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FIA responds to safety car criticism

NEWS STORY
16/04/2022

The FIA has responded to criticism of the Aston Martin safety car in Australia, not least Max Verstappen's description of the car as a "turtle".

The world champion was one of a number of drivers to complain that the Aston Martin used at Melbourne is not as quick as the vehicle supplied by Mercedes, and as a result drivers were unable to generate the requisite heat into their tyres ahead of the restart.

With the whole issue of safety cars sill a sore point for the sport's governing body, this morning the FIA took to Twitter to issue a brief statement in reaction to the drivers' comments.

"In light of recent comments regarding the pace of the FIA Formula 1 Safety Car, the FIA would like to reiterate that the primary function of the FIA Formula 1 Safety Car is, of course, not outright speed, but the safety of the drivers, marshals and officials," it read.

"The safety car procedures take into account multiple objectives, depending upon the incident in question, including the requirement to 'bunch up' the field, negotiate an incident recovery or debris on track in a safe manner and adjust the pace depending on recovery activities that may be ongoing in a different part of the track.

"The speed of the safety car is therefore generally dictated by race control, and not limited by the capabilities of the safety cars, which are bespoke high-performance vehicles prepared by two of the world's top manufacturers, equipped to deal with changeable track conditions at all times and driven by a hugely experienced and capable driver and co-driver.

"The impact of the speed of the safety car on the performance of the cars following is a secondary consideration, as the impact is equal amongst all competitors who, as is always the case, are responsible for driving in a safe manner at all times according to the conditions of their car and the circuit."

Ahead of the race, the FIA had warned drivers over how they were to act ahead of a safety car restart, with particular attention paid to Verstappen's habit of harrying the driver ahead to the point of being alongside.

However, in the wake of the incident behind the safety car involving Yuki Tsunoda and Mick Schumacher the stewards warned of the need for further revisions of the protocols.

"It is clear that the speed and braking capabilities of F1 cars, especially while trying to maintain required temperatures in tyres and brakes, are in tension with the ten car length separation behind the safety car traditionally specified in the regulations," they said.

"This needs to be a point of emphasis in future driver briefings, to ensure the drivers collectively agree on how best to address this challenge before an unfortunate incident occurs."

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by Pavlo, 18/04/2022 8:48

"In general FIA is right, no matter how slow SC is if it's same for everyone.
But what a disaster advertising Aston Martin is getting. I think they didn't think about direct comparison with Mercedes when they offered an alternating SC."

Rating: Neutral (0)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

2. Posted by Superbird70, 14/04/2022 19:47

"If Race Control dictates the speed then why not a Virtual Safety Car everytime? The following distances have already been prescribed as well."

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3. Posted by Editor, 14/04/2022 18:34

"@ ZJAY

The "very much under the radar" comment is in direct reference to my previous post referring to the FIA seeking a CEO, which was in direct response to Endre's suggestion that "The FIA has fully turned into a corporation, less and less a sporting organization".

Hardly necessary for a degree in English to understand that, surely.

"

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4. Posted by ZJAY, 14/04/2022 18:08

"@ Editor with a lot of respect and appreciation to your reporting.

I am not an English major nor is English my first language, but the discontent with the pay amount is "inferred" by:

"Yes, it's gone very much under the radar."

I may be wrong, in that case my apologies."

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5. Posted by Editor, 14/04/2022 17:32

"@ ZJAY

Intrigued as to precisely where in my post I said, inferred or hinted, that his pay was "too much for him"."

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6. Posted by ZJAY, 14/04/2022 17:17

"@ Editor

So it is ok for corporations to make millions in profits (and pay peanuts in taxes) drivers to make millions (I am very happy for them, may they make more) but for Stefano too much for him. Why? "

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7. Posted by Editor, 14/04/2022 15:08

"@Endre

Yes, it's gone very much under the radar.

Meanwhile, we hear from a very, very reliable source that Stefano is on $5m a year at F1"

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8. Posted by Endre, 14/04/2022 15:05

"@Editor this is crazy, they are putting a proper big corporate structure in place ... no more comment"

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9. Posted by Editor, 14/04/2022 15:00

"@ Endre

It's funny you should say that...

https://www.russellreynolds.com/en/executive-opportunities"

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10. Posted by Lapps, 14/04/2022 13:28

"Brilliant bit of creative writing. Everything included in the Statement is true, but excludes the established ‘inconvenient truth’ that both their professional driver and Charles have stipulated that the Safety Car was being driven flat out! A distinct flavour of “we are the FIA, we can do no wrong”."

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11. Posted by Tardis40, 14/04/2022 13:19

"Verstappen just told you how to address it"

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12. Posted by Endre, 14/04/2022 13:19

"Typical FIA BS, of course they are dismissing the issue outright instead of giving consideration to the driver concerns. Could it have to do with contracts in place with Aston Martin?? Yet again, when money and safety goes head to head, money wins. Just like the Saudi GP and countless other cases. It is most ironic that they cite driver safety, when this is exactly what they are decreasing. How can driving unreasonably slow on unaffected parts of the race track do anything with safety???? On the other hand, generating heat into the tires is harder than ever on these 18" wheels. With not much sidewall movement, at the restart the cars behave like driving on ice. Whatever the main FIA BS diplomats are saying, that IS dangerous. Enough to look at the near misses in the back of the field in Australia, where drivers were desperately trying to put some heat into their tires. The FIA has fully turned into a corporation, less and less a sporting organization. "

Rating: Negative (-7)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

13. Posted by Burton, 14/04/2022 12:20

"Great statement from the FIA, for once."

Rating: Positive (4)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

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