F1 safety car unlapping requirement is "embarrassing" - Vettel

Sebastian Vettel says it's "embarrassing" that lapped Formula 1 drivers have to physically unlap themselves under the safety car - but the FIA insists the procedure is necessary

F1 safety car unlapping requirement is "embarrassing" - Vettel

Vettel was asked about the incident in the last race at Imola where, as per normal procedures, several lapped drivers were waved past by the safety car so they could unlap themselves and join the back of the queue.

Those drivers came across marshals who were still clearing the track following George Russell's crash, kickstarting a debate about the procedure and the potential safety issues in such circumstances.

GPDA director Vettel said that the problem is that the software in the timing system - which is operated by F1 on behalf of the FIA - does not have the capacity to "reset" and credit lapped drivers with an extra lap that they have not actually completed.

"I think we should probably focus more on the solution," said Vettel.

"And I think the reason why we are physically unlapping ourselves is because we can't work out a software that actually just resets us.

"So we have to do the extra lap, which sounds quite embarrassing, but that's what I believe is the truth.

"I guess, going forward, we would just probably put some effort into the software that the lapped cars are not forced to actually physically unlap themselves, but you can just reset the lap on the screen, and put them in the place that they are, so I think that would be the solution.

"Obviously, as a consequence, you had in the past people trying to catch the field, also in other other categories crashing - and that can't be safe under full course yellow to go out and crash.

"Plus as you've seen or witnessed in Imola people working on the track, trying to do a favour for us, recovering the car that was stranded there, cleaning the track.

"I think they work in the contrary, these two things, and we should just focus on the solution, which I believe is purely software related. And given that it's 2020, I think it should be possible."

An FIA spokesman confirmed to Autosport that the timing system doesn't have the ability to credit a driver with a lap he hasn't run, but pointed out that such a requirement has never been asked for.

The physical unlapping is actually more a question of minimising a possible sporting advantage.

It requires those drivers to use up both fuel and tyre life by completing the free extra lap, which by definition is usually done at close to race speed as they catch the pack.

If the lap was credited automatically they would potentially have an advantage over drivers ahead of them in the queue.

shares
comments
Ricciardo: Portimao resurfacing lessons could help for F1 Turkish GP

Previous article

Ricciardo: Portimao resurfacing lessons could help for F1 Turkish GP

Next article

Verstappen not worried if "head falls off" at Turn 8 during F1 Turkish GP

Verstappen not worried if "head falls off" at Turn 8 during F1 Turkish GP
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Drivers Sebastian Vettel
Author Adam Cooper
The 'new' F1 drivers who need to improve at Imola Plus

The 'new' F1 drivers who need to improve at Imola

After a pandemic-hit winter of seat-swapping, F1 kicked off its season with several new faces in town, other drivers adapting to new environments, and one making a much-anticipated comeback. BEN ANDERSON looks at who made the most of their opportunity and who needs to try harder…

The delay that quashed Aston Martin’s last F1 venture Plus

The delay that quashed Aston Martin’s last F1 venture

Aston Martin’s only previous foray into Formula 1 in the late 1950s was a short-lived and unsuccessful affair. But it could have been so different, says NIGEL ROEBUCK

Formula 1
Apr 10, 2021
Verstappen exclusive: Why lack of car-racing titles won't hurt Red Bull's ace Plus

Verstappen exclusive: Why lack of car-racing titles won't hurt Red Bull's ace

Max Verstappen’s star quality in Formula 1 is clear. Now equipped with a Red Bull car that is, right now, the world title favourite and the experience to support his talent, could 2021 be the Dutchman’s year to topple the dominant force of Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes?

Formula 1
Apr 9, 2021
Are we at peak F1 right now? Plus

Are we at peak F1 right now?

For many, many years Formula 1 has strived to do and to be better on all fronts. With close competition, a growing fanbase, a stable political landscape and rules in place to encourage sustainability, 2021 is on course to provide an unexpected peak

Formula 1
Apr 8, 2021
How crucial marginal calls will decide the Red Bull vs Mercedes battle in F1 2021 Plus

How crucial marginal calls will decide the Red Bull vs Mercedes battle in F1 2021

The longer Red Bull can maintain a performance edge over Mercedes, the better the odds will be in the team’s favour against the defending world champions. But as the Bahrain Grand Prix showed, many more factors will be critical in the outcome of the 2021 Formula 1 World Championship

Formula 1
Apr 7, 2021
How Williams’ new structure adheres to a growing F1 trend Plus

How Williams’ new structure adheres to a growing F1 trend

Williams held out against the tide for many years but, as MARK GALLAGHER explains, the age of the owner-manager is long gone

Formula 1
Apr 6, 2021
When a journeyman driver's F1 career lasted just 800m Plus

When a journeyman driver's F1 career lasted just 800m

Nikita Mazepin’s Formula 1 debut at the Bahrain Grand Prix lasted mere corners before he wiped himself out in a shunt, but his financial backing affords him a full season. Back in 1993 though, Marco Apicella was an F1 driver for just 800m before a first corner fracas ended his career. Here’s the story of his very short time at motorsport’s pinnacle

Formula 1
Apr 4, 2021
The nightmare timing that now hinders Mercedes Plus

The nightmare timing that now hinders Mercedes

Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton took victory at the Bahrain Grand Prix despite, for a change, not having the quickest car. But any hopes of developing its W12 to surpass Red Bull's RB16B in terms of outright speed could not have come at a worse time.

Formula 1
Apr 2, 2021