F1's virtual safety car system gets green light for 2015 debut

Formula 1 teams and the FIA have given the green light for the introduction of the virtual safety car (VSC) in 2015, following successful late-season tests

F1's virtual safety car system gets green light for 2015 debut

The push for a way of better controlling driver speed followed Jules Bianchi's horrific crash at the Japanese Grand Prix.

Trials of a virtual safety car system - where a speed limit is imposed around the track for incidents that do not require a full safety car - began in United States GP practice.

After initial driver concerns about being distracted by focusing on keeping to the speed limit were eased, the FIA was satisfied that the system could be pushed into use.

The conviction that the VSC was the right way to go was reinforced when trials of a stricter system - that imposed a speed limit in a specific track sector rather than around the whole lap - met with disproval from drivers following a test in Abu Dhabi.

An FIA spokesman said: "Most of the drivers preferred the VSC approach, because [with the single sector] they were concerned about braking from high speed down to the slow speed limit.

"Some drivers were worried they might not see it, and some drivers were worried they might see it too late. And these large differences of speed could cause some difficulties.

"Plus, the fact that there was not a specific line on the track to show drivers where it started could give rise to endless penalties.

"Overall, everyone prefers the VSC approach."

With the FIA happy with the VSC work, it met with teams at the Abu Dhabi GP to gauge opinion over its introduction.

It was decided that the system should come into use for the start of 2015.

Provisional regulations have already been drafted and, once these rules are approved by the teams, then they will be put into the 2015 F1 sporting regulations.

AUTOSPORT understands that to ensure the VSC system does not throw up any unexpected surprises next year, further trial runs will take place at the pre-season tests that begin at Jerez on February 1.

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