FIA considers stopping races

The recent spate of accidents caused by debris on the track is set to lead to a radical shake up of Safety Car procedures next year - with races likely to be stopped to allow circuits to be cleaned

FIA considers stopping races

Motor racing's governing body, the FIA, is considering a proposal to allow races to be halted behind the Safety Car in the event of a major accident leaving shards of carbon fibre on the track. It has been widely accepted that debris from earlier accidents was the cause of Ralf Schumacher's major crash at Indianapolis this year.

Ferrari technical director Ross Brawn revealed at Monza that F1 teams were working in conjunction with the FIA on two separate plans to improve safety in this area - stopping races and coating carbon fibre parts in special materials to prevent them breaking up.

"In the longer term there are two important initiatives," he said. "One is to suspend the race behind the Safety Car, so the Safety Car comes out, picks up the group of cars and stops. The clock keeps running and the cars are stopped on the grid or an appropriate place while the track is cleaned up.

"As soon as it is cleaned up you can pull into the pits and see whether there is any damage to the tyre. You can put the tyre warmers on and then you can restart the race. If there is an off-track incident there is no reason to stop the race and you can use the Safety Car as usual.

"The second initiative is to look at the construction of bodywork to cut down the amount of debris we are getting. The first test is encouraging. Both ourselves and Williams are carrying out experiments where we use some materials and cover them with a very tough material like Kevlar and that seems to reduce the debris."

Ferrari's work on changing bodywork construction is focusing on a single carbon structure, while Williams is working on a honeycomb carbon structure. The results of these tests will then be shared at Formula 1 think-tank, the Technical Working Group.

It is hoped that both initiatives will be in place for next year, but for that to happen will require the support of the Formula 1 Commission.

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