The 2017 Azerbaijan Grand Prix was a somewhat chaotic affair, no more so than during the multiple safety car restarts. While fans and pundits applauded scenes of three-wide, wheel-to-wheel racing once each green flag dropped, Scuderia Toro Rosso driver, Carlos Sainz Jr., believes the restart procedure needs to be changed for next year.
Sainz, who finished eighth in Azerbaijan following a lap one spin, has raised concerns that the safety car restarts where in fact dangerous, owing to the Baku street circuit’s lengthy straight and positioning of the ‘Safety Car Line’.
Talking to f1i.com, Sainz said: “It was probably the most dangerous part of the race when we restart.
“The leaders were waiting up until the safety car line to start and at the same time they were going fast and slow.
“For the guys at the back we are still in the corners when they going fast, slow, there’s walls and we cannot see through them.
“So suddenly we are going flat-out sixth, seventh gear and they were braking again. For me, a bit on the dangerous side.”
Sainz reckons a safer procedure would see the Safety Car Line, the point at which the race can restart, moved closer to the exit of turn 16, making for a more predictable and visible start for those deeper in the pack.
“Probably for next year they should consider when the leader is obliged to push. I think they should just put a rule where the leader starts before Turn 16 and to be flat from 16 because you cannot be slow, slow braking, fast, slow braking all of the time in such a long straight with people actually thinking they are going.
“Suddenly you are upshifting and upshifting, and braking again. It was probably the most dangerous part of the race.
“If I would have been the leaders then I probably would have done the same. It’s not the leader’s fault at all as I think all of us would have done the same to avoid the maximum possible slipstream that is on that straight.
“It’s just the rule I think and if you want to be a bit more careful and make sure no accidents, if not, let it be and more things will happen.”