Formula 1 race director Michael Masi has rejected Lewis Hamilton’s suggestion that drivers were put at risk with the late timing of the rolling restart during the Tuscan Grand Prix as “quite offensive”.

Four drivers were eliminated during a rolling start in the early stages of F1’s first-ever race at Mugello on Sunday, causing the Tuscan Grand Prix to be suspended.

The incident led reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton to suggest that the “decision-makers” were compromising drivers’ safety in order to make the rolling restart more exciting, but Masi firmly dismissed the notion.

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“Absolutely not,” Masi replied when asked if F1 is spicing up the show at the expense of safety. “From an FIA perspective, safety is paramount, full stop. End of story.

“In my capacity as the race director and safety delegate, point blank, that’s where my role sits as the sporting integrity and safety. And anyone that says otherwise is actually quite offensive.”

Masi said there is no need for the FIA to review the Safety Car restart procedure and stressed the timing to return to green flag conditions was no different to similar incidents in the past.

“They can criticise all they want,” he added. “If we have a look at a distance perspective from where the lights were extinguished to the control line, [it’s] probably not dissimilar, if not longer, than at a number of other venues.

“At the end of the day, the Safety Car lights go out where they do, the Safety Car is in pit lane, we have the 20 best drivers in the world, and as we saw earlier in the Formula 3 race, those drivers in the junior category had a very, very similar restart to what was occurring in the F1 race and navigated it quite well without incident.”

A total of 12 drivers were issued formal warnings by the stewards for their role in the restart crash.

 

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