#F1 Features: Safety Car farce needs addressing – brought to you by @GoMotorFleet

In his post race video blog, Nico Rosberg identifies the randomness of the safety car as costing him the win in the Hungarian GP (Though why he is levitating at 90 degrees to the horizontal is anyone’s guess).

In the mean time Lewis was thanking ‘the Lord’  on the podium as Martin Brundle dodged asking the tough questions.. Brundle was inundated with queries from F1 writers and TV presenters alike on Twitter as to why he failed to ask Hamilton about his failure to obey team orders.

Anyway, that’s a tale is for another day.

So far this year, the safety car has been deployed at a time giving the leading car the opportunity to pit before catching the safety car. This nullifies the opportunity of the lead car being jumped due to the opportunity of others further back to pit and gain an advantage.

In Hungary, this was not the case. The safety car light was displayed on circuit boards and on the drivers’ dashboards just as Vettel, who was in third place (behind Rosberg and Bottas), passed the pit entry.

On lap seven, Rookie Caterham driver Ecricsson, demonstrated the reason why he may be in Formula 1 for only a brief period. He floored the throttle exiting turn three with the resulting heavy hit on the tyre barrier spreading shards of carbon fibre across the concrete run off apron and a portion of the circuit.


At the time of Ericsson’s demise, he was 54 seconds behind Rosberg, or put it another way, Rosberg was around 48-50 seconds from catching him. This places the race leader about 13-15 seconds from completing the lap, yet by the time he crossed the start finish line, the safety car was appearing from the pit lane.

The timing of Charlie Whiting’s decision to deploy the safety car meant the pack was shuffled. Rosberg with a 9 second lead was in fact least affected amongst the front runners by having to pit a lap later than those behind Vettel who all had the opportunity – deprived of the first three – to dive into the pits a lap earlier than the leaders.

Ricciardo, previously 6th,  came out ahead of the rest and behind him was Jenson Button (previously 5th). However, the McLaren weather radar system must have been sourced from a Christmas cracker as the team made the ill fated decision to send Button out on another set of intermediate wet tyres.

It did not rain again.

Massa faired well as his 8th position became third, and Nico Rosberg found himself behind the leading Williams in 4th.

Vettel who prior to the SC was 3rd, fell to 7th and second place man Valtteri Bottas was now way out in 11th. Neither driver recovered from the disadvantage the safety car dealt them in terms of the track position which resulted following their inability to pit at the same time as those behind them.

Here’s the order pre Ericsson’s misdemeanor. untitled

Rosberg (9 seconds ahead)

The snake which eventually followed the safety car for 6 laps, was in the following order.

Magnussen (up from 19th and didn’t pit)

The safety car meant Bottas and Vettel, previously 2nd and 3rd, finished the race in 7th and 8th. Rosberg faired somewhat better due to his 9 seconds lead prior to Ericsson’s off.

This brings us to a crucial issue for Formula 1 going forward, particularly with the spectacle of post safety car standing restarts. Should the decision to deploy the safety car take into consideration the integrity of the racing thus far?

Let’s remember, the safety car was introduced to improve safety during a Formula 1 race, not to ‘spice up the show’. At the time of its introduction, ‘hard core’ F1 fans objected to the arbitrary interference with race order. Though through several iterations of rule changes and the mantra of safety, the modern PC F1 fan accepts the deployment of the safety car without question.

“Simples… its for safety…. innit?”

Clearly, driver and marshal safety must be paramount, however, as was evident in the previous race in Germany, there are other tools at the disposal of the race director to ensure the safety of all concerned.


Double waved yellows in all levels of motorsport, indicates to the drivers that a very serious incident has taken place on track and that they should “slow down and be prepared to stop”.

At the 2014 Hungarian GP, Marcus Ericsson’s car had been concertinaed and the driver was still in the car. Carbon fibre debris was scattered, and the scene of the crash at first sight looked grim.

The safety car was deployed within 10 seconds of Charlie seeing the incident on the monitors.

Yet had double waved yellows been the tool of preference for the race controller, and the drivers obeyed the letter of the law, the safety car could have and should have been delayed without compromising safety. This would have preserved the integrity of the race thus far.

To ensure the integrity of the race, the Ericsson incident in Hungary would have meant delaying the decision to deploy Bernd Mylander by around 38 seconds, under double yellows, and the race leader would have been able to pit and come out in the lead behind the safety car.

38 seconds was the time difference between Magnussen and the race leader, and because the McLaren driver chose not to stop following the safety car deployment, he was the first car ahead of Rosberg following the pit stops shuffle enforced by Ericsson’s shunt.

As it turned out, Ericsson was unhurt, as has been the case with the majority of drivers in similar incidents for many years, due to the fabulous safety of the modern monocoque design.

untitledThe recent furore over whether the safety car none deployment in Germany over Sutil’s stranded car (way off the racing line as anyone who has even driven a kart would know), should be a cause for concern. The huge number of views expressed by F1 fans on social media, appeared favour the view that the safety car should be deployed – if there is any shred of doubt over safety.

However, absolute safety in motorsport is impossible,

Failure to challenge the use and protocols which deploy the safety car, will definitely lead to a creeping use of a device which interferes with proper racing. What is required is a proper risk management based approach to balance safety and interfering with the integrity of the race.

Double waved yellows are a powerful tool at the disposal of the race director to prevent the interference with the race order, until the appropriate time arrives to deploy the safety car.

Drivers must be forced to respect the double waved yellows, as Hamilton confessed he failed to in Germany. “You come around that corner at serious speed and then there are marshals not far from where you are driving. It felt like the closest thing I have seen for a long, long time.’

If drivers refuse to obey or push the limits as to what exactly double waved yellows mean, then it is easy enough to provide them with a delta time/speed for the sector affected by a serious crash. This speed limit could be equivalent that imposed in the pit lane where scores of mechanics are regularly exposed to passing cars. Breach of this should result in severe penalties for drivers endangering lives.

The focus thus far has been on double waved yellows, because this is a current tool at the disposal of the race controller. Of course, Charlie has the technology available at is disposal to flash an instant message to each car, stating the sector affected by an accident and instructing the drivers to reduce speed to pit lane speed limits.

Formula 1 teams want to go racing, understandably, though the wisdom of allowing cars to fit slick tyres in Hungary last weekend to be driven slowly behind the safety car on a wet and cool track where the pressures and tyre temperatures were way outside their operating window – is at least questionable.

Romain Grosjean discovered this to his cost during the race in Hungary, when trying to warm his tyres behind the safety car, he stuck it in the barrier.

Formula 1 fans have been highly vociferous this year over current and proposed regulations which may manufacture the results of races and even where the eventual drivers’ championship may fall.

Most opposed has been Ecclestone’s decision to award double points in the final race of the season.

Yet the safety car has been manufacturing race results for years, based upon the timing of race control’s decision on when it should be deployed.


Of course the safety car spices up ‘the show’, but if we the fans endorse such a random shuffle of the deck, when technology and simple protocols offer other solutions, then we have lost the moral high ground and when when Ecclestone and Flavio dream up silly ideas which affect racing integrity, our opposition will lack credibility.

The effect of SC periods at times is akin to throwing a ‘multiball’ period into Association Football.

The problem with the safety car is in Hungary was clear. Drivers are given a delta time to which they must drive when the safety car is first deployed. This is a reduced lap time from race pace, designed for safety and to slow the cars down.

However, if a driver pits before catching the safety car, his delta time for the next lap includes the pit stop. Of course having been stationary for a few seconds and trundling through the pits at 80kmh, this then allows  driver to blast out of the pits and drive far more quickly in sector 1 because his delta time includes the stationary time in the pit lane.

This is both dangerous, and delivers an advantage to those pitting during the first lap of a safety car, over those who choose, or are forced not to do so. So for the lucky ones, the result is a the best part of a ‘free pit stop’.

Given the technology in Formula 1, this is a complete farce.

untitledUnless we regain control of safety car regulations, we may see similar results to that of the recent IndyCar race – no. 2 – in Toronto, where the victory was taken by a driver who gambled on a safety car incident whilst the track was still green and there was no evidence there would be a full course yellow.

Mike Conway won a race described by certain North American racing media outlets as “The Toronto lottery”. The race in fact ran under the safety car for longer than it did under green track conditions.

The danger for F1 is…. that as in IndyCar, the safety car becomes a creeping menace. This may be great for TV companies who wish to take and advertisement break, and should they offer Ecclestone more cash to facilitate this – then inevitably, more safety car periods will ensue.

Remember, the proposed standing restarts following the safety car in 2015 will be at the discretion of race control, and is that what we want?

F1 fans need to think long and hard over this before throwing their arms in the air and complaining about the proposed manufactured racing and scoring regulations. Double points and other ideas designed to improve “the show”, are no worse than the randomness and manufactured results created by the lack of proper current safety car protocols.

Yet, the safety car ‘spicing up the show’….. has been going unchallenged for many a year.

111 responses to “#F1 Features: Safety Car farce needs addressing – brought to you by @GoMotorFleet

  1. Now for something else. Some people (hamilton for example) are heard complaining over the decision not to deploy the safety car in Germany. Saying it was dangerous for the stewards.but what i saw yesterday was even more dangerous. Even though there was a safety car. Going from inters to slicks, with still wet surface at some places. And just that place where the stewards worked happend to be the wettest of them all. And all i could see was cars slipping and sliding… (not to say anything about those two stewards who, by luck, escape their dead as erricson hit the tire wall)

  2. A kind request if I may. Since there might be religious people in this blog, could we please refrain from sarcastic inferences to Lewis’s beliefs, etc. I refer specifically to the text “In the mean time Lewis was thanking ‘the Lord’ on the podium…”
    Maybe I read too much in the inverted commas and if so, apologies.

    • While people shouldn’t be nasty about people’s religious beliefs, we also don’t have to pander to them.
      It’s perfectly acceptable to criticise Lewis for thanking the Lord for a podium when his God regularly allows children to starve to death.
      Having a religious persuasion isn’t a licence to be ridiculous without consequence

      • “…when his God regularly allows children to starve to death.” I respectfully disagree. People allow children to starve through their hunger for money and power. If you’er religious, you understand that God gave people the freedom to do what they like but also showed them the way of humility. If they don’t choose to take it, then they get what the sow.

        In any case, this is not a religious blog and will not engage further in such conversations. I come here to read and and converse on all things F1, not cringe at certain posts and quotes (and I don’t mean yours, please don’t get offended).

        • You started it.

          Either he has influence on both the race and starving children… or he has influence on neither. In either case thanking him is ridiculous and worthy of light ridicule.

        • You can’t package Lewis’ religious beliefs away so easily I’m afraid – if they are genuine then they are intertwined with his mindset – and affect all he does and says – including how he drives and relates to his team.

          On the other hand if he is just being fanciful – then that is also worthy of comment.

          Lewis is an F1 driver – he chose not to keep his religious views private – and wears a double dose of huge great rosary beads with a large cross attached on the parade lap before a race.

          He is making a statement, and is fair game.

          • So are you saying that as a sports person, be it F1 or whatever arena they’re in, they should keep their religious beliefs private, so as not to have it ridiculed by anyone?

          • …open to comment. Whose to say Lewis is not the next David Ike waiting to happen 😉

            David Icke was once a top sports presenter for the BBC, then he resigned overnight, bought a purple robe and the rest is history….

          • So i see that my reply was removed. Clearly proved my point

          • And why would it, after all the only thing on here that’s not open to debate, is ethnicity.

          • …there you go again – its like you have tourette syndrome….. raising ethnicity again……

            I’ll answer your points and then…..

            …they were serious philosophical issues, which may or may not affect Lewis’ thinking.

            Is he a fatalist/determinist? Now that does open a whole line of questioning – and could explain something about his driving style – a la Senna….

            Why did he make such an ill advised comment with regard to Michael Schumacher? “everything happens for a reason”

            ….something we didn’t report back in March, because we were being sensitive to Michael’s family situation….

            Lewis has plenty to say about lots of stuff – and is fair game because of that….

            …we have covered Lewis religious beliefs before when he said he had been “praying for Sutil”, who according to some accounts Lewis had previously deserted as his friend in his hour of need – although they were supposed to be mates.

            I think Hamilton is an exceptional driver and box office – so long may he stay in F1..

            Now Fortis…………

            It is you who too often cries racism and are accusatory toward others, as I previously described creating a maelstrom from your own imagination….

            and to stop this, your comments will go into a ‘pending moderation’ section – just to calm things down a little for a while….

            You’re like the naughty but loveable boy in the classroom, and we just need to reduce your contributions/interruptions to the lessons a tad, so everyone else can learn and contribute too…. 😉

    • … @McLaren78 Don’t tempt me…..

      Many questions arise because Lewis persists in purveying his religious beliefs from his platform …. and therefore we are free to comment.

      So why did ‘the Lord’ help Lewis on Sunday, but not save his car from being a raging inferno on Saturday…

      If Lewis fails to win the WDC, will the Lord have let him down, or will he have done something bad and require punishment from on high?

      I could go on for quite some time….

      Can of worms – better he kept quite unless he has a coherent philosophical world view

      • Very true. It’s arrogant beyond belief that God has a special plan for him but not the many millions who suffer everyday. I’m still a Hamilton fan but I cringe.

      • I agree. I’m afraid it is written no where that any deity will assist in attaining a GP podium. That podium was done simply by driving amazingly well and then destroying his teams prospect to win a race. It’s all very human really.

      • As I said, this is not a religious forum and will not engage to religious conversations further. If the sarcasm was towards Lewis, then that’s different to being sarcastic to a religion. But don’t forget that the guy wears his heart on his sleeve and he did what he felt right for his beliefs. I stop now as I want to keep it in all matters F1. It was just a kind request I made because it made me feel a little bit uncomfortable.

        • I think the throwaway comment in the original report was fairly obviously just that – you chose to bring up the word and debate around religion…..

          The barb was clearly more directed towards Martin Brundle

          “In his post race video blog, Nico Rosberg identifies the randomness of the safety car as costing him the win in the Hungarian GP (Though why he is levitating at 90 degrees to the horizontal is anyone’s guess).

          In the mean time Lewis was thanking ‘the Lord’ on the podium as Martin Brundle dodged asking the tough questions.. Brundle was inundated with queries from F1 writers and TV presenters alike on Twitter as to why he failed to ask Hamilton about his failure to obey team orders”.

      • Wow!!!!…. So now his personal religious beliefs is now open to scrutiny as well?

          • Thats not a protest on religious grounds, but rather that of humanity and the plight to stop the needless bombing of a small province, who has had their borders closed on all sides and have no where to go or means to fairly defend themselves against a vastly superior nation.

            Futhermore, is he being ridiculed for his beliefs, becuse as you can clearly see by his beard, he’s displaying his religious beliefs. The talking point about the wrist band is, “Should atheletes be allowed to wear items, that promotes a political view?

            Footballers wear T-shirts beneath their uniforms that gives praise to their religious beliefs and it’s not outlawed, but what is, are messages of political nature.

          • ….. @Fortis

            Maybe we limit you to 10 comments a day – and you’ll refrain from spewing utter nonsense, saving your posts for the regular and insightful comments you deliver..

            Who is ridiculing Moin Ali????

            What are you talking about???

            TJ13 There was a one line in a TJ13 piece reporting Lewis ‘thanking the Lord’ WITHOUT COMMENT!!!!!!!! which was followed by 2 sentences critiquing Brundle’s interview…

            You are creating a maelstrom from your own imaginations and irritating many of the courtroom attendees….

            I suggest you desist…..

          • “Many questions arise because Lewis persists in purveying his religious beliefs from his platform …. and therefore we are free to comment.

            So why did ‘the Lord’ help Lewis on Sunday, but not save his car from being a raging inferno on Saturday…

            If Lewis fails to win the WDC, will the Lord have let him down, or will he have done something bad and require punishment from on high?

            I could go on for quite some time….

            Can of worms – better he kept quite unless he has a coherent philosophical world view”……

            Isn’t that you ridiculing his relgion? Have you never said “thank god” for somthing in your entire life? (thats if your not an Atheist)

            now i know you’re not the one who brought up the issue of religion, but to make a statement like that, was unexpected.

            You’re the one who displayed the pic of Moin Ali and his wristband, not me. To which i merely pointed out, that was not about religion, but rather a political statement.

            Well if you don’t want the attendees in the courtroom to be irritated, then keep the topic to F1 related stories and not venture off into a persons religious beliefs.

          • I suggest the judge count to 10 and take another look at Fortis’ post made at 17:28 (putting all other aside). I’m quite surprised by some of the reactions here today.

      • Well, I had a look planning to make some sort of comment about using the G metres in the cars to automatically deploy SC and had quite the strategy viz double waved yellow (think they should change to yellow/orange for starters) but clearly we’ve wandered back down the rabbit hole.

        Thanking one’s personal saviour in a massively public forum has almost become de rigeur (particularly with the golfers, IDK why) over here and one that induces a viscerally uncomfortable reaction whenever I happen to see it.

        Maybe it’s because I was raised in a different era, but it seems massively inappropriate in the setting of sports. Not that I begrudge anyone their personal religion etc., but simple etiquette suggests that those testimonials be left to various houses of worship. Though fair game if interviewer brings it up, I’d greatly prefer it if this dismaying trend were to reverse.

    • Religion is a personal belief. As an atheist I don’t want to have other people’s views shoved down my throat. Everyone is free to believe and be religious, but I think it is my right that they do so in private. If he wants to thank whatever invisible friend he believes in, he can go into a church and do so. Doing so before a world-wide audience, once that also includes members of other faiths, who may feel offended by it, is a stupid idea IMHO.

      • But he is not shoving it down your throat Mr Hippo. Just as you are free to state whatever you believe in and do so freely so is everyone else, even though you may not find that palatable. It’s just the way of the world.

        If your argument holds true though then we should all dress “normal” so no pope clothes, no Sikh wearing turbans etc…

        Got to get a thicker skin Mr Hippo 😛

        • That are two different things. I didn’t say he isn’t allowed to wear his religious symbols. What I object to is the ‘demonstrativeness’ of it. It wasn’t an invisible friend who helped him yesterday, it was two perfectly timed safety car and the best engine in the field.

          Just as a similar example – I have no problem with homosexuals and I’m not offended by two men walking hand in hand or even kissing each other. What I’m offended by is these over-the-top gay-pride parades with half naked men all but giving each other BJ’s in public. Everyone is free to live his life the way he likes to, but it isn’t necessary to do so in public.

          • Having lived in London, Brighton and Bristol – all of which have well-known gay pride marches/events – I don’t think I’ve ever seen that kind of activity taking place at them. It’s also interesting that you only mention men (whereas it seems most gay pride marches tend to be fairly well attended by both sexes), as well as adhering to the “I’m not ____, but _____” argument deployed to spectacular self-twattishness-highlighting effect by the far right political parties here in the UK. I’m not gay, but equally I don’t feel the need to try and force those who are to restrict how they live their lives in public (especially when it’s seemingly based on fictitious circumstances) more than any other individual/group.

            Similarly to me not being gay but still finding that comment ridiculous, I’m not a Lewis Hamilton fan but the grindingly repetitive anti-Hamilton rhetoric that’s been creeping into news articles on this website have been making me go elsewhere (even though this website tends to be much more informative than most). I’m aware that this website is provided free of charge to us readers, and also aware that I’m under no obligation to come here, but it’s disappointing that what seemed to be less-biased/skewed coverage has been increasingly trying to find reasons for things where there are none. When there are subtle pops on here at other news outlets due to the quality of their coverage, it seems slightly hypocritical that – as an example – Hamilton speaking his mind at a press conference is often portrayed as him being an idiot/making a mistake/generally negative, but then if he’s more restrained with the press he’s portrayed as having a tantrum/being an idiot/making a mistake/generally negative. To use this particular post as an example, it’s widely accepted that the tedious PR-friendly personality vacuum press conferences are no match for drivers speaking their minds, yet when Hamilton spoke his mind here and briefly, in passing, happened to mention his faith it becomes a big deal. It’s surprising that no-one’s picked up on drivers thanking the fans for their support in helping them win races in that that essentially only has a similar mental/morale boosting effect as believing that your chosen deity is helping you.

            This could just be me for some reason picking up on these certain items in the Daily News/other special features, so feel free to disregard this if you (meaning anyone who contributes to this website) choose. That aside, thanks for providing such generally high quality information and well-written articles that do much to enhance the overall experience for us fans.

          • Well at least one other person who noticed that the news have become a thinly veiled tool for driver bashing. Welcome to the club.

            As for your comment about the gay pride parades and the implied accusation of homophobia. Since three of my friends are gay (two male, one female) I’m not sure it holds true and as for my ‘restriction’ of describing gay parades to only men – it simply are mostly men – at least on the parades that I’ve seen in Berlin. It could be rooted in the fact that West Germany until 1994, unlike the communist east where I come from, still had the ‘gay paragraph’, which made homosexual contact between men a criminal offense, unlike the same between women, which was ‘allowed’.
            In East Germany, homosexuality as a criminal offense was abolished in the 60s. That#s why I think the male gay community is a bit more ‘expressive over here.

          • Thanks for that… However, my many years experience of F1 has taught me to treat F1 with an eye to the comical. Whilst we report the news, Tj13 comment has never been a subservient to those involved in the sport…

            Along with the comical, I have learned to treat most utterances by public f1 figures with a healthy scepticism… there is almost always an agenda….

            The gavel of judgement has fallen on many, Ecclestone, CVC, Todt, Whiting, various Sky and BBC presenters, Alonso, Button, Vettel, Crashtor, the Iceman, team principles, Dennis, Horner, Domenicali, Mallya, Fernandes…. The list goes on and on.

            There is one venerated individual, held in deified honour, the oldest members of the community may remember why, is of course Mrs Judge’s favourite driver of all time…. Soon to be … Sir Mark Webber 😉

            if you realised the string and tape which holds certain aspects of the F1 circus big top together, you’d be amazed….

            We don’t do hero worship, but give credit where it’s due…

            Lewis is a running theme this year for obvious reasons, and he says a lot of stuff… Some of it quite strange…

            So we leave it to the Hamfosi to sing the chorus of worship at the shrine of Hamilton, and try to balance out the record – merely for purposes of equity 🙂

          • Let’s say McLaren’s tyre choice had worked out (indulge me for a second) and Button was up on the podium. If he’d said his dad had been looking down on him and helped him get that result, would you have chided him for saying something like that in public?

          • Yes. Because, if he wants to remember his late dad he can do so. Doing it on the podium is a needless dredging up of private matters in public. Why is it even needed other that ‘harvesting ooos and awwwws’. When my parents die I want to grieve in private, not give an interview about it.

          • Fair enough. But these guys are being interviewed about what was going through their mind, what they were feeling, and so perhaps we shouldn’t be so harsh if what was private becomes public.

          • They are all too eager demanding their privacy if they need it, forgetting that if you make every bit of your private life a yellow press happening for years, it’s a trifle hard to demand being let alone when you need it.

            Lewis is the extreme on one hand pretty much living out in the open tweeting every dump he takes, while Vettel is the opposite and refuses to have his private life discussed, has no faceborg or twatter account. Which one of the two is more likely to be left alone when he really needs it?

  3. I’m a fan of the sport and don’t feel the need to have a balanced and consistent view. Even (?) politicians don’t have that.

    So: Briatore bad, Hungary safetycar good.

    By the way I think 10 seconds is too slow, as soon as I saw that crash I said safetycar. You cannot outlaw all risks, but if something happens, the least thing to do is sent out safety and medical car. As they did.

    • Indeed, it would only have taken 1 second to click ‘SC’.. the car bounced back near to the track, and debris had scattered. Tbh, I thought that they probably just missed it for so long because it was a back-marker, or they were wasting time on something irrelevant like “did X gain 0.01 by going off-track on our big run-off”.

      So, they should have reacted quicker, but if they had then the race would also have not been as exciting, even if it was fairer I think.

  4. I think the easiest way to ensure that the safety car doesn’t overly hamper drivers is that the pit lane is only open in order of your current position. E.g. yesterday no one can pit until P1 has re-passed (or entered) the pits. Lapped cars would be allowed in on the basis of where they were on the road.

    Too many races are getting decided by safety cars, I’ve hated it for years. Germany 2000 sticks out like a sore thumb, as does Canada 2011 and you can add Hungary 2014 to that list. Singapore 2008 wouldn’t be possible utilising that idea.

    I’d also leave lapped traffic in play. There is a time cost associated with passing a car, if the guy in front has passed 6 cars at racing speed then the guy chasing should have to as well. Removing lapped cars is not only dangerous, but lengthens safety car periods.

    I don’t think the above would be tricky to implement at all, and as a result we’d end up with a fairer result – and I’m for that in all forms of sport.

    • @Paul “I think the easiest way to ensure that the safety car doesn’t overly hamper drivers is that the pit lane is only open in order of your current position”

      Masterful idea.

      Paul for FIA president!!!!!

      • I was thinking about something along those lines: close the pit-lane immediately after the accident (so that there is no gambles from drivers) and re-open it once the safety car has picked up the leader. But this could create the danger that once the pit-lane reopens, *all* F1 cars will plunge into the pits, which is not a very good idea.

        So my question: would it work if the pit-lane stayed closed until the Safety Car period ends?

    • “… and as a result we’d end up with a fairer result – and I’m for that in all forms of sport…. ”
      @ Paul
      My solution, for the utmost fairness to all drivers, is to freeze the time gaps between each driver, and add those times to their final finishing times.

      note to theJudge13 from grammarfosi :
      You wrote “faired” in a couple places above, I think the word is “fared”.

      • …Thank you grammarfosi

        However, I am not completely ill educated and sometimes predictive text catches me out when writing, posting from a mobile device.

        Loving the infer/implied stuff though….


      • … I agree with the uber fairness of that suggestion ie adding times together, it was just chaotic when they did this….. no one understood who was winning and who was where….

        DING!!!!!!!!!! Light goes on….

        Why not restart the race kind of WRC style – set the cars off in their previous order and at the intervals…. See if Flavio comes up with that one 😉

    • Paul, fair point – and of course the SC is, to some degree at least, a “man-made”, random “unfairness”.

      However, to put an alternative view for discussion, what about a downpour? What about if we are racing at Spa or Suzuka or, well, anywhere and a heavy shower suddenly hits the circuit causing everyone to dive in for inters or wets…and the leading group have just passed the pits so have to tip-toe around either falling off the track (often seen) or losing vast chunks of time to those behind them who managed to get in and change tyres immediately? Do we deploy a safety car and bring in your (nicely fair-minded) rule on who can pit, when?

      I’m not saying you’re wrong, but I am saying that crashes are, in effect, “random acts”…just like rain. Luck does play a part in racing – I suppose the question is how much effort do we put in to making the rules remove luck wherever possible?

      • We can remove man-made luck, i.e. the race director failing to bring out the Safety Car until the top 4 have passed the pits, but weather and ‘non-controllable variables’, are down to the drivers and teams, i.e. to see it and react accordingly. McLaren tried to pre-empt this and paid for it in Hungary, but on another day could have had a double-podium.

      • ” … a “man-made”, random “unfairness”.

        However, to put an alternative view for discussion, what about a downpour? … ”

        You don’t mean an act of G.. ?

        Perhaps that was what Lewis was referring to when he thanked the L…, because rain wasn’t made and won’t be until Bernie and the Clowns get the idea to spray water on the track to spice things up.

        Oh, wait a minute, Bernie has already thought of it. Man-made rain, that will be what Flavio will implement.

    • It has to be said that that is a fair system for when the Race Director has failed to sanction the safety car quick enough for the leading cars to pit as well as the others….

      I would allow lapped cars to pit though, as we want them to get back around and unlap themselves quicker, minimising the time needed for them to do that later in the sequence.

      Sportingly, it would be unfair to not allow lapped cars to unlap themselves, but I would free them from deltas (as they only go once the mess has been cleared up, say with only yellows in the section if still needed) so that they catch up in 1 lap, i.e. the lap the SC is coming in on anyway.

  5. While red flags have always come instantly on Fridays and Saturdays, the safety car deployment generally requires a surprisingly long decision-making progress. That’s something which isn’t easy for me to understand, because the circumstances are usually more hazardous in the race than in training or qualifying.

    Having said that, when you are the Race Director and see a car crash like on this past Sunday, your first action should be to send out the safety car. That a paid professional has to deliberate for ten seconds or more is difficult to understand.

    Lets think about some more sensible stuff, like a number of American racing series and the way they handle these things:

    In Nascar for example, the pits are closed as soon as a full course yellow is out. The pits are only opened again, after all drivers have assumed their proper formation behind the safety car. Anyone not following that rule, or failing to cross the pit entry line in time, will need to come in again for a penalty.

    Yes it is a potentially more time-consuming strategy to do that in Formula 1 – this is a concern, because our racing tracks have longer laps – but it would bring back fairness into the sport. Well, except for the rare situational luck happening to a driver who is already in the pits or at least beyond the pit entry line at that moment.

    In short: the safety car will always influence tyre strategies positively or negatively, there’s just no way around that, but with the pit rules borrowed from overseas, it cannot favor one driver over another due to his track position.

    • “the pits are closed as soon as a full course yellow is out. The pits are only opened again, after all drivers have assumed their proper formation behind the safety car.”

      I seem to agree with this. Let them close the pit-lane along with deploying the safety car (and NOT wait 10sec before doing that, or we’ll have cars trying to preempt race officials). When all are in formation, open the pits.

      Hmm, but how fair would it be for the 2nd driver of every team? If the 1st pits, and the second has to wait for another lap, how fair would that be?

        • And what ungodly mess would it be if all 11 teams (minus Caterham, as they don’t know how it’s done) attempted a double stack in the pits upon opening?

  6. People complain there are to many rules in F1. Its to sterile, to predictable but here is a piece condemning the randomness of current safety car protocols.

    Rosberg would have had an easy afternoon if it these ideas were implemented. Same probably goes for Vettel in 2011.

    Instead you witnessed 2 spectacular, unpredictable races with great winners. The seasons are predictable enough already. Cars will be bulletproof (again) soon enough. Rain races get killed by safety cars. Driver errors dont get punished as much as they used to. No need to take out that last bit of randomness.

    Be careful what you wish for!

  7. “If drivers refuse to obey or push the limits as to what exactly double waved yellows mean, then it is easy enough to provide them with a delta time/speed for the sector affected by a serious crash. This speed limit could be equivalent that imposed in the pit lane where scores of mechanics are regularly exposed to passing cars. Breach of this should result in severe penalties for drivers endangering lives.”

    If this were implemented, would there be any reason to keep the lap delta? I mean, if under double-yellows _and_ safety car, F1 cars would be expected to hit the pit-lane speed-limiter in the vicinity of the affected sectors, what reason would there be for the cars not to travel full speed in all other areas of the circuit? Wouldn’t the lap delta become redundant then? After all, drivers should pay attention in the affected zones, and NOT in the rest of the track..

  8. I´d just skip the Safety Car!
    First: life is not fair!
    Second: It would be easy to set all cars on speed limiter in the sector with the crash. Additionally the drivers will get a drive through for missing the limit.

  9. Off topic, but funny.

    Remember the guy (DK Wilson) who a day ago claimed VET was the only WDC in modern F1 to not win any major junior prepetory categories prior to F1. The theory which was blown out of the water even with a simple cursory glance (Hill, Jones, Mansell). Well below is his Twitter if you are interested.

    If you’re interested in a laugh, or find the rants of a mad man funny, follow. It will become very clear why he was one of few waving the race card, felt the need to disclose his race, and yet one of only two modded for racist remarks. Reads eerily like another guy in here actually, but you can decide. Everything is an anti-black conspiracy…


  10. Dont ramble on. The SCs are also deployed for the safety of marshalls, who literally run here and there cleaning the mess. When they have to join the track, their safety can’t be left to the presumption all drivers will equally observe deltas and double yellows. It’s that simple. Yesterday it was deployed at a peculiar moment, but it served its main purpose in enforcing a more safe and controlled environment for the track to be cleared. End of.

    PS: the swipe at Ericsson was totally unecessary and low. Why not simply create a blog entry to put his talent and career into question?

  11. Remember that the medical car was sent out at the same time in this instance. This does not always happen.

    Race control is aware if the medical light is activated based on the impact force.

    What you saw was therefore the medical response, made safer by the deployment of the safety car to slow the field down as they approached the medical car / scene.

    If you believe that there should be a delay in these circumstances you need to ask yourself – If it is known that there has been a significant impact, how long should the driver await before medical aid is sent?

    • … I didn’t say there was an inappropriate delay, however, it is quicker and safer to flash a 60kph speed limit to the cars than deploy the safety car….

      ….Further, it was highly questionable that the teams fitted slick tyres to the cars at this time during the race ON SAFETY GROUNDS, when they would be run at such low temperature and pressure in the wet – like driving on ice – Very Very Very Dangerous for marshals and others on the track.

      The addiction of F1 fans to the safety car and its current unsafe operational parameters never ceases to amaze me.

      • Sorry if I misunderstood, but I thought your article advocated that there should have been a delay of a further 38 seconds.

        “To ensure the integrity of the race, the Ericsson incident in Hungary would have meant delaying the decision to deploy Bernd Mylander by around 38 seconds, under double yellows, and the race leader would have been able to pit and come out in the lead behind the safety car.”

        • ….. There are many ways to improve safety following on track incidents, I just believe the current safety car protocols are outdated and there are better solutions (which may included the safety car) to retain the racing integrity and improve safety.

          Only the Flavio and Bernie brigade who want a ‘spiced up show’ can’t sign up to those two principles.

          But maybe F1 fans agree – they want to randomise the racing because its boring – they’re entitled to their viewpoints.

          Yes, rian does this – but should we then create man made rain periods as Bernie suggested?

          Further, F1 does not start from the point of absolute safety and work back. If they did so, as mentioned slick tyres being fitted to cars on a wet track whilst marshals are working would be a massive no no.

          • I replied to an earlier post before I saw this one.

            ” … Yes, rian [sic] does this – but should we then create man made rain periods as Bernie suggested? … ”

            Oh, Lord, no. Leave it to the God(s).


      • Exactly the point that I made. None of the teams or drivers are in it for the safety. Hamilton used that excuse because he didn’t get the advantage he wanted in Germany. But this time he did get an advantage so no complaining there. What I saw yesterday was a shame. This was in anyway more dangerous than the Germany incident. Yet none of the drivers are saying anything about safety now. Just shows ho mich of a farce it can be sometimes

        • …and the Magnussen incident in qualifying 3 was even more dangerous for the marshals – strange nobody commented on that one yet….

          • Because I didn’t even think about that one no more. But you are absolutely right.

      • Surprised you’re not throwing Grosjean up there as he wrecked his car trying to warm tyres behind the SC.

        FWIW I think that if the Med Light is tripped by a crash currently, SC light should be automatic on drivers displays and not wait for Race Director (10 seconds can seem like a long time, but it can also go very, very quickly). Then even if they hold the SC to find a gap all drivers know at the same time and can plan accordingly.

        Deciding whether to have the SC be a random act or an ordered one is a whole other kettle of fish, and likely will depend on whether your fave driver benefited or lost out due to the last one. Though if the fans start to suspect it’s being used artificially it will not help the sport in the slightest.

      • In general I agree that F1 needs to be very careful about how the pace car is deployed to prevent polluting the races, and that it would be good to deploy the pace car in a way that does not shuffle the field. But in this specific case, the fact that the medical car was sent out as well, and that the crash debris was on the exit of a fast corner, and that the teams were looking to put their cars onto slicks, all point to the conclusion that the pace car was needed immeadiately to properly control the field while the marshals were on the track.

        • ….agreed…. but this is because Charlie fails to recognise the potential use of current technology… and has failed to ramp up at driver briefings, the importance of double waved yellows as drivers have become complacent…. and are trying to gain an advantage under these danger warnings.

          I merely argue that blindly following the safety car is not as safe as being instructed to slow down and being prepared to stop….

          the case in point is Grosjean, weaving behind the safety car to warm his tyres….. he binned it into the wall.

          Had this happened at the point where marshals were working – someone could have been seriously injured…….

          So given the current complacency of race control toward race safety and the view the safety car will save the day… you are absolutely correct.

          • Good point about Grosjean, crashing while running behind the pace car is pretty bad. That likely wouldn’t have happened under double yellows. I guess the ultimate point is that the squidgey organic bit behind the wheel is always able to screw up any given situation or set of rules. As someone else wrote, the FIA could just order every car to switch on it’s pit limiter, and leave it on until the marshals have left the track. That would also keep the distances between the cars fixed as well. I guess with the new restart rules next year this will all be academic.

          • …. At this moment, I reckon the standing restarts will be dropped…. just ‘show’ hype with little thought behind it….

            If they are to happen, some serious thought is required over certain issues which have not even considered yet……

  12. A strange article. So you’re suggesting that Charlie’s increasingly been deploying/not deploying the safety car with an aim to spice up “the show”? And that fans could and should make some intervention over safety car rules? I disagree on both counts.

    Immediately after the German GP I was aghast at race control opting only for double yellow flags. Then, after further reading of the rules about the SC and flags in motorsport, it seemed justifiable (barring the decision to allow marshalls from the far side to cross the track to deal with Sutil’s car; that should have been left only to those on the pit side). Similarly, in yesterday’s race, the potential for Ericsson being injured and the scattered debris meant the SC was an entirely appropriate action. Whilst readers here have come up with some pretty interesting alternatives, I’d bet that most (or even all) of these ideas have already been considered by the FIA and decided against for one good reason or another. Perhaps we should hear their side of the story first before getting too het up? (Admittedly, getting explanations from them is a bit like pulling teeth).

    As for “proposed standing restarts following the safety car in 2015 will be at the discretion of race control, and is that what we want?” – yes, I do want professionals with many years of experience making these calls and having some flexibility in the rules to allow them to assess the risks on a case-by-case basis.

    • Maybe The Judge, through his Formula1 connections, can find out what has influenced the FIA in its decisions about how, when and why a SC is deployed. It could make an interesting article. 🙂

      • It’s Charlie Whiting’s domain and I’m afraid there is no coherent conversation coming from him on this topic.

        When asked by a TJ13 representative earlier this year, why not introduce more technology and protocols to improve safety and reduce the interference with the racing order, he joked “that would detract from the show” and “Bernd might lose his job”.

        The non humerous explanation was that many things had been taken into consideration and the current use of the safety car was considered the best method available…

        String and tape as I remarked earlier…

        This was not a short discussion, but created the impression, little consideration had been given to changing or improving SC procedures and protocols for some time…. And as yet I’ve heard nothing from Charlie over the safety aspect of the marbles on the dirty side of the grid off his proposed post safety car standing restarts…. To be fair he hasn’t been primed with the question yet….

  13. Maybe the safety car procedure should just copy the method used in the US for NASCAR or IRL. Or is that considered “below” F1? Safety cars happen in those series all the time and no bitches about it.

    Regardless, the safety car deployment should remain at discretion of race director and stewards. Hopefully some sportsmanship and accountability can be instituted there by the FIA (yeah right).

  14. How this article conveniently ignores Alonso finishing second despite losing out in the first safety car.

    • Your point?

      It’s not convenient…. I could list all the lap times for each driver and discuss the gaps….

      Fernando is clearly the best driver in the world…. No one else could do what he did, and it was nothing to do with the fact Lewis burned his tyres up fighting his team mate which meant Alonso stayed ahead of him….

      #ForzaFred [sarcasm intended]

      • You are right. I failed to convey my point. Though the safety car hindered the progress of the top 4, Vettel finished p7 because of his spin (his mistake), Nico finished 4th (coz he was unable to overtake JEV and HAM in different phases of the race plus a brake problem mid-race). Only BOT race was really compromised! (Had Williams used soft tyres the outcome may have been different). The article could have analysed the causes in detail.

        • …Thanks @Romanan…

          Race analysis is usually done separately, these features are more timeless (or less time sensitive) features.

          Hope that helps

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