During his Thursday afternoon address to the media, Charlie Whiting moved to dispel fears that Formula One could be facing its most gelastic scenario since Indianapolis 2005.
Whiting was quick to point out that whilst such a situation was remote, he did admit that if “it came to the situation where no cars were actually running, we’d simply stop the race – because there wouldn’t be much of one, would there?”
“If the race couldn’t be restarted as the rules say, then the results would be declared on the lap prior to the one during which the race was stopped and whoever was running at that time would be the winner.”
Whiting also added that there was nothing to stop a car that had ‘retired’ early from the race from rejoining in the instance their competitors had also broken down; saying that a team could decide “there’s life in the old girl yet” in a last ditch effort to score some points.
Whilst an improbable scenario, the thinking does illustrate the level of uncertainty in the paddock on the back of a troubled testing season.
If a race was to be stopped, race control would have to seek advice on whether the last remaining cars would have a chance of finish. Such a case would be reliant on teams giving out reliable information – a tricky scenario given the competitive environment of Formula One
Just to add even more chaos into the mix, Whiting divulged that some teams haven’t even engaged in practice starts as part of their testing program.
“I’ve been told that some cars haven’t actually done a practice start yet” said Charlie. “I’m sure they’ll be doing lots here at the pit exit, assuming they go out of course… “I think there are some added concerns. We haven’t seen many cars stall on the grid over the last few years, it’s become a rarity” he said.
Rumours are now circulating that teams might skip a practice session in the event of an issue,
“Teams are worried that it’s going to be more common and I’ve heard even teams say that they’d skip P3 to make sure they have a car for qualifying,” added Charlie. “Everyone’s got their own way of going about things. Some teams tell me it’ll take them seven hours to change an engine, some say it’ll take three, some an hour and a half.”
Let’s hope the bulk of the grid doesn’t have to break parc ferme just to put a show on for Sunday.
Image courtesy Octane Photographic