autosport.com
Search:
Find out more about our subscriptions
  AUTOSPORT+ LOGIN AUTOSPORT Plus  
Username:
Password:
F1 NEWS 

Safety car tests to continue at each race

Saftey Car test, Formula One, 2008Evaluation of the new safety car system will continue at each race from now on, autosport.com has learned, in a bid to get drivers totally comfortable with its workings before a rule change is introduced.

The FIA and teams want to revise the safety car procedure to end the way that the pits are closed immediately after a caution period begins.

This follows a number of incidents when drivers have been forced to take a drive-through penalty because they had the misfortune of needing to pit exactly when the safety car came out.

The solution that is being looked at is for a temporary speed restriction to be put in place near the scene of an incident to prevent drivers racing back to the pits when the safety car comes out.

This will be achieved by telling drivers to keep to a minimum sector or lap time. They are told of this target time through a readout on their dashboard, with the system informing them if their current speed is too quick or too slow.

Experiments of this new software took place for the first time at the French Grand Prix and, following a further evaluation in practice at Silverstone this weekend, it is understood the tests will continue at every race now to get drivers comfortable with its workings.

The chief concern from drivers is that it can be distracting to have to read out timing information on the cockpit display rather than focus on the track - especially when the system will only be activated when there is likely to be a car or debris on the circuit.

Former world champion Fernando Alonso said: "The only problem with the system is that you need to concentrate on the steering wheel too much to keep the reference time they give you. So you are constantly looking at the steering wheel and this is not the safest thing when you are under a yellow flag.

"It is something we are still trying, but for sure we need to find a better solution. I don't know what it will be, but we raised this point in the drivers' briefing on Friday that everything is working on the steering wheel but we don't know if it will be the final solution for the problem of the safety car."

Sebastian Vettel told autosport.com that he felt more work was needed to get drivers comfortable with looking at the readout at the same time as driving.

"I think it needs some development and more experience for us," he explained. "It is way too early to change the rules. Everyone knows what to do, but for sure it will take some time to get it right in the races with no mistakes from the drivers or teams."

BMW Sauber's Robert Kubica added: "I think we have to do some fine-tuning if we want to run it. For sure it is not running perfectly but if the FIA decide to run it with fine-tuning it can be okay. But this isn't my decision."

Subs
  More news  
    advertisement
  RELATED LINKS
Read the AUTOSPORT Digital Edition
Visit the autosport.com shop
See highlights from 60 years of AUTOSPORT
  FOLLOW AUTOSPORT ON
FOLLOW AUTOSPORT ON TWITTER
Breaking news feed
Live commentary feed
  RELATED STORIES
FIA confirms new safety car rules
Teams to test new SC system again
Audio SC warning system to be tested
SC system to be tested again today
Proposed SC changes get mixed reactions
De la Rosa: SC system in early stages
French GP test for new safety car system
Haymarket