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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
21.11.2014 - Free Practice 2, The mechanics Ferrari bring the car of Fernando Alonso (ESP) to the pit lane
21.11.2014 - Free Practice 1, Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Williams F1 Team FW36 with the car damaged
20.11.2014 - Charlie Whiting (GBR), Race director and safety delegate
20.11.2014 - Mechanics Williams work on the car
09.11.2014 - Race, Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren Mercedes MP4-29
09.11.2014 - Race, Fernando Alonso (ESP) Scuderia Ferrari F14-T and Kevin Magnussen (DEN) McLaren Mercedes MP4-29
09.11.2014 - Race, Pastor Maldonado (VEN) Lotus F1 Team E22
09.11.2014 - Race, Fernando Alonso (ESP) Scuderia Ferrari F14-T and Romain Grosjean (FRA) Lotus F1 Team E22
09.11.2014 - Race, Fernando Alonso (ESP) Scuderia Ferrari F14-T
09.11.2014 - Race, Fernando Alonso (ESP) Scuderia Ferrari F14-T
09.11.2014 - Race, Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB10
09.11.2014 - Race, Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari F14-T and Fernando Alonso (ESP) Scuderia Ferrari F14-T
09.11.2014 - Race, Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Sahara Force India F1 VJM07 and Felipe Massa (BRA) Williams F1 Team FW36
09.11.2014 - Race, Daniil Kvyat (RUS) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR9 and Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W05
09.11.2014 - Race, 3rd position Felipe Massa (BRA) Williams F1 Team FW36

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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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