Formula One’s inaugural race at Mugello was certainly a memorable one but maybe not necessarily for all the right reasons. The Tuscan Grand Prix featured two red flags and eventually led to a 90th Formula One Grand Prix victory for Lewis Hamilton. However, the 1000th Grand Prix for Scuderia Ferrari will primarily be remembered for an extreme, yet thankfully injury free, multi-car incident on the 1km stretch of the pit straight. Romain Grosjean was quick to assign the blame to race leader of the time Valtteri Bottas but the race stewards thought differently and have instead issued a warning to not one but twelve of the drivers.
Upon watching it on television, all that could be seen in the first instance was that a concertina effect resulted in unprecedented chaos further down the road. The main casualties, in car bodywork only, were Antonio Giovinazzi, Kevin Magnussen, Nicholas Latifi and Carlos Sainz due to the fact that all had to retire from the race due to the considerable damage caused to each of their cars by the incident. The red flag unsurprisingly followed so that the strewn debris could be cleared from the circuit. It was not long before it was announced that the stewards would be investigating the incident after the race.
The incident came from a number of drivers choosing to accelerate as they approached the control line following the departure of the safety car - despite the fact that Valtteri Bottas was yet to accelerate himself.
Following a meeting with Kevin Magnussen, Nicholas Latifi and Daniil Kvyat as well as viewing telemetry available and taking note of onboard footage the stewards released the following statement indicating a warning to: Kevin Magnussen, Daniil Kvyat, Nicholas Latifi, Antonio Giovinazzi, Carlos Sainz, Alexander Albon, Lance Stroll, Daniel Ricciardo, Sergio Perez, Lando Norris, Esteban Ocon and George Russell.
"The Stewards conclude that the root cause of this incident was the inconsistent application of throttle and brake, from the final corner along the pit straight, by the above drivers,”
"The Stewards acknowledge the challenges the location of the Control Line presents at this circuit and the desire of drivers to take advantage of the restart.”
"However, this incident demonstrates the need for caution to be exercised in the restart situation and note that there was an extreme concertina effect which dramatically increased as it moved down the field.”
“We also note that some drivers might have avoided being involved in the incident had they not followed directly behind the car in front. By doing so they effectively blocked off all visibility of what was happening immediately in front of the preceding car.”
“A warning has been imposed as it is the view of the Stewards that no one driver was wholly or predominantly to blame.”
So what does all this mean?
Effectively a slap on the wrist to all involved seeing how the penalty of a warning does not have any impact on a driver’s super licence.
As for anyone feeling Valtteri Bottas was to blame, the stewards are clear with this too as they said the Finnish racer had "complied with the regulations" as he "had the right under the regulations to dictate the pace".
Once again we are relieved no serious injury came from the event but with two consecutive Grand Prix featuring red flags to halt proceedings…one can only wonder whether it shows itself again in this most unique of Formula One seasons.