Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Montreal, 2011

Is the safety car used too much in wet races?

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Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Montreal, 2011
Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Montreal, 2011

Almost half of F1’s last two wet races in Canada and Korea were spent behind the safety car.

Are wet weather races being too tightly restricted? Did race control make the correct calls on Sunday?

Have your say below.

For

Formula 1 is a dangerous sport, and no-one wants to expose drivers to unnecessary risks.

Even so, almost half of the last two wet races were spent behind the safety car, and that seems too much.

In Canada, Bernd Maylander’s Mercedes SLS AMG headed the pack for 30 laps of the 70-lap race. Last year in Korea, 25 out of 55 laps were spent behind the safety car.

The two cases shared a common problem: the large amount of time and laps wasted trying to start or restart the race,

In Korea, 17 laps passed behind the safety car before the start was finally given. In Canada, it took ten laps to get the race started once the suspension had been lifted and four laps had already been wasted behind the safety when the race originally began.

Drivers were able to change to intermediate tyres so soon after the race suspension ended. Jerome d’Ambrosio even tried to change to intermediates before the safety car came in, in violation of the rules.

That begs the question whether the longest safety car period could have ended much sooner.

Against

It’s the drivers who have to take the risks in these conditions, so it’s wise to take heed of what they have to say.

Mark Webber said (in the video above): “They made all the right decision.

“It was impossible to race through two o’clock and three-thirty, something like that. The weather was very heavy, in terms of rain, so they made the right decisions”.

Jarno Trulli wrote in his column for La Repubblica: “I think this time more than ever as the FIA ????is to be applauded. They did not make a wrong decision, got it all right: starting behind the safety car and the introduction of the safety car when there were parked cars or debris on the track.

“It was right to wait so long, the track had to improve, to make the cars drive-able again.”

I say

The much-criticised decision to start Sunday’s race behind the safety was the correct call, as I said at the time.

The problem here is not the challenge of a standing start on a wet track, it’s a matter of visibility. A stalled car at the front of the field would be near-invisible to a car racing up from the back. Riccardo Paletti lost his life in such a crash (albeit in dry conditions) at Canada in 1982.

But race control need to acknowledge that spending such long periods behind the safety car is not acceptable.

They’d already spent two hours under red flags, another half hour wouldn’t have hurt. In return we might have seen more racing in better conditions.

Perhaps, like in Korea, the close proximity of the barriers at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve meant the water thrown up by the cars was dispersing slowly, hampering visibility.

Race director Charlie Whiting has very difficult decisions to make in these circumstances. You can’t blame him for erring on the side of caution when it came to racing on the largely untested Pirelli wet tyres.

But even having taken all of that into consideration, I still think more could be done to prevent almost half of the last two wet races being wasted in a frustrating safety car limbo.

You say

Is the safety car used too much in wet races?

  • Yes (85%)
  • No (14%)
  • No opinion (1%)

Total Voters: 369

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165 comments on “Is the safety car used too much in wet races?”

  1. I definitely think the Safety Car was out for too long in each case. I understood why the race started behind it as Turn 1 in Canada is usually a mad place anyway, but after the first lap it looked fine to go racing.

    The bigger problem for me was the restart – the cars were out for so long intermediates became the better tyre. So what’s the point of the wet tyre? If they’re their just to clear the track of water, I would much prefer that the FIA have back-up cars with big monsoon tyres to sweep the roads instead of losing valuable racing laps.

    1. Yes, the safety car should stay out when the wet weather tyre is too little to prevent hydroplaning. If the track was suitable for intermediates, that means the wet tyres would have been perfect to use, then why continue behind the safety car?

      1. I agree! How were they going straight to inters from SC? However a point of contention is drivers using radio comms to teams as coded messages trying to sway Charlies decision to suit their position or set up. Vettel “This is undrivable terrible conditions” Hamilton “We should be racing there is nothing wrong with these conditions”
        Personally either red flag or SC for a few laps, don’t SC forever and rob the viewers of racing laps.

        1. Geordie Porker
          15th June 2011, 17:50

          BBB, while I agree with your sentiments, what we don’t hear is that Charlie Whiting tells the teams to ask the question of their drivers and uses all of the responses to inform his decision. This was mentioned by the BBC commentary team on Sunday (possibly 5-live; I forget because I watched half and listened to half while driving!). So it seems they’re not coded messages, but genuine information for him to use.

        2. I agree, they should wait to restart until the SC can just go out for a minimal numb of laps. Arguably in Canada the SC couldve pulled off much earlier than it did. Korea was definitely made worse by the fact that it was scheduled too late in the day and dusk was impending. I wish the far east races could be scheduled earlier personally.

          All that said, I would personally rather see a long red flag period followed by a few superfluous laps behind the SC than a permanent suspension with only half points a la Sepang ’09.

          1. Disagree, so many laps under the SC probably meant the race concluded earlier than it might have otherwise as it helped dry up the racing line. As Brundle pointed out, the best thing to clear the track of water is an F1 car, the extreme wets can do 60L per second.

            If the SC didn’t pull in earlier then it was probably a good call based on the opinions of the drivers, and as much as we might like to say ‘pfft, they can handle it’, we’re not riding shotgun.

            This probably means though that there are no conditions for which extreme wets are required, and where racing is possible at the same time.

          2. If the best thing to clean water off a track is an F1 car, then someone has to invent something better.

          3. What’s better than an F1 car?

          4. LLama, you do bring up a good point, and it is about the only one that might save the decision to have the SC out for so long.

            Even then, it is partly a problem of communication: I appreciate that race control didn’t know how the track would develop, and thus didn’t know in advance how long they needed to keep the SC out, but if they were running it around with the cars behind until they had cleared it up a bit, they should and could have made that clear at the restart after the red flag, we would have know better than to expect a quick resumption of racing.

    2. Agree with that.

      Maybe a consideration was the fact no one really knew how good the wet tyres would hold, but that SC should have gone in earlier on both accounts.

    3. This poll will yield very innacurate results. Coming off the back of the race we just saw, of course most people are going to vote “yes”. But there are only 2 races which have had the SC out for long stretches (both mentioned in the article). Think back to most wet races, and you’ll see the SC isn’t out on track for too long.
      Can’t wait to see the predictable results of the scewed poll..

      1. Any discussion point is always going to be informed by recent events. I could have covered every single wet weather race but I know from experience far fewer people would be bothered to read an article of that length and my time can be better spent in other ways.

        The comments are there for people to bring in whatever broader perspective they choose. Most do so without claiming some pointless conspiracy to create a “skewed” poll.

        Considering other heavily wet races in recent years we’ve had Malaysia ’09 (red-flagged), Silverstone and Monza ’08 (not as excessively interrupted) and Fuji ’07 (the first which I would say had an excessively long safety car period). I think the picture is mixed.

        Taking into consideration the wet races I’ve seen, I would say they are more cautious in this regard now than they were perhaps as little as ten or even five years ago.

        1. Absolutely agree with 1st. post, while watching the race on Fox I was recording the Silverstone MotoGP which I watched straight afterwards.During the entire MotoGP the track was wetter than the track in montreal for the safety car re-start period. Surely it should be possible for 4 wheeled F1 cars to race in the same conditions as 2 wheeled MotoGP bikes which race at similiar speeds to F1.And yes Keith safety car use is becoming more and more prevalent, if it continues at this rate we will soon be seeing a succession of 2 to 5 lap races, as in Nascar, instead of one 65 or 70 lap race because the safety car itself causes accidents when it bunches slow and fast cars altogether.

          1. My thoughts exactly – how can a 2 wheeled motorcycle race in conditions too wet for a 4 wheeled F1 car?

            I give it 5 years till F1 only runs in the dry

          2. It’s to do with the spray. 4 wide tyres generate more than 2 narrow ones.

          3. it’s also to do with clearance. an F1 car has a of cm between the underside and the floor. fill this space with water / spray and the car no longer contacts the floor solely through the tyres. a bike doesn’t suffer this same problem.

          4. has a

            handful

            of cm

        2. Thank you for correcting my spelling.
          You’re taking what I said to an extreme though. I never even suggested you make it more detailed. Just saying that, do you honestly expect rational results after a race that was, to be fair, an anomaly.

          My comment was in no way a dig at you, but it seems you took it that way. I do realise that “Any discussion point is always going to be informed by recent events”, but I’m saying that after the longest f1 race in history, the poll will produce skewed results. Clearly you don’t agree with me, and that’s fine.

          And this, is just childish

          The comments are there for people to bring in whatever broader perspective they choose. Most do so without claiming some pointless conspiracy to create a “skewed” poll

          I brought in my “broad perspective” which is exactly why I said

          Think back to most wet races, and you’ll see the SC isn’t out on track for too long.

          And I never accused this of being a conspiracy to create a skewed poll! re-read my comment please. I have no idea where you got that from

          1. My comment was in no way a dig at you

            It certainly did not seem that way from reading your comment, but anyway, thanks.

        3. Taking into consideration the wet races I’ve seen, I would say they are more cautious in this regard now than they were perhaps as little as ten or even five years ago.

          This is why I voted yes. Over the least 5 years or so, the safety car has been used a bit over much in wet races or the red flag has been thrown a little too much (of course, I wasn’t there, but I have been at SCCA races where there was an inch of water running down the pits and the conditions were still raceable for the better drivers). Part of F1 is racing in whatever conditions present themselves and baring a true monsoon/hurricane or actual flooding, I say let them race. If the “extreme” wet tires aren’t enough, then give them deeper grooves like they used to have several years ago where the intermediate wets could be used in heavy rain and the extreme wets were almost never used because they were so deeply cut.

          1. If the “extreme” wet tires aren’t enough, then give them deeper grooves like they used to have several years ago where the intermediate wets could be used in heavy rain and the extreme wets were almost never used because they were so deeply cut.

            This. If the cars are undriveable in very wet conditions perhaps they need to look at the tyres.

      2. Personally I approached the question to mean “Is it sometimes used too much?”

    4. Having a start behind the safety car takes away from one of the most exciting parts of the Grand Prix. Would it not be possible to have the cars drive multiple formation laps to clear the water behind the safety car and then proceed to line up on the grid for a normal star? They could perhaps have each additional formation lap count for less (as the fuel consumption is decreased at those speeds).

      As for clearing water from the track, maybe Pirelli could come up with a more extreme wet weather tire. And regarding the restart, as stated above, by the time they started, they should have been on inters. Surely they could have started several laps earlier.

      1. For what you wrote about clearing water from the track; there would have to be some way of making all parts of the track uniform in dryness (which doesn’t seem easy), otherwise it wouldn’t be fair as the formation laps would leave some people disadvantaged out of the grid and into turn one for example. That said, I agree with everything you said!

    5. In response to the title question, Duhhhhh :P

      1. Aerokid, nothing is to stop the drivers from driving over their respective grid slot during said water clearing formation laps.

        Regarding the original question, I think it’s quite plain to see that the safety car usage during wet races over the last few years has increased by a fair margin. One thing would be that if a race turns out to be wet, certain aspects of parc fermé could be scrapped. This should allow the cars to be more drivable. It is a shame that this would disadvantage teams who gambled on a wet setup in the first place, but really, it makes sense. Second, a solution should be found to make the cars more drivable. If the tires are unsuitable, it would seem to be an easy fix. If it’s the cars themselves (maybe the plank?) surely a solution could be found to this? I feel embarassed for the competitors watching them put about complaining that their supreme machines are suddenly undrivable shopping carts…

        1. If those parc fermé rules would be eased in case of rain, teams would have less to gain by gambling on a wet set up, so wouldn’t be disadvantaged by it. It would make it possibly less interesting to fans in some ways, but I do think that having better and more racing in the wet in return seems like the right trade off to make, indeed.

    6. goood one

  2. While much of its use in Canada was warranted, if drivers switch straight to inters when it comes in then it has been out too long.

    In Canada and Korea we had drivers saying on radio that it was fine to race but yet racing didn’t resume. If they wait until they get unanimous or even majority approval from drivers this is wrong, as some who aren’t good in the wet will always protest that it should stay out.

  3. If they are the best drivers in the world and they are paid at the top because they should take the risks, it is absurd that they start under safety car. They are not missus, they shoud be racers. If the are afraid it’s better to stay home.

    1. Agreed.
      The MotoGP riders raced this weekend in worse conditions.

      I think the problem is that we got used to the unbelievable reliability of today’s cars as well as the lack of relentless battles on track so much that whenever we see a car going off track because of a spin or a collision it seems like an extreme event that doesn’t belong in the sport.

      There was only a single DNF in the Chinese GP and the Turkish GP this year.

      It felt in Montreal as if each moment the race directors saw a car get in trouble on the track they already had their hands on the SC release button.

      This has become way too sterile.

      1. Absolutely right DAMON, why should an abandoned car parked of the course be considered more dangerous than one travelling at 200 mph on the course.

        1. It depends where it’s parked – Clay Regazzoni was left paralysed from the waist down after a mechanical failure caused him to leave the track and crash heavily into an abandoned Brabham at Long Beach in 1980.

        2. I didn’t at all refer to cars being parked off the course, Hohum.
          Cars shouldn’t be left standing on the track, nor outside the track in places where there would be large chance of other cars hitting them with high speed.

          1. Of course it depends where on the course, I am not suggesting they should be left on the apex of a corner but when a driver pulls of on the inside just past a cnr.and feels safe enough to inspect the car, replace the steering wheel and stroll down to the nearest gate it’s not a cause for the saftey car. Long Beach bears no relationship to any current F1 track, 1980 F1 cars were deathtraps when compared with current F1 cars.

  4. Watching the BBC coverage, on the commentary both Brundle and Coulthard were convinced that the safety car would come in at least two laps before it did after the restart. Also, while I can see why the race might have started under the safety car, it should not really have stayed out for four laps. The race would still have been the longest in F1 history, but we’d have been able to get more laps in before the suspension and it would not have come so close to the 2 hour limit. Yes, use the SC, but it didn’t need to be used for so long.
    In Korea, it was only Hamilton saying ‘let’s go racing’. In Canada, he wasn’t even on track and more cautious drivers were desperately wanting to go racing.

    1. Ya I agree. Wasn’t overly happy at the safety car start but for it to stay out for 4 laps was ridiculous not to even mention staying out until the track was good for inters after restart.

      On the first start Alonso said he wanted to start on intermediates so that robbed him of that strategic decision and says that the track mustn’t have been that bad.

      The point of a car stalling is a good one though and is extremely scary scenario. You would think they could put some type of extremely intense light to automatically switch on from back of a car when it is stalled or stationary. Obviously it wouldn’t make it impossible for some one to not run into back but would minimize the chance of last minute deviation.

      It does seem to be unfair to not let the wet track specialists shine especially the likes of Schumi in a crap car with that being his only chance to get something decent out of a race.

      I like Webber but he is in the fastest car and has everything to loose and nothing to gain in wet conditions.

  5. They should have given them canoes and let them carry on racing. Safety car was boring!! My bet would have been on Webber for that!!

  6. I think the problem I had with the safety car was the fact that people pitted for inters straight after it went in. What’s the point in having wet tyres if it is always too wet to use them?

    I think the FIA did make the right call though, as there has been minimal testing on these tyres, and how could the determine the level of grip that was going to be available to the drivers.

    If there was a huge crash, then everybody would be on the FIAs back for not keeping it out longer, and the mainstream media would be throwing out statements such as “F1 is too dangerous” blah blah.

    It may take away from the racing but I’d rather see 3/4’s of a great race, rather than a fatal accident.

    1. And how are they going to make the decision next time? Because the amount of running on full wets hasn’t significantly increased.

      Look, honestly, crashes happen in dry conditions. More crashes might happen in wet conditions, but that doesn’t make it more dangerous. In fact wet crashes are less dangerous because the cornering speeds are lower – the cars are going slower when they hit the barricades.

      There needs to be some quantitative measure of when they can go racing. Something like water depth measured at half a dozen points on the circuit. Then it takes the guess work out of it, and drivers can make the right call on tyres without being unfairly penalised, we can have less laps of SC, and the right balance between red and green flag running. Someone might even invent something that is good at soaking up water off a circuit.

  7. The main issue for me is simply this:

    The safety car was not used in the late 90’s and early 2000’s in conditions equally as bad. The cars have stayed the same speed approximately and have become many times safer. It seems we are now going to be robbed of the wet start and the wet race. Which is a shame as this is when the best drivers get their chance to shine.

    1. Totally agree, Under these new overly cautious approaches Senna Donington 93 would never have happened which would be unbelievable.

      It started to happen under Todt’s influence, He is loosing touch with the fans more and more. Green engines, no proper wet races, nearly banned Hamilton for 6 races for a joke, ridiculous handling of Bahrain. Never thought would say it but I miss Max!

      1. I agree with you (apart from missing Max)

    2. Until a few years ago the teams were allowed to work on the cars whenever they wanted too and make as many changes as they needed, with the current parc ferme rules they’re severely limited to what can and can’t be changed on the car and the amount of time they have to make such changes.

      These days if it’s dry on Friday & Saturday and then rains on Sunday the cars are effectively going out on a dry set up and the amount of changes they can make is minimal.

      I’d change the parc ferme rules so that the teams could change the car set-up if it rains on Sunday, that way they’d be able to make significant changes to the ride height, roll bars, suspension etc so that the cars would be less prone to aquaplaning.

      It’s not a perfect solution but I reckon it would greatly improve safety for the drivers and reduce the number of times that the SC is deployed in wet races.

      1. Excellent idea Butters, allow mechanics time to adjust suspension if a wet race is forecast, possibly before last practice/morning warm up.

      2. Was it on the BBC’s broadcast when they said that changing roll bars and suspension for the wet is a thing of the past: if a car is good in the dry, it’s good in the wet also these days, since aerodynamics are so much more important than mechanical grip.

        I voted yes. When was the last time we started a race in wet conditions (wet, not just damp) without a safety car? If drivers complain about visibility, doesn’t a SC start make things worse? The spray going into T1 at places like Montreal isn’t that bad, as it’s just some 200m to the first corner.

    3. Mark Hitchcock
      15th June 2011, 13:40

      Agreed.
      I think Brundle made the point in commentary that the drivers aren’t stupid, they are able to take conditions into account when they make decisions about how hard they push. Why not let them do it?

  8. Elliot Horwood
    15th June 2011, 12:29

    Silverstone 2008 youtube it!

    Example of a wet race with no safety car

    1. Elliot Horwood
      15th June 2011, 12:31

      or click here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mLGnFTl_6_I

      in my opinion this is a good exampe, cars were aquaplaning and marshalls out on track pulling cars in with double waved yellows not a safety car! let the races be like this

      1. Silverstone wasn’t nearly as wet as Korea or Canada though was it?

        I think that’s the issue here, we have had two extremely wet races. And that’s what put Charlie on edge.

        1. I beg to differ. I wasnt in Canada last weekend, or Korea last year, but I would contest that the conditions were just as wet in Silverstone 08.

          I would say the safety car should have come in earlier on several accounts during the Canada weekend. Although on the other hand, we must remember that Canada is a bit like a “street track” i.e, litte place to run off in the event of an accident. This increases the risk of injury and/or fatality to racers/marshalls/spectators.

          It’s overuse sets a dangerous precedent, although equally, not using it enough or at all can have devistating consequences

    2. This is exactly how wet races should be :)

    3. However one can argue that, compared to both Korea and Canada, Silverstone has much more run-off. Although that wouldn’t justify starting behind the SC in China of 2009.

      1. This was exactly my first thought. The drivers drove sensibly and yes they did make mistakes, but they were driving slowly enough to maintain the safety of all.

        I watched from the grandstands and it was an absolutely amazing race

  9. It’s difficult to blame the decisions taken at Canada. I think they made the right calls… BUT they spent too much time behind the safety car.

    At the original start (14:00), we all thought a Safety Car start was a bit too much, but okay, they never tested those tyres and so on. But if you’re going to start the race behind the safety car, do one lap and get in the pits, man!

    Same with the restart at around 16:00. They spent so much time out that when the Safety Car finally went in the pits, they all changed to intermediates.

  10. only when there is a serious risk of aquaplaning.. for everything else, the green should be flying. heck, i raced karts on the weekend in puddles half as big as the wheels.. as long as there is no aquaplaning, the race should go on

    1. The problem seems to me to stem from the ‘plank’ under the floor of the cars – before, in dry conditions, Brundle and DC have commented that behind the saefty car when tyre pressures drop the plank starts to come into contact with the track, and if this happens on a track with any amount of standing water it would cause aquaplaning.

      Is there another way of preventing cars using ground-effect without just sticking a bit of wood under the middle of the car?

      1. I’ve often wondered why they don’t put four blocks – I imagine them as metal hockey pucks – in the “corners” of the floor. If the puddle was bis enough to pick up all four then it would definitely be too wet to race!

      2. In the days before the plank cars still aquaplaned and, if anything, were even more prone to aquaplaning than they are now.

        The plank was introduced in the wake of Senna’s death, when there was some concern that cars were bottoming out because teams ran them too low to generate extra downforce. You can probably find some pre-1994 footage of cars throwing up sparks at the start of races as they bottom out while heavy with fuel. Ground effect had been banned over twenty years earlier.

        One of the earlier attempts to thwart ground effect had been the specification of a 6cm minimum ride height, to be measured when the car was stationary. Brabham had gotten around that by using a hydraulic system that allowed the car to run much lower out on the track, which exposed a loophole in the regulations. Because of problems with reliably measuring ride height when cars are in motion, the rule was quietly dropped.

        The plank solution was partly an attempt to learn the lessons of the 6cm loophole. Put the plank on the bottom of the car, force teams to increase ride height, if they run so low the plank wears down and if it wears too much the car is disqualified.

      3. Increase minimum height

        1. Why not make rain tyres 2 to 4cm bigger in diameter, increasing car height just enough to keep the plank from turning into a surfboard.

          1. That was certainly the case with the Bridgestone wet tyres. I haven’t heard definitively but I’d be surprised if that’s not the case with the Pirellis.

          2. What I understood from the dutch commenter, in the past they dragged monsoon tyres from race to race, to make sure there could be racing on the wettest tracks.

            These tyres were a lot higher, making the ride hight such that the car wouldn’t be aquaplaning on the plank, even in Korean, or Canadian conditions.

            But when they were never used for years, they became a liability, flown around the earth for nothing.

          3. I remember during the BBC commentary, that DC and MB talked about these Wet tyres also giving a bigger ride height, just like the Bridgestones.

        2. Surely this would also decrease cornering speeds as well? That’s what the FIA want.

          Sometimes a simple solution could be the best.

      4. The thing is that after qualy the cars must be in a Parc fermé situation until just before the race. If every team could change in a wet setup before the race it should not be a problem.

        1. Babis1980 I think this is the key point. If the teams could raise the ride height only for a wet start it would surely allow them to drive in poor conditions.

  11. No Opinion, What would i know about whether if it’s safe enough? If a driver himself says its the right call then its the right call.

    But perhaps they could make it such that safety car time does not count towards race time, that way the track will be continuously driven around by maximum 25 cars clearing water out.

    Just my opinion :)

    1. Oh yeah and the safety car laps do not count…

    2. What would i know about whether if it’s safe enough?

      When the cars are faster on the intermediates then they are on wets, then it means the track has been very safe for a considerable amount of time already.

      1. Maybe it’s not the track itself, but the visibility in the restart and the condition of the area just off the track. Which inevitably becomes a mud bath.

    3. laps behind the safety car have to count otherwise we’d have 20 cars running out of fuel.

      It’s difficult relying solely on driver feedback because there will be plenty of disagreements, each driver has his own agenda and it’s possible that inexperienced drivers can be influenced by experienced ones. If Webber says it’s too wet will D’Ambrosio disagree? Probably not.

      Drivers are not always right and they are not always in the best position to judge a wet track. A visor can make conditions appear worse than they are.

      As long as there isn’t standing water they should race. The lack of visibility that Webber moans about can be improved by dropping back a second or two from the car in front.

      1. Drivers are not always right and they are not always in the best position to judge a wet track. A visor can make conditions appear worse than they are.

        I doubt they assess the conditions on the basis of their visors, Ragerod :-)

        It’s difficult relying solely on driver feedback because there will be plenty of disagreements, each driver has his own agenda

        You hit the nail here.

        1. I doubt they assess the conditions on the basis of their visors, Ragerod

          My point was that in a F1 car, wearing a helmet and doing 150 mph the conditions will appear worse than they are.

          Although the big issue with the drivers is visibility and not aquaplaning so may be the point is in favour of the drivers.

  12. i think the sc was used appropriately in both examples, maybe it could have been pulled in a lap earlier. no big deal.

    ignore what drivers have to say regarding an impending sc or stoppage – they will only lobby in their own best interest. in both korea and canada, vettel (in the lead) said it should stop, and hamilton (in the weeds) says “hey guy, what’s the problem?”

    In Korea, 17 laps passed behind the safety car before the start was finally given. In Canada, it took ten laps to get the race started once the suspension had been lifted and four laps had already been wasted behind the safety when the race originally began.

    the first 3 laps in korea and 4 laps in canada weren’t a waste – the served the important purpose of having the race officially conducted. have a nice day, no refunds.

    1. Exactly, Vettel has everything to lose at the front and therefore will always be more cautious

      1. How about when the safety car is out an impartial driver in an F1 concept car (that is what F1 ’05 calls it) also goes out and drives around giving an unbiased opinion of the race conditions so that Charlie et al can make the decision to bring the safety car in at an appropriate time when conditions are good enough for the concept car driver?

  13. Yes. Also from this race we found out that the full wet tyre is completely pointless as the Safety Car was only out until it was intermediate weather.

    Basically the wet tyre is there so the drivers can follow the Safety Car with them.

    1. Spot on Tommy. That for me is the essential question – if the wet tyre is only being used behind the safety car, something’s wrong in the calls being made by race control.

      My rule of thumb would be for a safety car when three cars slide off the track at the same corner in the same lap.

      1. * 3 drivers not including Felipe Massa.

      2. My rule of thumb would be for a safety car when three cars slide off the track at the same corner in the same lap.

        And what about the marshal’s who happen to be trying to get the first guys car off the track?

        That’s a really irresponsible viewpoint.

        1. Well thankfully I don’t get to decide Mike.

          Most of the ‘offs’ in these situations are at slow corners (usually with large run-offs) where the water has piled up and cars start aquaplaning. My gist was that driving in the wet is a skill many spectators like to see, and one or two drivers spinning off (relatively safely, of course) should be tolerated – presuming the conditions have a chance of improving soon-ish rather than worsening.

          The scenario I’m talking about is when a corner just becomes impossible for anyone to get round. Obviously if safety is an issue (the cars need to be cleared asap) then action is needed. Cheers!

          1. On the BBC commentary, DC made the point that drivers had been asking race control to be more proactive and not wait until the first drivers were aquaplaning or slipping off to bring in a SC period.

            I do see that as a valid point, but I also think that they should be quicker to end it again, and not wait for a absolute majority of drivers to beg them to start the race.

  14. It’s used way too much. F1 isn’t far off not racing in the rain at all. I understand if the track can’t shift the water it too dangerous to race but if that’s the case then they shouldn’t be on the calender. The track should be fit to race in any conditions imo.

    1. I agree if we say “fit to race in all but torrential conditions”

      1. or all foreseeable weather conditions.

    2. I’ll disagree because I don’t want to lose Montreal or Interlagos in favour of some well-drained Tilkedromes.

    3. I love Montreal it’s a fantastic track but ….. the rain wasn’t even that hard during the GP (I remember the weather comps saying it was a ‘2’ out of 5 for rainfall) and the amount of water on the track was huge. I’m not really sure how you defeat the weather in places like this, obviously you can’t place drain covers on the track (at least not ones that aren’t wielded down) so the only drainage can be on the grass etc. Having said that anyone who’s watched F1 since the early 90’s will know they raced in far far worse conditions that would stop a race now. F1 cars are closer to the edge now, in the 90’s you could drift and slide the car, you can’t really do that now without getting spat out to the other side of the track.

      For me rain delays don’t really bother me as long as the race is still shown on TV but i did feel a little for F1 last weekend, it’s 1st UK prime time race and it was a washout.

  15. Yes the safety car is used to much, use it when aquaplaning will occur but other than that they should be allowed to race. Lack of visabillity is always an issue in wet races esspecially in open top single seaters but thats the way it has always been. For some reason though esspecially in F1 the drivers have recently been wrapped up in cotton wool although they are meant to be the best drivers in the world at a time that the safety in F1 is at an all time high. Starting the Canadian GP was a complete joke in my opinion and the fact that the commentators was taking about drivers pitting for inters when the safety car pulls in made me laugh. Not even wet conditions but damp!! As for the restart, fair enough start behind safety car but the amount of laps it was out for was just crazy. If it wasnt for Brundle being on air i would imagine he would of been swearing at the situation!

  16. Riccardo Paletti lost his life in such a crash (albeit in dry conditions) at Canada in 1982.

    So he did. Didier Pironi was also very badly injured after driving into the back of the slow-moving Renault of Alain Prost in wet practice at Hockenheim in 1982. Even the late great Ayrton Senna managed to drive unsighted into the back of another car in the very wet Australian GP of 1989. In both cases visibility, not standing water, was the problem and it turned a contest of skill into a matter of pure chance.

    1. Before the flashing light?

      1. Yes, when the light was constant red.

  17. Definately, the start did not need a saftey car and robbed us of a bit competition upfront to Vettel.

    Also the fact cars dashed for inters as soon as the saftey went into the pits 2nd time round was embarrassing for race control.

    1. Totally agree with you.
      When the drivers entered to pit instantly after the safety car leaves the track it means it has stayed too much.
      I agree that safety is important, but in the last couple of years the safety car enters at the first drop of rain. It shouldn’t be like that.

  18. The problem has really only occurred in the last two wet races. Both of these as stated are heavily enclosed with safety barriers and not run off area’s. Also because of the race time locally in Korea visability was also a factor.
    And because the cars are so close to the ground it only needs one deepish puddle on the track where cars are liable to run to say it is too dangerous for the cars to race.

    And has also been stated nobody yet really knows the performance of the present day wet tyres. And as this race was in Canada which has a completely different surface to all other tracks then I am not sure anyone knows how these tyres are going to perform elsewhere.

    Monsoon tyres, a good idea, but with present day finance restriction an expense that cannot be justified.

    So I see the question should be. Should the teams be instructed to go to full wet configuration (increase ride height to a specified distance etc) as well as fit full wet tyres if the race is to start behind the safety car?

    So too answer the question accurately, the safety car was possibly out about two laps more than desirable, in Canada.

    1. MONSOON tyres, why not discard the “full wets” if they are only used behind the safety car and just have Monsoons and Inters.

  19. In hindsight, the Safety Car following the suspension was execessive. However, that’s one thing you don’t have in those conditions, hindsight.

    If the cars had to deal with rain at every race then perhaps we could question the use of the Safety Car as often as we have seen, though you could argue that the drivers would perhaps feel more confident if they had to race in those conditions more often.

    So on the whole, no, I don’t think it has been used too much. But perhaps i’m looking at the fact that it gives us a sprint race with some crazy strategies and surprising results, thus taking the edge off a 2 hour wait ;)

    1. It wasn’t hindsight they needed it was foresight, the drivers were calling out for intermediates a couple of laps before SCin so surely the previous 5 or more laps could have been run on full-wets.

  20. It’s a tough call, because there is no “one size fits all” answer to this. Obviously the FIA and race control need to err on the side of caution, we don’t want to see drivers crashing into one another (like Nurburgring 2007) or into marshalls (Suzuka 94) but when a dry line is starting to form and the cars are still trundling round behind the safety car, it is probably safe to say the race should get back underway!

    1. when a dry line is starting to form

      By that time thy have waited FAR too long. Most pitted for inters straight after the re-start… it really was ridiculous.

      1. That’s my point, if there is a massive amount of standing water and its chucking it down, then the safety car is the right way to go, but if the track is very wet, its not really raining anymore and there isn’t much standing water on the racing line, let them at it!

  21. One of the things you have to consider in Montreal is the run-off for the first turn. There’s not really anything else to separate it from the rest of the circuit. In theory, a driver could skip across the run-off area at speed and go all the way through to the exit of the hairpin uninhibited. Check out Cameron McConville’s infamous accident at a Philip Island V8 Supercar race if you can – he went off at the first turn, kept going across the open infield to the approach to the third turn and very nearly took another driver out. That’s the last thign we want to happen in Formula 1.

    1. But that is something that is an issue even when it isn’t wet, ie. something to look at improving regardless.

  22. The problem here is not the challenge of a standing start on a wet track, it’s a matter of visibility.

    I really don’t share the same opinion. So should we start ALL reasonably wet races under the safety car? I think there is a risk of sanitising the skill required to handle wet conditions, which would be a real shame.

    We are not Indycar!

    1. They’d already spent two hours under red flags, another half hour wouldn’t have hurt. In return we might have seen more racing in better conditions.

      It actually teemed down with rain again not long after the race had finished, so perhaps it would have made a difference… having said that we would have had more laps at racing speed so it might have been ok.

  23. My totally unrealistic suggestion: Have an FIA operated F1 car that can go out in the wet whilst the safety car is out with an experienced driver behind the wheel who can assess the conditions without bias towards their own agenda. They can then decide, perhaps as a result of a set of pre-determined green flag conditions ascertained from wet weather testing, when it is ok to get racing.

    So many reasons why that would never happen (the added costs of such an operation alone would probably be enough) but ignoring all that I think it would be a good solution.

    1. supernicebob, I like this suggestion it’s sensible although perhaps not feasible. It could easily be a slightly less expensive car GP2? That acts as a pace car in wet conditions, (the higher speeds would also dry thetrack quicker) whilst maintaining safety.

      The safety car is more useful for when you have people on the track when it would be dangerous to travel faster. But when the safety car was out in montreal the drivers were not struggling for grip at all.

  24. On Planet Earth it does rain. Sometimes it will rain when GPs are scheduled. There are potentially number of ways F1 as a sport could improve the way it handles rain. Safety cars are a pretty poor solution for a sport where cars have literally 100s of millions of pounds invested in them.

    One intial thought to improve safety is to remove lapped cars from the race. If you get lapped once a race has been deemed to be under ‘extreme weather conditions’ then you are out. This is particularly true of tracks with no run off areas.

    Secondly what can be done to improve the cars? I seriously think that almost any road car could have performed better under those conditions than an F1 car designed for dry weather.

    The FIA could have a set of rules for races ‘officially deemed wet’ or restarted under wet conditions, eg:

    – adjust ride height by 5cm
    – add 50kg of ballast at each wheel

    Also are there any possibilities to use any kind of radar/GPS systems to add augmented reality/head up displays to help drivers orient themselves? Sounds a bit sci-fi, but think of the cost of the cars & its not so crazy.

    Thirdly tracks must improve drainage. When I lived in Singapore it regularly rained several cm every afternoon in the rainy season in a matter of minutes, but massive storm drains cleared the road. How much would it cost to improve track drainage? TV rights etc make this worthwhile.

    All in all I find it hard to accept that when a good couple of races each year are wet, the most technically advanced cars on the planet can’t drive. Worse than the UK train system when it snows!

  25. Yes – definitely out too long. However, that Mercedes is one nice looking car! It could be worse.

  26. My view on the subject is: let the drivers do the drive until they can. If too many cars crash, then you red-flag the race.

    Safety-car shouldn’t be allowed just because the track is wet.

  27. Everyone should remember there were a couple of special circumstances about Canada. First both the teams and the FIA had little experience with the new wets and practically none in a race situation which has been mentioned elsewhere. (Kudos to Pirelli for another good tyre though). The second point is the nature of the circuit with the walls and minimal run off areas at many points. With a wet track pretty much any incident was going to result in another red flag; with big run-offs at other circuits you can get away with yellows much more of the time. It was entirely reasonable to start under a safety car and the safety car was required at the restart for much the same reasons as at the start. However the safety car running could have been reduced by delaying the restart by another 5-10 mins to let the track clear a little more, we’d waited 2 hours any way. The main gripe though has to be length the safety car was run for. Given that everyone switched to Intermediates almost immediately then the track is very likely to have been in a sufficiently good condition to race at least 2-3 laps before, possibly longer.

  28. Yes, the safety car should not be used when it rains. Neither should the race be stopped because it rains, my recorder never even got to record the restart. Stopping a race for 2 hours because of rain is simply put STUPID. I missed a beautiful duel because of that.

  29. Russell Gould
    15th June 2011, 14:09

    In Canada, I believe the issue was end of the circuit by the hairpin. The track had completely disappeared by the time the yellow was shown. It was terrifying. It was a visibility issue.

    In Korea, it was an issue with the new tarmac seeping oil. Ask Mr. Webber, if you don’t remember how slick it was, or Mr. Petrov, or Mr. Button, or . . . .

    I think the FIA are doing the right thing.

    Is anyone complaining about the racing we saw at Korea last year or Canada this year? If you are, may you be sentenced to a highlights reel from Valencia before this year. Well, except for Kamui K.’s drive there last year, which was stellar!

  30. Gnarly Racing
    15th June 2011, 14:15

    Given how long the SC stayed out each time, it was annoying to have yet another interruption for Alonso’s accident. You don’t see “double waved yellows” much these days, couldn’t they have craned the Ferrari off. The turn 4 crane seemed to be on the wrong side of the track, it was a busy crane in practice and qualifying too and there was a red flag every time.

    Safety car for Heidfeld’s accident – fair enough, sharp bits all over the track. Wouldn’t have fancied the falling-over marshal’s chances at racing speeds!

  31. The start under the safety car was a joke, people in the stands didn’t even figure out the race was underway until the cars rolled off the grid and we could see lap 1 on the TV screens… wow.. that was sad.

    As for the rest of the race, I think it was OK. I was sitting in the rain at the track getting soaked and now have a cold because of it! There were rivers of water inches deep all over the place, the rain was bad. So I would have to say that I think overall the use of the SC was good, aside from the rolling start.

    1. Really, people on the track didn’t even get a clear announcement? That’s pretty sad; it also shows that part of this is the FIA not being so great at keeping the audience informed – during the race suspension, we got information from the teams, but not from race control too.

  32. A-Safieldin (@)
    15th June 2011, 14:22

    Two words. Monaco. 1984. The amount of rain was similar though slightly less than Montreal walls were closer cars were turbo and yet they managed to race (it was canceled eventually due to personal interests rather than safety). Towards the middle of the Canadian GP the rain was a bit intense but that’s when the safety car should’ve come out. If the car’s wooden plank is causing such a problem in an xxx million dollar car I guess something really has to be done.

  33. Michael Griffin
    15th June 2011, 14:39

    If the drivers think Race Control did the right thing, then it did.

    It is they who are the experts in this situation, not us.

  34. The red flag was the right call. The standing water would have made racing impossible. However, the safety car was out WAY too long. 4 laps at the start is about as much as I can tolerate, but 10 laps on the second start was unacceptable. If you ask me, if the track is considered dry enough to run pace laps, then at most you need 2 laps for the drivers to get a feel for the grip and check where any standing water may still be, then send them off. Yes it’s tricky, but that’s what we come to watch: great drivers in difficult conditions. The fact that a dry racing line had started to form before the pace laps ended is sign enough that they waited much too long to go green.

  35. I don’t think the safety car should have been used at the start on Sunday. In hindsight I think it came out at the right time before the red flag, it just felt wrong because we couldn’t see the weather radar.

    It then stayed out about six laps too long after the red flag. If its time for inters when it pulls in then the SC has been out too long.

  36. A question for somebody more familiar with F1 racing from a few decades ago, would it be true to say that the the trajectory of the water released behind a moving F1 is more voluminous and also released in such a way that makes visibility much worse in the wet than it used to be?

    Maybe it is a similar problem to the wind from a following car making it difficult to overtake. The wind/water is kicked upwards almost diagonally from the back of the car, either significantly blinding the following driver in the wet, or severely messing up the front wing aero in the dry. Is it a similar problem?

  37. Yes Safety car is being used so liberally these days. Race should have got under way normally and cars pitting for inters after the restart was a joke. Were the conditions so much worse than the race there at 2000?(apart from the period when the race was suspended)

    Drivers are moaning so much these days so I wouldnt pay much attention to what they say. They complain about bumps, high kerbs(how about driving round them?) etc all the time. I laughed when Alonso described Korean GP last year as the worst conditions he had ever driven.

  38. Some responsibility falls on the designers who have not made enough concessions to wet racing.
    As usual the FIA need to clarify their expectations. Either F1 cars shouldn’t race in wet conditions and there should be no wet tyres. Or wet racing should be allowed and the engineers need to incorporate this into their car designs.
    Did anyone else think it ironic that these drivers safely circuiting the track are telling us the track is undrivable?

    1. What do you think designers should be doing to allow for wet conditions?

  39. My main problem with the cars trundling round behind the safety car in the wet is that it robs us seeing the cars actually racing.

    I agree that it makes sense for the safety car be used for the opening 2 or 3 laps of a race purely to allow the drivers to get used to track conditions, that if it’s wet and or raining, have changed in the 15 minutes since the cars drove to the grid and to avoid a mass pile up at the 1st corner.

    I also think that 2 or 3 laps following a sudden downpour or restart is ok, again to allow drivers to get used to track conditions.

    Of course it’s sensible to bring the safety car to allow marshals on the track to clear up after crashes, such as Heidfelds crash, where Kobayashi had to slow right down to avoid the marshal who’d fallen over on the track, and under double waved yellows may have been going faster and because of the track conditions caused another accident.

    Finally what I disagree with is when the safety car is used excessively to keep the cars going round and ticking laps off with no immediate prospect of green flag conditions. If the conditions are considered too bad to race normally and the cars are circulating behind the safety car lap after lap with no end in sight then the race should be red flagged. especially as if the race is red flagged the down time doesn’t count towards the 2 hour limit, where as time behind the safety car does and deprives us of seeing the cars actually racing when the conditions get better. For example this weekend if the conditions weren’t considered safe enough to race then they should have waited 15 more minutes for the track to improve rather then “wasting” laps and time behind the safety car.

  40. yeah though I chose that the safety car out was a good thing, I guess yeah, the safety car is being overused. Keeping the cars behind the SC basically killed the need for wet tyres. Cause as soon as the SC went in they all switched to inters. It seemed a lot like they were trying to get the water off the road with the cars in wet tyres. True, safety comes first, but then cars are safe like crazy today. wasnt necessary to leave the SC out for so long.

  41. I voted no, taking only the last GP into account. In this race, the SC was used just when it was needed, and I don’t think it stayed out for too much laps.
    For the first SC, it might have looked unnecessary when you were watching with the track cameras, but the onboard cameras clearly showed the the visibility wasn’t very good. And the red flag was clerly a good decision considering how much rain there was at the hairpin. At the restart, I think the SC should have come into the pits 1 or 2 laps earlier (considering that cars were up to put the intermediates, but it was OK for me.

    Now, if you consider all the recent wet races where the AC was used, I have more mixed opinions. Mainly because of the pointless 18 first laps run behind the SC in Korea last year. They should have realeased the cars earlier in my opinion, or have a longer red flag period (even if the race would have to be shortened).

    In conlusion, I think that generally the SC isn’t used more than it should in wet races. Of course, we all want to se unpredictible action on the track, but personnaly I don’t want to see it at the cost of blood and debris flying in the air. But in rare cases, it is used too long, and that is pointless : it’s much better de stop the race in this case I think.

  42. Tagging along behind Maylander’s road car is not racing. If F1 cars cannot race in the rain, why have Pirelli make two types of “rain tyres”? And the drivers certainly have the possibility of lifting off if they’re uncomfortable – it’s their choice to try and win or risk losing, that’s what competitive sport is all about.

    The obvious change that needs to be made is parc fermé rules after the race director has declared “wet weather conditions”; the rules must be relaxed to allow adjustments. If it’s the plank rather than the tyres doing the aquaplaning, at least ride height should be modifiable. Maybe wet tyres (despite a small increase in height due to tread depth) should go with bigger diameter rims? There’s all sorts of possibilities.

    If visibility is a problem it is up to the drivers to react – maybe by racing in simulators back at the factory or on computers in their dry motor-homes… Sheesh… we’ll never know who deserves to be champion.

    How many F1Fanatics really want a NASCAR type environment with racing limited to totally dry tracks? Come on guys and girls – this is the pinnacle of motor racing, not pussyfooting.

  43. Having raced a formula race car in very heavy rain and only being able to tell the hilly track from the sky by a subtle difference in grays, anything that makes it safer is welcome. Also, repairing crash damage that could have been avoided by using a safety car is silly. Since I don’t go to the races anymore but watch on satellite with a DVR, it isn’t a problem to let it record the stoppage and come back later and just fast forward to the racing action.

    1. Well, if you aren’t home, then it depends on how the recorder decides when it is done: mine follows the program info from the channel itself (with some overrun needed because they like to be either 5 min early, or late in general to let me see a bit of their nice adds); or I can set the times myself. I don’t usually take two hour red flag periods into account.

      Certainly my recording of Monaco was saved because of the usual after race half an hour (but I was home to watch on the BBC anyway).

      Canada I was home for too, and just added the movie that was supposed to come after the race to the recording when it was clear it wasn’t going to be a short suspension, so I have it complete (again, watched it live on BBC).

      Not that I think that’s a reason to skimp on SC car period length, of course, it should clearly be about safety, but like many others, to me it seems clear to me that when the whole grid goes for intermediate tyres en masse as soon as allowed (causing rushes through the pits that themselves are slightly risky), safety has been overdone.

  44. Yes, I pretty much completely agree with Keith was too extensive in this case. I understand the argument about the start but even so four laps is a bit extreme. Rain is part of the change in conditions that adds interest and if it’s really that hard to race in anything wetter than damp the why would Bernie suggest artificial rain in the first place? Regardless of what you may think of him he certainly knows what he is talking about.

    I can see one reason for using the safety car for an extensive amount of laps namely if the race had been restarted much earlier in order to use the cars for clearing off the standing water.

  45. The 2hr delay was great, i got the yard work done,I’m now golden with the old lady :)

  46. HounslowBusGarage
    15th June 2011, 17:47

    As I reecall, there wasn’t a parade lap was there? The SC led them all away and D’ambrosio came out of the pits, right away after the pack had passed and the race distance was counting down.
    Maybe it would have been a better idea to do two, three or even four parade laps behind the SC for everyone to spot the standing water, aligators etc and then to line up for a proper standing start.
    On the restart, yes I think the SC was out a bit long for whatever reason. But I’m not sure I agree with the idea that the organisers could have waited another thirty minutes in the red flag period and then restarted the race without the SC. We are often told how much water the tyres can remove from the track, and without cars running round it, the track would not have got that dry that quickly; it would have taken hours.
    The other consideration is the broadcasters. Keith, you made reference to the BBC causing fury by cancelling a programme, but if the GP transmission had gone on for yet another thirty minutes, how many broadcasters would have had to chop the transmission?

    1. Maybe it would have been a better idea to do two, three or even four parade laps behind the SC for everyone to spot the standing water, aligators etc and then to line up for a proper standing start.

      This is a genius idea

      1. How about 3 or 4 cautious racing laps?

  47. Not sure if someone has already mentioned this….
    I completely agree that the driver’s input in these situations is critical, but is it always reliable? I seem to remember some drivers moaning in Korea that it was unsafe and wanted the race stopped due to darkness. I think it was Heidfeld who vehemently denied this at the time. With Charlie listening, I think the drivers will always give an opinion that benefits their race strategy regardless of the conditions. I’m sure this is all taken into account and the final call is made by Maylander and Charlie Whiting.

  48. Both starts were a joke! Vettel was handed the lead because of this. Why do the FIA insist on using Safety Car starts? Do they want to get their monies worth out of the SLS? It’s ridiculous! Should of been a fight for first from the start!

  49. I voted Yes. Maybe it’s because I started watching F1 in the early 1990s when the safety car wasn’t used so much, actually when was the safety car first used in F1?

    I think the race should have started normally on Sunday, but even if it had to start behind a safety car because of the chaos of the start in wet conditions isn’t deemed safe anymore the safety car should have been called in at the end of the first lap.

    It was obviously correct to red flag the race when they did as F1 cars couldn’t race in the conditions at the time.

    The fact that drivers changed to inters so soon after the safety car came in after the restart proves that it stayed out too long then as well.

    Race control have taken an evermore cautious approach with regards to the safety car every season, so I hope the day doesn’t arrive when F1 just doesn’t race in the wet, as I believe that Brundle mentioned in commentary that Indycar and NASCAR don’t.

  50. Christian Horner who was interviewed during the red flag said “the cars are not designed for these conditions”. Which begs the question: What are the cars designed for?

    If there are bumps, it’s not suitable. Too much camber, not OK, high rise in the middle to better drain the water, not OK, too wet, not OK, etc etc.

    So basically, F1 cars are designed to run on totally flat and smooth car parks.

    I think it’s time this was addressed the issue of design, rather than racing rules. Should the cars not be required to be raceable in a certain amount of adversity: bumps and wet surface?

    After all, if I design a car which can run in monsoon conditions, why should I be prevented from enjoying that advantage, when they throw a red flag everytime it’s wet.

    The other alarming point is that many drivers in Canada, such as Kobayashi, elected not to change to full wets when the heavy rain came because they knew the race was going to be stopped anyway. In other words, your wet weather performance becomes irrelevant. F1 is a dry or drying surface sport only.

    1. HounslowBusGarage
      16th June 2011, 14:36

      While I don’t totally disagree with you, it should be pointed out that camber of the track is limited by the FIA’s track design regs.

  51. Charlie Whiting should resign before he loses all credit imho. Too many erratic decisions taken and not only in this race.

  52. Nowhere in the rules does it say they have to drive super-fast. If they can drive behind the safety car then they can race each other. Just like you can’t go full throttle in most corners in F1, you have to be clever in the wet too otherwise you will crash. I can’t believe I’m even saying it, it’s the most basic thing about racing/driving. Yet the current trend is that unless you can drive as you do in the dry, then everything else is “undrivable”

    Unless the cars have to crawl around at 10mph, then it should be considered drivable. I see no reason why the drivers think they should only race when they are comfortable with being reasonably aggressive with the car.

  53. Dar4Ferrari (@)
    15th June 2011, 21:01

    i think the issue surrounding the introduction of the safety car is simply it’s left out too long….there is no doubt it should have been deployed when it was but in fact the longer you leave the safety car out the greater the opportunity for pools of standing water to build up at bends which doesn’t occur when cars are passing by more frequently by a spread racing field….there should be a limit on the number of laps allowed under the SC per deployment….MW and JT are highly experienced drivers and know what they’re talking about though hard to argue against them

  54. I do think the safety car was necessary when it started to throw it down before the race was red flagged but it wasnt needed at the start of the race or when the race restarted. F1 is all about putting on a show and yes we dont want drivers put under unnecessary risks but watching the cars follow a safety car for 30 laps while the comentators try to think of something to fill the time is not a show or racing.

  55. No I don’t they are, anything that keeps as many drivers in the race, keeps them fast, and keeps them safe is fine by me. I hate them at the time but o well.

  56. I think one thing that we have to keep in mind is the change in the way F1 is perceived and how the world in general has changed in it’s attitude towards risk.
    When you go to a race the back of your ticket says – “Motor racing is dangerous”, as a long term fan I understand that, in fact a lot of my admiration and respect for the drivers was based not only on their incredible skills but their bravery, passion and willingness to take a risk.
    I feel in the past people understood that nothing – especially something like F1 could be completely safe, however nowadays the ethos is more about if there is the opportunity to reduce a risk then it is irresponsible not to do so.
    Charlie Whiting (representing the FIA who also have a larger non sporting remit) has a tool at his disposal to minimise risk to countless fans marshals and drivers, he has TV companies that view F1 as big bucks showbizz (Geri Halliwell at Monaco – how sad). Wether we like it or not This is the reality for F1 in todays world:
    Safety cars, green engines (since when did F1 cars have to be relevant to road cars?),
    drivers wearing slip on bibs in press conferences, with sponsors logs ironed to face the cameras.
    The fact that F1 has not had a driver fatality since 94 is fantastic, but will it become a sport that has lost it’s soul as a result of it’s quest for total safety, a very tricky balancing act.

  57. It is FAR too dangerous in wet conditions. Both Petrov and Liuzzi had huge accidents last year in wet conditions… it’s near-enough impossible to drive in such situations, but always provides dramatic racing

  58. In Canada after the restart after the rain they spend 4 extra laps & in Korea they should have had started way before Lewis asked his team to start the race.

  59. I said it last year regarding Korea and I’ll say it again. The solution is two part.

    Part 1 – Better drainage at the circuits. Any civil engineer will tell you that ponding at the circuits is a result of poor drainage design. This can be fixed, it just requires circuit owners to spend money. Get rid of ponding, and water flowing across the track you remove any aqua planning issues.

    Part 2 – Wet weather mud flaps that go on the back of each car to stop the spray from tyres and diffusers being launched into the air. Make it a standard piece provided by the FIA so all cars are equally disadvantaged. Get rid of the spray, and the visibility issue is solved.

    Problem solved.

  60. It seems that running a full grid of F1 cars behind the saftey car seems to be the most effective way of moving water from the track.

    That guy with a broome definitely wasn’t doing much.

  61. The safety car should only be used to neutralise a race after an accident, so that debris can be cleared from the vicinity of the track.

    It should never be used just because it’s raining – that punishes those who are good at driving in the wet, rewards those who are poor wet weather drivers, and is totally unsporting.

    It should also never be used to start a race. If it is deemed “too wet” for a standing start, proceedings should be delayed until it’s dry enough to start properly.

    1. Ahh but there has been good points made about the fact that F1 cars when circulating do tend to remove standing water quicker than just waiting for it to dry out naturally. I can see whe the safety car would be used in some situations when the track is saturated but Canada just wasnt the case.

  62. I think the calls to start the race under safety car and to red flag the race at the moment they did were correct. Maybe the saftety car for Heidfeld’s crash was unnecessary but otherwise it was correct to use the SC. However, I think the SC stayed out about 3 laps too long on each occasion. For me this ruined the spectacle of seeing proper wet racing. Each time, there was virtually a dry line and the drivers were popping in for intermediates – some of them before the SC had gone in. Ridiculous!
    The drivers all say they want it this way as its easier/safer. Do we tune in to watch easy safe racing? Surely its the possiblility that someone might spin that makes it great, and sorts the boys from the men.

  63. YES!! YES!! YES!! YES!! YES!! YES!! YES!! YES!! YES!! YES!! BURN IT!!

  64. If the safety car had stayed out one more lap, and why not, it stayed out too long anyway, we would’ve been robbed of one of the great wins. THATS the problem.

    F1 needs to decide whether it wants to go racing or just make money.

    Asking the drivers is rubbish, they always want more grip, they always want everything perfect. And why wouldnt they, anything like rain or difficult tyres injects something they cant totally control; but asking them if the race should continue is like asking Turkeys if they want Xmas

  65. Many of you will hate what I’m about to say but I will anyway.
    1. A race should NEVER start behind the safety car – either the conditions permit racing or they don’t, live with it, and just for the record, cars crawling slowly behind the SC is NOT racing, and i don’t care if you don’t agree.
    2. The SC should NEVER be deployed if a track is “too wet”, either stop the race, make the drivers change their tyres but no SC. SC is for special cases, like some car smashed on the side of the track and…that’s about it. SC is severely overused in F1 and if someone replies to this with something like “but it makes the sport safer” – ok, safer = worse = less exciting. Anyways, if the conditions are so very bad, I’ve got a brilliant SC-free solution to our poor little drivers – DRIVE SLOWER! And if you cant? Quit F1.
    Every race graced by a bit of water on the track instantly transforms into a whine-fest of how dangerous it is. If the drivers are scared of putting their health on the line for the kind of pay they receive, should quit immiedately and make room for people who actually have the balls to race in difficult conditions.
    I regret nothing written here.

    1. Pretty much with you, safety of course is paramount but if we continue this way we will either only race in the dry or the drivers will be in the pits on the remote control simulator like drones in Afghanistan being piloted from California.

  66. The SC issue is not whether or not to restart the race it was how long they trailed behid the SC. It was too long, its not even contentious, the drivers came in for Inters straight away. My mum could tell you that means they were behind the SC too long.

  67. i quite agree with your points Brendyman. F1 is about as safe as motor sport gets and the drivers whinge about everything unless they are winning every race.

    I remember a story about DC when he was racing DTM, he was complaining in the drivers debrief that the track was really bumpy. The other drivers just laughed at him. The track theyd just raced was well known as one of the smoothest on the DTM calendar ( i forget which one).

    Get on with it or get out

    1. It was the Lausitzring, mentioned here:

      Poll: Was new Silverstone a success?

  68. I tend to agree with the comments you make about delaying the safety car period, we spent 10 laps under the safety car after the red flag where it was drying, but they could held off another 10-15 minutes and got the race running again after maybe 2 or 3 laps.

  69. the cars as much as anything dried the track. you need them on there. what maybe they couldve done is run at race speeds but with no overtaking… but to be honest. get on with it. James Hunt won the WDC in 1976 in much worse conditions and in cars made of bamboo and hope.

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