“Safety is the most important factor”
June 29, 2010
The positive and negative aspects of last weekend in Valencia are all based on the same incident, which was the Webber – Kovalainen crash. I am very glad that Mark was practically unhurt in what was a huge crash, which shows once again just how important is the constant push to improve safety in motor sport. Thanks to the efforts of the FIA, the cars are now extremely strongly built, as was seen again on this occasion, with the Red Bull chassis standing up to a significant impact. The tracks are also ever safer: where Mark had his accident there was a large run-off area and he had a lot of space to fly and land without hitting anything – apart from an advertising hoarding – before ending up in the barrier. Of course, you always need an element of luck in these situations, but above all, work on this front must never let up.
Unfortunately, this incident affected, in a negative fashion, our race. By the time the track was completely under the Yellow Flags, we were already at the last corner of the lap and by the time I saw the “SC” board, I was out of the final corner and going onto the main straight. At the same time, looking in my mirrors, I saw most of the field going into the pits as they had seen the board before the last corner. It was a matter of moments and we were very unlucky in that we had to spend a very long time behind the Safety Car, whereas Vettel was already ahead of the Safety Car before it came on track and Hamilton chose to pass it, thus breaking the rules. I don’t particularly want to go over what happened after that, because it changes nothing in that our race was ruined. However, what happened needs to be looked into because it is not normal than someone commits a serious infraction like overtaking the safety car, when there is a dangerous situation on track and is not really penalised in practical terms. We must talk about this together and do something to ensure a situation like this does not happen again. The team has told me that, next week there will be a meeting of the Sporting Working Group: that’s good and it’s an obvious indication that the FIA is paying close attention to the matter.
After a lap behind the Safety Car, Fernando and I pitted together for a double pit stop, which cost me a bit more time. I dropped to eighteenth place and spent the whole race in traffic, all the way to the chequered flag. Looking at the actual performance of the car over the weekend, I have to say the updates to the aero package and revised exhaust system resulted in the F10 making a good step forward, allowing us to fight for the front places. Now it is important to keep pushing on the development front all the way to the end of the season. Last night, I enjoyed watching the Brazil win over Chile in the World Cup. The team played very well, but I think we shouldn’t really talk about them being favourites to win the competition. From this point onwards it is hard to talk about favourites and every match is important, every game is like a final.