With the after-effects of a typhoon potentially headed for the Shanghai International Circuit this Sunday, team bosses have insisted that the use of the safety car be properly considered after the incidents at last weekend's Japanese round.

Ferrari boss Jean Todt was the most vocal on the issue, telling journalists at Friday's press conference in Shanghai that the race should not have been started when it was. Fuji spent most of the weekend deluged under heavy rain and low cloud, but the officials insisted that the race get underway at the appointed time, running the first 19 laps behind the safety car.

"I just feel it is completely inappropriate to start the race and spend 19 laps out of a race of 67 laps behind the safety car," Todt complained, "It was the right decision to start behind it, but I don't understand why you do 30 per cent of the race behind it. I can understand two, three or four laps, but not 19. The race should have been delayed."

Nemesis Ron Dennis agreed that the conditions in which the race was started were maybe not appropriate, but he stopped short of criticising the decisions taken in Japan.

"It was apparent to everyone that it was appalling conditions," he said, "There was communication between [FIA safety delegate] Charlie [Whiting] and some of the teams - certainly our team. Our drivers were very concerned about visibility more than anything else and, of course, there were incidents, some of which may or may not be ongoing. But I think the reality is we should look at that race and say that we were fortunate no driver was hurt.

"It was a race in probably the worst conditions and all drivers tried to do the very best they could in those difficult circumstances. We should learn from the race, but realise there was no perfection about last weekend. I think everyone has comments which could be made but, in the end, I don't believe any driver did anything other than his best."

Asked whether they would be happy to see the Chinese race start in similar conditions this Sunday, Dennis and Todt only said that they hoped the right choices would be made.

"It's a decision for the race director and that is the way the regulations are," Dennis pointed out, "You always have the choice of not competing, but the fact is that the team principals are not the deciding factor in these things. And, also, the race director is better equipped, has sight of all the corners and has an understanding of the situation regarding helicopters etc. He is the best equipped and has to take the decision."

"We hear there is 70 per cent chance of rain for Sunday and we need races handled properly," Todt concluded, "I think it should be a good show. Just [take] the right decision at the right time. I know it is not easy, but we hope it happens."

 

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