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Charlie Whiting

Charlie Whiting rejects safety car controversy

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Charlie Whiting has denied the FIA has time to consider whether safety car deployments favour certain competitors over others.

Comments made after China, in particular by Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, cast doubt on the decision to deploy the safety car, which because of the timing favoured Red Bull.

Vettel said race control should have timed its deployment in a way which did not put them at a disadvantage and should have used the Virtual Safety Car firstly to ‘freeze’ the race.

F1 race director Whiting is quoted by Italy’s Autosprint: “If we decide to use the safety car, it’s for safety reasons.

“So at that moment I’m not looking to see who’s going to be advantaged and who’s not.

“All we do is wait for a certain gap in traffic on the track,” he added. “The debris was spread over a large area, so I wanted to wait for all the cars to be behind the safety car before sending the marshals out.”

Whiting said he is surprised about the controversy regarding the timing of the safety car deployment for the Toro Rosso crash in China.

“We’ve had the VSC since 2015 and the SC for twenty years, so it should be understood by now that every time there will be winners and losers,” he insisted.

Whiting also understands Max Verstappen to learn from miss-judged move on Sebastian Vettel during the Chinese GP last weekend, with the FIA’s race director hoping more caution will be used by the Dutchman in the future.

“There probably is a little bit of criticism but that’s what the penalty points are for,” Whiting is quoted as saying by Motorsport.com

“They are there to make a habitual offender take notice. He’s got five points now, so he’s going to be more careful I would say.”
Whiting claims that there is no reason to have a private chat with Verstappen after the Dutchman say sorry to Vettel immediately after the race.

“The stewards have done their bit I don’t think there’s any necessity for that,” said Whiting. “He made a mistake, which he got penalised for.”

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