FIA launches 'thorough review' of Japanese GP recovery vehicle deployment

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The FIA says it has launched a "thorough review" of the events involving the deployment of a recovery vehicle shortly after the start of Sunday's Japanese Grand Prix.

The vehicle was deployed after the race was neutralized by a safety car caused by Carlos Sainz's crash on the opening lap.

The vehicle was in the process of recovering the Spaniard's stricken Ferrari when the AlphaTauri of Pierre Gasly, who was catching up to the field behind the safety car after a first lap pitstop, rushed by at speed.

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In its statement, the governing body said: "While it is normal practice to recover cars under Safety Car and Red Flag conditions, due to the particular circumstances and also taking into account feedback from of a number of drivers, the FIA has launched a thorough review of the events involving the deployment of recovery vehicles during the Japanese Grand Prix.

"This is part of the common practice of debrief and analysis of all race incidents to ensure continual improvements of processes and procedures."

The presence of the recovery vehicle was heavily criticized, not only by Gasly who felt that his life had been put at risk by the machine's ill-timed intervention, but also by several other drivers who viewed the situation as extremely dangerous, with everyone drawing comparisons to the late Jules Bianchi's ultimately fatal crash in the wet at Suzuka in 2014.

The FIA's investigation will likely focus on whether the recovery vehicle was deployed independently on-site by the marshals or whether the call came from Race Control.

Article 2.6.1 of Appendix H of the International Sporting Code by which all FIA events are run, states clearly: "No marshal or vehicle shall enter the circuit perimeter without permission from race control."

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