Subscribe

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Autosport Plus

Discover premium content
Subscribe

F1 drivers face new speed limit for double yellows

Formula 1 drivers will face tougher speed restrictions in double yellow flag zones behind safety cars from this weekend’s Monaco Grand Prix. 

The safety car board is show as marshals wave yellow flags

As part of the FIA’s ongoing push to improve safety, drivers are now going to have to adhere to a stricter speed limit when passing through double yellow flag zones during both safety car and virtual safety car procedures. 

Previously, the only requirement on drivers to react to double yellows was in the International Sporting Code, which required them to “reduce...speed significantly, do not overtake, and be prepared to change direction or stop." 

Lap times in qualifying are deleted when double yellows are out to discourage drivers from taking risks.

However, when running behind the safety car or virtual safety car, the presence of a double yellow flag area did not trigger any extra requirement to further slow down. 

And in fact, with the way timing deltas worked on those occasions, drivers could sometimes be running faster than normal in a section of track to recover time lost earlier in a sector.

From now on, however, drivers will be forced to hit a designated speed limit specifically through a double yellow flag area when they are under safety car or virtual safety car conditions.

FIA technical director Tim Goss believed the imposition of a specific speed limit would assist drivers, and make things safer for track workers. 

Marshals wave a yellow flag and hold a safety car board

Marshals wave a yellow flag and hold a safety car board

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

"What we want to do is to provide drivers with a tool to help them during incidents and to make races even safer," he said. 

"For some years with the safety car and virtual safety car we have used delta times, a reference to a speed limit that we have around the track.

Read Also:

"So, when there is a physical or virtual safety car, the drivers are informed of that delta time on their dashboard display and by radio tones, and they have to maintain a positive value, meaning they are slower than the reference time for the lap.  

"However, there are occasions where cars can legitimately temporarily increase their speed to recover any time they have lost relative to this reference time. 

"What we want to do now is to extend the use of the delta time concept to ensure that cars are strictly slowed to the required delta time when double waved yellow flags are shown under a virtual safety car or safety car, so we are introducing a dedicated reference speed limit in the area where those flags are displayed." 

Drivers will be given both visual and audible warnings about a double yellow flag zone, so they should not be caught by surprise by the need to slow down further. Delta requirements will rest to zero at the start of a double yellow flag zone.

And although the new system opens the door to potentially leaving some drivers at a disadvantage if they have to slow down for a double yellow that has ended by the time following cars come through, the FIA says that safety has to come before competitive aspects. 

FIA Head of F1 Electronics Olivier Hulot said: "If a car goes through a double yellow, but not another, and that car has to slow down, it is losing time relative to rivals. However, for the FIA, safety is paramount and when there is a hazard on track or marshals on track then we have to minimise the risks no matter what."  

Be part of the Autosport community

Join the conversation
Previous article British GP organisers "lacked self-confidence" prior to Liberty Media F1 takeover
Next article Qatar 2023 Formula 1 tickets now on sale

Top Comments

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Autosport Plus

Discover premium content
Subscribe