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Safety car change being considered

Charlie Whiting reveals F1 safety car rules could be amended
FIA race director Charlie Whiting has admitted that the governing body is looking again at the rule that would see lapped cars drop to the rear of the field when the safety car is deployed in F1.

In the past, lapped cars amongst the leaders were waved through to allow the front-runners to take the restart in order although the rule was dropped ahead of the 2010 season.

It means that in the event of a caution period, lapped cars now take the restart mixed up with the rest of the field – a system which has proved to be unpopular with drivers fighting for position who find themselves trapped behind a lapped car when the race resumes.

Speaking ahead of the European Grand Prix on a range of issues, Whiting was quizzed about safety car regulations following recent incidents in Monaco and Canada, and he revealed that a rule where lapped cars would be put to the back of the field was being considered.

“It's on the agenda,” Whiting revealed. “We've attempted this before, as you know, but the procedure then was a bit complicated. I think there are simpler ways of doing it and we've discussed a few, but we haven't been able to agree on anything.

“I agree that when the restart comes you don't want lapped cars there as it dilutes the field.”

Whiting also defended the decision to suspend the Canadian race due to adverse weather conditions although he admitted that there were things to consider on the back of the Montreal event – which eventually came to a finish some four hours after the lights had gone out for the start.

“The decisions that needed to be taken weren't particularly hard,” he said. “When it rained it was quite clear we needed to stop the race.

“I think there are two things we've learned from suspending a race this year. One is we need to discuss with the teams whether or not working on cars should be allowed and whether a change of tyres should be allowed during a [race] suspension.

“Also - and I never would have thought it - we maybe need to think about a maximum time for the race. At the moment, as you know, the time for any suspension is added onto the two hours [maximum race time], that's why we ran for four hours and four minutes. We're going to discuss that with the teams.

“I think the procedures worked perfectly well. Unfortunately, quite a few spectators left. I don't know what happened with television broadcasts, that must have been quite difficult for TV companies, to know when to cut to something else and how long it was going to be. It would be nice to have been able to say during the suspension how long it might be, but it was almost impossible to say, because apart from knowing when the rain was likely to stop there was the problem of clearing up water on the track, which was quite serious. I think the guys that did hang around got a good show.”

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
12.06.2011- Race, The Safety car leads Sebastian Vettel (GER), Red Bull Racing, RB7
12.06.2011- Race, The Safety car leads Sebastian Vettel (GER), Red Bull Racing, RB7
12.06.2011- Race, The Safety car leads Sebastian Vettel (GER), Red Bull Racing, RB7
27.11.2016 - Race, Roger Federer (SUI) tennis player and Bernd Maylander (GER) FIA Safety Car Driver
27.11.2016 - Race, Gerard Berger (AUT), Michael
27.11.2016 - Safety car and Medical car
27.11.2016 - Fia group photo, Michael
27.11.2016 - Fia group photo, Michael
27.11.2016 - Fia group photo
25.11.2016 - Michael
25.11.2016 - Michael
13.11.2016 - Race, Max Verstappen (NED) Red Bull Racing RB12 and Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB12
13.11.2016 - Race, Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid
13.11.2016 - Race, Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Safety car
13.11.2016 - Race, Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid
13.11.2016 - Race, Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid
13.11.2016 - Race, Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H
13.11.2016 - Race, Felipe Nasr (BRA) Sauber C34

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June 27, 2011 9:16 AM

I don't think the decision to suspend the race was wrong, neither was restarting under the safety car. Having the safety car stay out for so long certainly was though! When you have a car (illegaly) changing onto inters while the safety car is still out, and a whole load more changing as soon as the safety car went in surely indicates that the safety car could have gone in much sooner.

Dale - Unregistered

June 26, 2011 1:19 PM

Pete, if you were asked to drive your road car to the shops in 1m deep water, you'd also say it was impossible. For an F1 car - just a few mm off the ground, it would have been the same scenario. When the actual car & not just the tyres is plowing through the water, then is time to make a smart choice.

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