F1 | Canadian GP | Binotto claims slow Safety Car call could have been a 'bad situation' for Sainz
Speaking post race to select media which included Motorlat, Mattia Binotto spoke of his team's quick thinking on strategy but also called into question the Race Directors' decision making which could have been bad for Carlos Sainz.
Having seen Carlos Sainz agonisingly miss out on his first Formula One race victory, Team Principal of Scuderia Ferrari, Mattia Binotto criticised the Race Directors of Sunday's Canadian Grand Prix. Binotto was unhappy with what he considers to be a delay in sending out the Safety Car after Yuki Tsunoda's crash on cold tyres. In reality, thedecision did not change the outcome of the race and the strategy of Ferrari did all they could but according to Binotto this was not helped by the Race Directors’ hesitation. Speaking post race to select media which included Motorlat, Mattia Binotto spoke of his team's quick thinking on strategy but also called into question the Race Directors' decision making.
During Sunday’s Canadian Grand Prix, Yuki Tsunoda's AlphaTauri hit the wall on fresh tyres immediately after leaving the pit exit due to the fact his tyres were cold and the Japanese racer seemingly hadn’t considered that when applying the throttle in the pit lane exit. The incident happened on lap 49 and it took approximately 45 seconds for the Race Directors to make the decision to deploy the Safety Car - much to the annoyance of Mattia Binotto. In a sport such as Formula One, every second matters and the delay in deploying the safety car could have mattered a lot to Ferrari and Carlos Sainz.
When a Safety Car is deployed, if a team chooses to pit at that time they lose a lot less time in the pits. Such a move obviously provides a strategical advantage. With Tsunoda the wall, Carlos Sainz was still navigating the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve with only sector 1 under yellow flags. Only as he approached the pit lane entry was the Safety Car deployed. Scuderia Ferrari therefore had very little time to decide their movebut the team did choose to give up the lead and bring Sainz in for a tyre change when his set of rubber was already 30 laps old and with 20 laps of Sunday's race remaining.
Sky F1’S Lead Commentator David Croft declared at the time ‘’This has absolutely worked in Carlos Sainz’ favour”. However, after 5 laps of a Safety Car, when the race went back to green flag running, try as he might, the Spaniard could not retake the lead from an impressive Max Verstappen. Having withstood immense pressure from Carlos Sainz in the final 15 laps of Sunday's Canadian Grand Prix and despite being on 6 laps older tyres, Max Verstappen claimed his 26th race victory in the pinnacle of motorsport.
It was a gripping finish to the race, but this only came thanks to the quick thinking of Scuderia Ferrari’s strategists. In an online post-race press conference, Mattia Binotto shared his thoughts on the moment to select media which included Motorlat.
“I think it took very long to decide for the Safety Car. The moment when Carlos was leading the race it seemed that the Safety Car was released when he was just at the end of the main straight coming into the last corner.
“The team has been very, very good in reacting the driver himself as well coming into the pits. I think we had only one second to react. Without that good reaction, it would have been very difficult and a bad situation as well for Carlos…We need sharper decisions, it took very long for [Race Control] to decide.”
The question had also been put to Mattia Binotto as to whether he thought Carlos Sainz could have defended his position against Max Verstappen if there hadn’t been a Safety Car and instead stayed out on track with track position.
“Difficult to judge.” was the reply. “We know that in order to defend he would have to have been very fast on track a 1:17.4 or 1:17.3, single lap…it could have been very close. Difficult to say how the race would have turned out without the final safety car period is hard to say.” Binotto remarked.
It certainly would be very hard to stay but Scuderia Ferrari need to be careful that they don't get lost down the rabbit hole of ifs and maybes. This race is done and dusted, and Silverstone is next up on a busy F1 race calendar. Carlos Sainz will have other chances for a race win and Scuderia Ferrari strategists will continue to have their skills tested. The main thing that The Tifosi no doubt need answered is how did Ferrari not win the Canadian Grand Prix on Sunday when they clearly were the quickest car on track. The answer to that may take a long time to reach but due to the form Red Bull Racing is in – Scuderia Ferrari may be running out of time.