In recent history, F1 fans have been denied significant portions of the race due to damp or wet conditions on track.
Indeed there has been much anger from fans toward race control when lap after lap has been wasted behind the safety car.
And who can blame them?
With high ticket prices and pay per view subscriptions becoming more and more prevalent, fans have been denied what should be the spectacle of the worlds best drivers in the most challenging conditions.
In response the FIA’s World Motorsport Council ratified the wet standing start rule change back in September.
The changes mandate the field will start behind the safety car as normal, wait until the track has dried up for a number of laps. When the safety car pulls into the pits, the cars line up on the grid as would be normal during a dry start.
The ever eager Max Verstappen was quick to praise the change with a recent interview with the German media today saying: “It’s ok for me and it’s better for the fans.
It would have been nice in Silverstone if we had just stopped and then started ‘right’.”
But this is another case of the WMC’s misjudgement – listening to fans yes, but not thinking clearly through the rules.
Who mandates when it’s safe to start the race? Charlie Whitings judgement on wet race conditions has been regularly brought into question by TJ13 over the years with Japan 2014 the worst example.
If it’s too dangerous to start the race when it’s wet, then he’s unlikely to pull in the safety car. Should he allow the cars to form up on the grid after multiple laps, the racing line side of the grid will likely have a advantage. The cars will explore the width of the circuit around the lap but if left to circulate too long a dry line develops. That wet/dry combination of the start finish straight could be chaos.
An accident waiting to happen.
Should the safety car continue until the track is bone dry, why not delay the start of the race rather than remove more laps from the total?
So it begs the question, why have the safety car at all? The drivers should be competent enough on a few parade laps in the wet then form up on the grid without its interference.
Here we have another case of the FIA’s incompetence.