French driver Pierre Gasly reacted furiously after passing a tractor on the track at the Japanese Grand Prix on Sunday, on the same Suzuka circuit where Jules Bianchi suffered a fatal accident.
Gasly said he could have been killed after encountering the vehicle, which was deployed to recover Carlos Sainz’s car after the Spaniard crashed in heavy rain on a chaotic first lap.
The race was red-flagged on the third lap and had not restarted more than an hour later as rain continued to fall.
French driver Bianchi suffered a fatal crash at Suzuka in October 2014 when he collided with a tractor crane that was recovering a car.
He underwent emergency surgery and was placed in an induced coma, but never recovered and died in July 2015.
McLaren driver Lando Norris said the incident involving Gasly in terrible visibility was “unacceptable” in a tweet posted on social media as he waited for the race to restart.
“How’s this happened?” he tweeted.
“We lost a life in this situation years ago. We risk our lives, especially in conditions like this.”
The governing body FIA said the incident would be investigated after the race.
Gasly was also under investigation for allegedly speeding under red flag conditions, having pitted to remove an advertising board that had lodged on the front of his car after Sainz had dislodged it, and then trying to catch the field behind the safety car.
Sainz said: “Even behind a Safety Car we are going at 100 or 150kph and still at those speeds we don’t see nothing.
“I still don’t know why we keep risking, in these conditions, having a tractor on track. You were going to red flag it anyway, so why risk it?”
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said the incident was “totally unacceptable”.
“We lost Jules Bianchi here eight years ago and that should never, ever happen,” he told Sky Sports F1.
“There needs to be a full investigation into why there was a recovery vehicle on the circuit.”