Lance Stroll feels he was “as safe as I could be” when closely passing two Formula 1 marshals on-track at Imola, but says the incident must be addressed.
Onboard footage emerged from Stroll’s car following the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix two weeks ago showing the Racing Point driver quickly passing by two marshals on-track behind the safety car.
Stroll had clear track ahead of him as he was given the call to unlap himself, but came across two marshals on the edge of the asphalt at the entry to Acque Minerali as they finished clearing the site following George Russell’s crash.
The incident sparked concerns about the protocols in place and the safety procedures that led to the near miss, which the FIA is set to review.
Asked about the incident ahead of this weekend’s Turkish Grand Prix, Stroll explained that he had not been informed the marshals were at the side of the track, but that he backed off as soon as he could to keep it safe.
“I hadn’t been warned of them, no,” Stroll said.
“I was given the message that lapped cars were allowed to overtake the safety car and catch the back of the train, so I followed those instructions.
“I saw the marshal on the track, of course, and I immediately lifted off and backed off, and was as safe as I could be in that section of the track.
“But I wasn’t warned and I wasn’t expecting to see anyone on the track once I got the message that I was allowed to overtake the safety car and catch the back of the train.
“Thankfully, there was nothing bad that happened there.
“But for sure, we’ll have to address it and make sure that something like that doesn’t happen again.”
GPDA director Romain Grosjean said he was surprised the marshals were on-track at such a fast point of the track, and that the matter would be discussed in the Friday drivers’ briefing with race director Michael Masi.
“I don’t know what could have been done better, but I was a bit surprised that there were marshals on track at the point where were going quite fast,” Grosjean said.
“It was made worse by the fact that it was a blind spot on the track, and also they were trying to clear as much as they could as quickly as they could for the race to resume.
“We can bring that up in the drivers meeting, just to make sure that at least we get the communication, so we are aware of what’s coming.
“It was not a big deal. I guess it’s just that it was a bit of a surprise at the time, and it’s never nice to be driving and seeing people on track.
“For the people being on track it’s never nice to see the cars coming quite fast, because I think we were unlapping ourselves at the time, and we were just pushing to catch the back of the pack before it restarts.”
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