he Italian Grand Prix ended behind the safety car because of difficulties in marshals moving Daniel Ricciardo’s stricken McLaren, according to the FIA.
The Australian driver pulled over to the side of the road on lap 47 of the 53-lap race on Sunday to disrupt Max Verstappen’s seemingly unstoppable march to victory.
Race control called out the safety car while the McLaren was being moved, however a telehandler was required to carry it off the track. Marshals would typically have rolled the car into a side road yet this was not possible because it was stuck in gear.
That led to a longer-than-expected delay in restarting the race, which continued its final laps at a slower pace as F1 stewards felt the scenario did not merit a red flag, resulting in Verstappen beating Charles Leclerc to the chequered flag under the safety car.
“While every effort was made to recover Car #3 quickly and resume racing, the situation developed and marshals were unable to put the car into neutral and push it into the escape road,” an FIA statement read after the race.
“As the safety of the recovery operation is our only priority, and the incident was not significant enough to require a red flag, the race ended under safety car following the procedures agreed between the FIA and all Competitors.
“The timing of the safety car period within a race has no bearing on this procedure.”
A number of fans complained online after the race that they had been denied a fight for the finish. F1 and the FIA clarified their rulebook and altered their race control system having received significant criticism in the aftermath of last season’s title decider in Abu Dhabi, when they were accused of maneuvering the rules to artificially ensure the race did not finish under the safety car.