Medland: FIA fails to meet F1 expectations again … but it could be worse

Neither team has been officially cited for anything at this stage, and that’s where the crux of the matter lies. Red Bull in particular is extremely angry that what it believes to be confidential information has somehow found its way to rival teams for the likes of Toto Wolff and Laurent Mekies to be commenting on potential breaches by the championship leader.

But it’s not like this is information that would have remained confidential for the rest of time, so Christian Horner really shouldn’t be worrying himself too much about the source of any leak. Instead it’s the substance that he can rightly be concerned about. If the accusations are true, then he’s got a problem on his hands, and if they’re not, he’s well within his rights to hit back.

If it’s the latter, then not only would Horner want to a response from those teams saying the FIA ​​needs to take any breaches severely and pointing the finger at Red Bull, but also from the governing body and an explanation how false information could disseminate into the paddock.

By now there should have been confirmation one way or another as to how teams have complied with the budget cap, but instead we’re left waiting even longer. The certificates have been delayed until Monday, a move that is fine to ensure everything is done correctly, but the way it has been handled is not fine. For it to take most of Wednesday – with teams and fans waiting in the dark – to then decide it can’t make its own deadline, is such poor communication from the FIA.

Christian Horner, 2022 Red Bull testing

Horner has hit back over rumors that Red Bull breached the cost cap, but we still don’t know the FIA’s verdict

Eric Alonso/Getty Images

But waiting has been a bit of a theme over the past few days, with the process that relates to getting the race started taking its share of the limelight on Sunday evening in Singapore.

The amount of rain that fell with little more than an hour to go before the race was pretty remarkable I must admit. Singapore is used to such downpours but the timing of it was the issue, as it seemed ridiculous to send team members out to the grid in conditions where the pitlane couldn’t safely open. And that meant putting everything on hold.

Given the fact that it only stopped raining with roughly 15 minutes before the race had originally been due to start, then at that point there had already been a delay of 45 minutes to the usual schedule that teams, the FIA ​​and F1 will have been following in terms of getting ready and opening the pit lane.

Against that backdrop, a further 20 minutes to check the track conditions – and ensure the worst of the standing water had been swept away before any cars started trying to make their way to the grid – was actually pretty sensitive.

From there, you still need to provide a full ten minutes to allow drivers to check conditions for themselves on the way to the grid (especially given the weather) so you can’t gain back time in the process there. After that you’ve got a further 30 minutes for the grid procedure before the formation lap begins, and that includes time for national anthems and ceremonies that race promoters are not going to be happy about cutting.

Marshalls sweep water off the circuit at the 2022 Singapore Grand Prix

Delaying the race to sweep the circuit was a sensitive move

Zakaria Zainal/Getty Images

So there’s only really a 10 or 15-minute window where you could try and speed up the process in reaction to a delay such as Sunday, and that would mean taking away time for broadcasters and guests on the grid. Opposition to that is going to come from F1 itself, not the FIA.

A contingency grid plan for when there’s been a delay to the race start of more than 30 minutes, for example, would be good to have in future. It’s an area that can be streamlined for such special scenarios, but the main problem here was the extreme weather, and it’s really not fair to blame either F1 or the FIA ​​for that.

There should perhaps be a bit of blame apportioned one way or another to a specific event during the race, though. After Alex Albon crashed at Turn 8, his front wing was stuck under the barrier briefly and the virtual safety car required to remove the debris. F1’s world feed pictures showed marshals still recovering the wing after the VSC had been ended by race control, but all was not as it seemed.

Like pretty much everyone else watching, I was horrified at the prospect of the race resuming with marshals still on track, and used some pretty colorful language at the time. But F1 might have to take the blame for that one rather than the FIA, as the wrong graphic appearing on screen – the race standings and track conditions rather than the required ‘Replay’ ident – ​​accidentally created an image that didn’t actually exist. It was delayed footage from when the track had still been under VSC.