JUNE 10, 2002
Why Barrichello was wrong about the Safety Car
RUBENS BARRICHELLO said after the Canadian GP that Safety Car wrecked his hopes of winning the Canadian GP and criticized the officials for having made that decision.
"Basically I think there was no reason to bring it out," Barrichello said. "The car was parked and I don't think anybody would have run into that car."
Barrichello is probably too young to remember what happened in a similar situation 22 years ago in Long Beach when the Brabham of Ricardo Zunino was left beside the race track after it broke down. Clay Regazzoni, at the wheel of an Ensign, arrived at the end of the main straight and suffered a brake failure. His car ran into the abandoned Brabham and was launched into the air, over a tire barrier and hit the concrete wall at the back of the run-off area. Regazzoni suffered serious back injuries which left him in a wheelchair.
While it is easy to criticize officials it should be remembered that the men responsible for these decisions are Charlie Whiting and Herbie Blash, both of whom have long experience in F1 and both of whom have reason to remember the Long Beach accident as at the time they were both working for Brabham.
The fact that it took them several laps to decide that a Safety Car was necessary is an indication that they did not want to disrupt the race but as the BAR-Honda could not be moved by the marshals there was not choice but to send out the Safety Car to allow the safety workers to get the job done without any danger to themselves.
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