or take dangerous risks, but drivers throughout history have raced in the wet and they didn''t have the luxury of millions of pounds and really safe cars made from near indestructible carbon fibre. Days like today are where the drivers earn their money.



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