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FIA aims to make race control more efficient

New FIA deputy race director for Formula One Laurent Mekies has outlined how the organisation is seeking to make its system more efficient.
New FIA deputy race director for Formula One Laurent Mekies has outlined how the organisation is seeking to make its system more efficient while also utilising Charlie Whiting's wealth of experience.

Mekies will replace Whiting's long-time right-hand man Herbie Blash as FIA deputy race director, combining it with his current role as safety director, to become a pinnacle figure in the F1 race direction team.

The Frenchman previously worked as an engineer for Arrows, Minardi and Toro Rosso before switching to the FIA fold and is relishing his new role alongside Whiting.

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As well as using Whiting's vast 20-year experience as race director, Mekies hopes the new technology available will make decisions easier and quicker on racing incidents.

In last year's Mexico Grand Prix, Sebastian Vettel was left furious when Max Verstappen initially escaped a penalty for running on at turn one and not conceding his position to the German driver, leading to an expletive-riddled outburst directed at Verstappen and Whiting.

“We have all the data coming from the 22 F1 cars plus the CCTV. We have a lot of additional on board cameras we can look at too so the amount of information is massive,” Mekies, who worked with Vettel at Toro Rosso, said at the Autosport International show.

“I think the performance comes when you create a system which allows you to watch what you need to watch at the exact moment you need to watch it from. This is where the challenge of making race control more and more efficient is.

“We have a huge amount of data and video available and we have the tools to make it information as relevant as possible to the incident on the decision we have to make.”

While looking to improve efficiency Mekies feels it is vital he leans on Whiting's knowledge and experience as race director for the foreseeable future.

“It is a whole lot of responsibility and Charlie is giving us a lot confidence in our debates because he has such a lot of experience and skills, so we don't want to picture it without Charlie nearby,” he said.

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Blash's decision to step down as FIA deputy race director was confirmed last July but is expected to remain involved in a consultancy role, while is also rumoured to be taking up a role in World Superbikes.



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