Race director nearly stopped British GP

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Formula One race director Charlie Whiting has admitted that he considered red flagging today’s British Grand Prix after a series of large tire failures during the early stages of the race.

Lewis Hamilton, Felipe Massa and Jean-Eric Vergne all experienced blowouts before their first stops during the race, with the Toro Rosso’s failure leaving debris strewn across the track and warranting a safety car period. Later on, Esteban Gutierrez and Sergio Perez also suffered similar failures, all of which caused Whiting to question the future of the race.

“It was quite close to being red-flagged; it did occur to me to do that,” Whiting told Autosport.

Whiting’s primary concern was the marshals who had to complete the large clean-up after Vergne’s failure.

“Obviously to clear up all that debris was putting marshals at risk, and it is not satisfactory.

“We haven’t seen a failure like this before; we have seen other types of failure – and that is what has been addressed. So we need to analyse it very carefully to see if we can establish the cause.”

Whiting has once again shown himself to have a cool head under pressure, prioritizing the safety of all involved with the grand prix going ahead. The failures have caused great concern, with Felipe Massa believing that his safety was “in the hands of God” during the race. Pirelli are expected to have a meeting with the FIA in the coming few days to discuss the issues.

Audi bids farewell to Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich upon retirement

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Audi bid farewell to its iconic head of motorsport, Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, at its end-of-season ‘Race Night’ event in Germany on Friday upon his retirement.

Ullrich took over the reins as Audi’s head of motorsport in 1993 and stayed in the role for 23 years, overseeing its arrival in the prototype class of sports car racing and domination of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Ullrich stepped down from the position at the end of 2016, handing the reins over to ex-Audi DTM chief Dieter Gass, and attended his final racing event with the German marque at its first works Formula E outing in Hong Kong earlier this month.

Ullrich was honored at the Race Night event on Friday and thanked for his efforts in developing Audi into a force within global motorsport.

“In 566 factory-backed commitments during this period he celebrated 209 victories, 13 of them in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, eleven in the 12-hour race at Sebring and nine in the ‘Petit Le Mans’ at Road Atlanta,” a piece on Ullrich’s tenure for Audi’s website reads.

“31 driver titles in super touring car racing, in the DTM and in the sports prototype category are credited to him. 57 campaigners were Audi factory drivers during Wolfgang Ullrich’s era and he was responsible for 18 new developments of racing cars – an impressive tally.”