Masi explains safety car call after Norris stoppage
Norris retired in the last third of the race at the Nürburgring due to an engine problem and parked his car at Turn 6 on the side of the road.
Although Norris' car was next to a marshal's post and a gate, race management decided to use the safety car on lap 45 and wiped Lewis Hamilton's 10-second lead at the head of the field.
An early break for Williams driver George Russell had been covered by a virtual safety car, but Masi explained that the uncertainty about how long it would take to clear Norris' McLaren established a full safety car period.
"Lando's car had some smoke and fire, so that was a point," said Masi. "The other thing at first glance was that we weren't sure whether the car could actually be recovered into the opening that was there because of the leakage.
"Instead of having to react along the way, the decision was made to opt for a safety car so that it could be done immediately at once.
"It was the safest action under the circumstances."
This was followed by a long safety car phase that lasted five laps and triggered complaints from race director Hamilton and second-placed Max Verstappen, who were concerned about their tire temperatures in the cold.
"I just didn't understand why the safety car was out for so long," said Verstappen after the race.
"The car was evacuated. I understand they want to pack the field up, but it's pretty dangerous with these cars when the tires are so cold."
All drivers up to Carlos Sainz in fifth place had been lapped, which resulted in a long train of cars passing by and then having to let go of themselves.
Masi said this was the only reason for the length of the safety car.
"That was the fact that, according to the sports regulations, we had to fly past all lapped cars," said Masi.
"From that point on, it was still position 6 that was still running. So 10 or 11 cars had to come off and the safety car time was a little longer than normally expected."
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