Safety car rules tweaked in response to Valencia - Mercedes-Benz Forum

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Safety car rules tweaked in response to Valencia

Safety car rules tweaked in response to Valencia
ESPNF1 Staff
July 8, 2010

Formula One's safety car rules have been tweaked in the wake of the Valencia controversy.

The rule change, agreed by the teams and race director Charlie Whiting, addresses Ferrari's complaint that Fernando Alonso was disadvantaged by following the rules and not overtaking the safety car, while McLaren's Lewis Hamilton broke the rules, served a penalty but still finished the race in second place.

Despite pressure to see the pits closed under safety car conditions, it has been agreed that the drivers will instead slow to the same speed as the safety car, no matter where they are on the track. Previously, drivers only had to keep within 120% of a flying lap time.

Under the new regulations the idea is that nobody will be able to gain a Hamilton-style advantage by getting back to the pits for a tyre change quicker than his competitors. Once the on-track positions have been determined and everything has settled down, the drivers will be allowed to bunch up behind the safety car to restart the race.

In the meeting, Whiting also promised the teams that efforts will be made to issue penalties like Hamilton's faster in the future. In Valencia, Hamilton's penalty was delayed because the race director did not request the stewards' investigation until after the Mark Webber crash was dealt with. But in future, potential penalties will be passed immediately to the attention of the stewards, while the race director can continue to focus on a Webber-like incident.

Moreover, because the arrival of crucial evidence about the Hamilton incident also slowed down the in-race investigation, there will now be cameras constantly monitoring the safety car lines 1 and 2. There will also be trackside markings that show the location of the safety car lines, so that a driver cannot argue he did not notice the lines from his driving position.

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