Safety Car, Baku, Azerbaijan, 2021

Poll – Should FIA world championship races be allowed to finish under Safety Car?

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The finish of a race, naturally, is not just the most important part of the sporting event itself, it’s often the most exciting one.

As the stakes and the tension builds up over the laps, there’s nothing as exhilarating as a battle for a victory in the closing laps of a race – when the competition reaches its climax.

But, sometimes, fans are denied the opportunity to see a race winner decided under racing speeds. If there’s a severe accident or obstruction on the circuit in the final phase of a race, a late Safety Car can neutralise and effectively end a race before it has reached its total distance, leading to cars cruising around the track in order as they tick off the remaining laps until the chequered flag.

Not every major racing series is comfortable with this. For almost two decades, NASCAR have made use of their ‘overtime’ procedure – previously known as a ‘green-white-chequer’ – that extends the race beyond the advertised distance to try and ensure a race begins its final lap under a green flag at the very least.

Edoardo Mortara, Venturi, Diriyah E-Prix, Race 2, Saudi Arabia, 2022
The second Diriyah E-Prix finished under Safety Car
IndyCar have also used red flag stoppages to suspend races and allow accidents to be cleared instead of running out of laps under caution, such as in the closing stages of the 98th Indy 500 in 2014. But IndyCar have not always been consistent in this, with Scott Dixon expressing his surprise that the 2020 Indy 500 was not red flagged in similar circumstances, denying him the chance to attack eventual winner Takuma Sato.

Over the last year, a number of high-profile incidents have led to fierce debate over how Safety Cars should be used in FIA world championships like Formula 1 and Formula E. The Azerbaijan Grand Prix was red flagged after Max Verstappen’s puncture, enabling a three lap sprint instead of those laps being spent behind the Safety Car. And there’s no need for reminders of what happened in the closing laps of December’s championship-deciding Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Even yesterday, while Formula E’s second race in Diriyah technically finished under green, it was only for the final corner of the race after the final nine minutes of competition time was spent under Safety Car conditions.

Whether you believe Safety Car finishes are acceptable or abhorrent is almost a question of you philosophy on racing: How much of an obligation do racing series have to provide fans – and competitors – with a flying finish under green flag conditions?

For

All FIA world championship races are scheduled to run over a finite distance, or to a maximum time. If a race is planned to be run over 60 laps, then whoever crosses the line first at the end of the 60th lap should be declared the winner – even if they do so behind the Safety Car.

If the FIA start introducing any requirement in their regulations that races have to finish under green, then that means the final laps of the race will be treated with a completely different approach than those before it. After all – no one ever objects to racing laps lost due to a Safety Car in the early phase of a race, even though the first ten laps can be just as important in determining an outcome as the final ten.

Safety Cars themselves are already enough of an artificial intervention on the natural ebb and flow of a race as it is: Competitors can gain or lose a huge number of places depending on the circumstances around when a Safety Car is deployed. Even minute-long gap between two cars can be wiped out in an instant as the car behind is allowed to suddenly catch up to their rival ahead. Add in the elements of compulsory tyre changes and how many factors teams must consider when deciding their strategies as it is, to go even further by forcing a green flag finish by any means is just one step too far.

Against

Yes, racing is a competition – but it is also a spectacle. The reason why the infamous US Grand Prix of 2005 proved so controversial – even though the rules were technically observed correctly – was because having only six starters robbed the fans of the thrill of the enthralling race they had paid good money to see.

If motorsport was exciting enough to draw in viewers and keep them absorbed purely through watching drivers lapping the circuit for nearly two hours, then there would be no need for RaceFans’ ‘rate the race’ polls after every grand prix. But, as fans, we want to see racing – surely it is preferable to have a racing finish guaranteed than be denied what could be a thrilling climax just because an accident takes place at the most inconvenient time?

There’s also a case from a competition standpoint. A grand prix is just over 300km, but a late Safety Car could effectively mean a result is decided at with 10, 20 or even 30 kilometres remaining. Is it right that a driver is denied an opportunity to attack a leader for a potential race victory, just because the final five laps or so must be wasted because of the appearance of the Safety Car?

I say

It’s hardly a surprise, but the ideal solution likely lays somewhere between the two extremes of this debate.

Accidents and hazards can occur at any time in motorsport and, as always, safety absolutely must be the priority. The Safety Car should be used without any hesitation from race control, no matter the race circumstances or external factors that could be in play. If there’s an accident that needs substantial clearing and marshals require a neutralised field to do so, then the Safety Car should be called no matter how much time or how many laps remain.

You could argue that ‘protecting’ the final laps of the race over and above earlier phases of the race is arbitrary and wrong, as, after all, the leader’s total race finish time is a sum of every lap they completed along the way. But time is linear – when it comes to use race-watching humans at least – and any incidents or delays in the early laps of the race can matter far less, purely because there is so much of the race remaining where anything could still happen and the state of the race could turn on its head.

In the final 50kms or so, every overtake, mistake and collision becomes more critical and neutralising a race under a Safety Car prevents those kinds of race-changing moments from being able to happen. It’s also true that if a race is neutralised or even stopped with a handful of laps left, wiping away the existing gaps between competitors, the order the drivers will be in will be a direct result of everything that has come before it. Yes, restarting a race with a three lap sprint might change the final results compared to if the cars had simply ticked them off under caution conditions. But at least then, the final results will be taken from the completion of the final scheduled lap – not from four, five or six laps before it.

Having a requirement in the rules for races to finish with a green flag feels like a step too far – but that doesn’t mean that there’s no merit in trying to reasonably ensure races don’t end in anti-climatic fashion with drivers forced to crawl around each other, just to reach a set number of laps.

The finish of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix was perhaps a positive example of how Formula 1 and other FIA world championships should approach this in future – making use of red flags to stop the clock, allow the circuit to be made safe and then resume until the final lap is completed naturally under racing conditions. Of course, some drivers will miss out in those circumstances and others will benefit from opportunities they otherwise wouldn’t have had, but at least it will have been determined on the track.

Lucas di Grassi argued that Formula E’s current rules around race time extension needed “fine tuning” and that’s an agreeable stance. Maybe Formula 1 would also benefit from reviewing its current red flag and Safety Car rules and revise them to encourage more racing finishes while also preventing it from being too much of a wildcard that would make things fundamentally unfair for its competitors.

Ultimately, as with any question of rules, the key is consistency. Whatever Formula 1 and its teams decide they want from the use of Safety Cars and encouraging racing finishes, it needs to be applied the same way in every race – from the opening round to the championship finale.



You say

Do you agree that races in FIA world championships should be allowed to finish under Safety Car conditions?

  • Strongly agree (42%)
  • Slightly agree (17%)
  • Neither agree nor disagree (3%)
  • Slightly disagree (13%)
  • Strongly disagree (24%)
  • No opinion (0%)

Total Voters: 278

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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  • 144 comments on “Poll – Should FIA world championship races be allowed to finish under Safety Car?”

    1. Is this the first have your say poll from someone who isn’t Keith? Strong agree from me, a safety car can benefit or hinder any racer at any time. Trying to force every race to have a climactic finish is just another step closer to WWE.

      I’m not opposed to the red flag before the finish if the rules go that way, but then I’d also like to see the cars stay on their tyres and be released from pit lane at the gaps they had when it was red flagged.

      Any artificial bunching of the field to generate excitement just takes away from the fairness. Otherwise might as well make it a rule that the field gets bunched up every 5 laps for MaXiMuM ExCiTeMeNt. And where are those rain sprinklers by the way?

      1. @skipgamer I’ve actually done the last few polls we’ve held, so if anyone has strongly objected to anything recently presented in the ‘I say’ sections, be sure to hold it against me and not Keith…

        1. Sorry I hadn’t noticed, they’re one of my favourite features, thank you for doing them.

      2. Hey, that’s a great point. I never thought of using Red Flags as a sort of Virtual Safety Car. Staggered releases out the pits to maintain the gap, but ensure green flag running. This rule could come into effect for any incident happening within the last 5 laps of the race. Nobody loses a massive gap, nobody gains or loses advantage of tyres, yet we do get racing to the flag. I like your thinking.

        1. And you can include that someone changing tyre get a defined time added to establish new position of release (like +22sec or depending on tracks)

          1. Waved “Green”, “Checkered”, and “Yellow … like NASCAR”. Add “Red” and “Black”, if you wish.

      3. @skipgamer In my view the benefit of not allowing races to finish under sc is to avoid cheating.

      4. Agree with Tristan.
        I for one agree that the best would be to stop all these unnecessary red flags, it feels like cheating. Red flags in my view should be used only to major safety issues, not to finish a race under green. It’s clear that regulations need to be amended to better cover all possible scenarios and have clear guidelines for the future. Also, if red flag continues to be employed at large as currently is, the least they could do is to avoid the mega gimmick standing starts and also not allowing tire changes under red flags (unless for safety reasons; and let everyone do if so). And even if it’s not “entertaining”, races should be allowed to end under SC. Maybe anti climatic, but at least this will maintain the sporting integrity.

        1. I actually prefer a Red Flag over a SC.
          It’s safer for the recovery girls/guys on track, and we don’t lose too many racing laps .
          But there should be no free tyre change or damage repair. If needed it should have some kind of consequences, as if it were under green flag running.

          There is no difference between SC and RedFlag as to the magically disappearing gaps between cars.
          But I agree with @skipgamer that it would be preferable to release cars with some kind of pre-existing gap, which is easier to accomplish after a Red Flag than after a SC (e.g. cars to leave the pit with previous gaps but under VSC conditions until passing start-finish).

          1. TBH, although it’s a minority opinion, I much prefer red flags to SCs too, and would rather they used the SC only for situations with bad weather (if that). The vast majority of situations could be handled under the VSC, especially if they made a couple of modifications to it, and the rest could be more safely and quickly handled under a red flag (with an accelerated restart procedure) without wasting racing laps.

        2. I don’t mind a red flag if it’s a rolling start afterwards. More WWE from liberty when they introduced that. Artificially changes things for fun and caused more accidents which lead to more issues like at Jeddah

      5. I like them being released at relevant gaps. Bit like time trials. I think late red restart or SC restart, the thing that bugs me is that it turns a 300km endurance race into a sprint… but then again its all about sprints these days 😩

      6. @skipgamer @eurobrun

        be released from pit lane at the gaps they had when it was red flagged

        Nice in theory but chaotic and risky in practice. They’d presumably have to be lined up in race order in the pit lane and then released individually at set times down to – what? hundreds of a second? What if a car was overtaking another when the race was red flagged? How short could the time interval safely be (counting for different reaction times with cars right behind each other)? When can they start racing and overtaking? not in the pit lane, surely. What happens if one of the drivers jumps the start by a fraction or two? What happens if one of the cars stalls, blocking the remaining cars?
        Given all those issues, the restart releasing at time intervals would have to be on the main straight, I think.

      7. Man, I guess you wish soccer/futbol would just STOP with the extra time, right?

    2. Yes, when racing to a distance. (as all races should be)

    3. Strongly agree – throwing away 90-95% of racing just to ensure the final 5-10% is exciting is a no-go.

      Also, I really dislike the recent trend of throwing red flags for non red-flag incidents. The Baku race, for example, should’ve either finished under SC or been red flagged and not restarted. F1 has all of a sudden veered into “competition red flag” and “competition SC/VSC” territory, and it’s a stain on the integrity of a Grand Prix. Don’t get me started on having more than one standing start.

      1. I agree with your statement over all and Baku did seem rather daft but I will grant it wasn’t known at the time what caused the tyre blow outs and with two similar incidents happening in roughly the same area I think they were right to ensure the track was entirely safe.
        As they’ve used the standing restarts I’ve gradually gone off them as I don’t think they really add anything.

        1. Craig, shouldn’t that then raise the question of whether it was wise to restart the race at all in the first place? If the cause of the failures was not known and the failures were occurring in a dangerous place around the lap, shouldn’t that be raising some fairly serious questions about whether the race really should be proceeding under those circumstances?

          1. @anon

            It seemed to pretty clearly be influenced by tire wear, so having all cars change tires seemed like a prudent and sufficient measure. I really have no problem with it, because it was safer than trying to restart the race with the safety car and there was no need to end the race.

            1. Davethechicken
              30th January 2022, 19:07

              @ Aapge. There were 3or 4laps left when they red flagged. Seems unlikely any car would have suffered sudden tyre failure at SC speeds. Had there ever been an incident of sudden, dangerous tyre failure when the safety car is out??

            2. @Davethechicken

              Not sure why it matters whether the race would end under the safety car. The cars were unsafe to race, so a red flag was justified. The safety car is not a way to do racing under unsafe conditions. See Spa.

            3. Davethechicken
              1st February 2022, 16:25

              Which car was in an unsafe car condition? They were behind the safety car!

      2. @Thomas Indeed. Unnecessarily many red-flag stoppages over the last two seasons were for things that have been manageable under SC before.

        1. Davethechicken
          30th January 2022, 19:04

          9 red flags in the last 2 seasons , 19 in the 20 seasons prior from memory of a previous post.
          Is it coincidence the RD was no longer CW for the past 2 seasons?

          1. @Davethechicken Yes, 9 in the last two, while 7 in the entire last decade.
            Masi was the RD also in 2019, so not entirely about him.
            Otherwise, the approach change would’ve happened immediately rather than after one season.

            1. Davethechicken
              31st January 2022, 17:12

              👍

          2. Masi isn’t the only person in the FIA, and we all know well that the teams have more influence now.
            It’s not only the Race Director that has changed – the entire system has.

            1. Davethechicken
              31st January 2022, 17:16

              Agree S. For me when the Red flag is shown I usually end up having to do something else with the rest of my Sunday afternoon, rather than watching the tedious sight of the cars in the pit lane for 30 mins or more.
              Other time pressures take over..

    4. Yes.

      2012 WDC title decider finished behind the sc, didn’t see such as fuss being made about that. But because of Netflix, it seems F1 are heading the way of WWE……avoid finishing under the sc even if the race director bends the rules to do so.

      Didn’t see Horner whining when it was his RB driver getting the win under the sc in 2012. But because it would be Hamilton getting the win under the sc in 2021, it’s all of a sudden an issue and has to be avoided at all costs

      1. @amam The incident happened on the penultimate lap in 2012, there was really no choice at all there.

    5. Jonathan Parkin
      30th January 2022, 14:26

      I’m not a fan of needlessly complicating things when we don’t need to. A GP is full race distance or two hours whichever happens first and that is the way it should stay

      If that means the race has to finish under stabilised conditions then so be it. It should be mentioned that since the Safety Car was introduced nearly thirty years ago out of all the races we’ve had in that time only eight have finished in such a fashion and we had a gap of twelve years between the first and second occasions

    6. Absolutely. It is far too artificial to put a red flag in the final few laps for the sake of an entertaining finish, particularly with standing starts after red flags (if it was a rolling start after that would be less bad). Sometimes it is a little anti-climatic to finish under the safety car, but it’s fair in a sporting sense, and it isn’t much more anti-climatic than a race where the winner is miles ahead of second place, most recently Qatar. Why is the final lap so special?

      Thanks to @jerejj for recently providing the stat that the last race to finish under the safety car was China 2015. I remember feeling annoyed at the time, and wishing they could do something like the BTCC of adding three laps when the safety car is out, but that is because the race had been one of the most dull I have ever seen and there looked like being the potential for one exciting lap at the end. One week later, nobody really cared. And I had totally forgotten until being reminded after the events of Abu Dhabi that the 2012 Brazilian GP finished under the safety car, so I think that shows that it doesn’t really matter.

      To be honest, this is probably the controversial issue that I feel most strongly about at the moment, moreso than the sprint races, because the end of Baku seemed extremely artificial and massively increases the amount that luck plays a part in F1. If we absolutely have to have red flags at the end, @drmouse said that there should at least be set rules as to how it works, which I agree with and there wasn’t in 2021, while I also think we definitely need to have rolling starts because the starts are a good place for major changes at the start when those who lose out have a whole race to recover, but having them with just a couple of laps to go increases the element of luck too much.

      1. @F1 frog:
        I couldn’t agree more. I also struggle to understand this obsession with ‘avoid races finishing under the SC at all costs’! My goodness, not every race will be exciting and ‘forcing excitement’ so the fans can be entertained at the expense of safety or bending rules to do so is a no-go for me!
        If F1 and FIA are bent on going down that route, then at a minimum they should clearly state the rules and procedures, in black and white, for doing so…and apply said rules and procedures at ALL times!
        As already mentioned, finishing under the SC has never been a major issue until now; why? Hell, Spa 2021 started and finished under the SC after just 3 non-race laps and quite a few people didn’t have a problem with it!!!

    7. If you can start a race under safety car then yes you should be able finish one.

    8. I entirely agree on two major points;
      Firstly, Safety cars are for safety purposes. If a track is not deemed safe in a manner that doesn’t warrant a red flag and that period overlaps with the end of the race then that’s fair enough, race should finish under safety car.
      The final race of the year should be equal to every other race of the year, so any safety related procedures should be carried out as they were in every other event, otherwise it’s no longer a season long championship (same applies to every lap of a race, so red flagging a race just because a vague incident which could be as simple as a bit of body work needs removing from the track just because it’s near the end of the race is silly)

      1. @Craig, I couldn’t agree more with you.

    9. Andy (@andyfromsandy)
      30th January 2022, 14:36

      I would say the reason Masi got in such a pickle is because he was looking at the lap numbers. By running the race like a computer program there would be no regard for what lap the safety car was deployed. Should the laps count then be reached the race ends regardless of anything else.

      Yes a race should be allowed to end under a safety car until something else changes to allow for extra time.

    10. A SC is only for the safety of the stewards during cleaning. If there are not enough laps to clean the track and resume the race a rolling restart is the right choice. A red flag without repairing or changing tires is then the only option.
      All SC always bunches up the field.
      So if it is after lap 1 or lap 60 does not matter. SC is a safety option to resume racing as soon as possible.
      Unlapping cars only by letting the leaders pass, without the extra lap.

    11. I voted strongly agree, but do still have a problem with an entire “race” run under a safety car.

    12. Of course. Admittedly, I find this poll pointless.
      People should stop being unreasonable & hysterical about such things that aren’t the world’s end.
      Concerning F1 specifically, 2010 Monaco, 2012 Brazilian (WDC decider), 2014 Canadian, & most recently 2015 Chinese GP. I don’t recall anyone making a fuss about these cases, not even the championship-deciding one, so why did everyone suddenly become over-obsessive with avoiding SC finishes at all costs, despite neutralized finishes being an extremely rare occurrence anyway? I just don’t get this general consensus.

      ”Is it right that a driver is denied an opportunity to attack a leader for a potential race victory, just because the final five laps or so must be wasted because of the appearance of the Safety Car?”
      More like is denying a (controlled) winning opportunity from a driver who’s driven a flawless race right?
      One can look at this both ways.

    13. The final race is the same as the first race. You either have a rule that no race finishes under a safetycar or they all can.

      I don’t like Americanised sports so I’d rather the race finish under a safetycar if needed but I don’t mind as long as the rules are applied consistently at every race.

    14. Safety Cars are for one purpose only, safety during a period when it is not safe to race in case of an incident.

      So every other purpose (like spicing up the show )should be eliminated. Like allowing lapped cars through. Without a safety car these cars must also be passed, so I see no reason why a safety car should give that extra advantage, where you (except for the leader) you already have the advantage to close up to the car in front.

      Same goes for a red flag. You already have an advantage, so I would remove all the repairs and tyre changes during a red flag, because without it you als do not have that advantage.

      All these gimmicks to spice up the show should go, as they have nothing to do with real racing, imho.

      As for the race ending under a safety car, I rather would not, but that depends on the moment the incident happens. I don’t see anything in extending the race and running out of fuel, so in the last couple of laps it is inevitable, because there is no time to restart the race.

      Let’s say when an incident occurs between laps 5 to 3 from the end, use the red flag. And before that just use the SC, if they can restart the race before the last lap. If not use the red flag, if the cleaning up takes longer than expected.

      1. @silfen I agree with the SC application itself, albeit that’s never done for unlapping.
        Unlapping is merely something that happens when an SC period occurs for whatever reason unless every runner is already on the lead lap. I’ve never had an issue with unlapping, which is mainly about fuel loads.
        I strongly disagree with disallowing repairs & tyre changes during a stoppage on safety grounds, as I’ve several times pointed out. No worse than getting a free pit stop during an SC & VSC neutralization.
        Finally, red only because late-race would be overkill, so no for any standardization.

        1. @jerejj imho both the unlapping as well as the repairs under a red flag give an unfair advantage to the drivers. Not only the lapped ones, but also to the driver who is following another drive, who now doesn’t have to pass the lapped driver, who he should have under green.

          Imho a safety car should interfere as little as possible with the race itself. So if a driver has to pass a lapped driver under green, then so should it be when a safety car occurs. Without it, it gives an unfair disadvantage to the driver in front who already is disadvantaged by the safety car, as his lead is gone.

          Same goes for making repairs. If a driver has damage, under green he should come in for a pitstop to make repairs or switch tyres. So with a red flag, he should only be allowed to make repairs or switch tyres after the race is started again behind the safety car and thus loses the time he would otherwise have lost.

          So I was vehemently opposed to all these gimmicks when they were introduced years ago and still am.

          1. Davethechicken
            31st January 2022, 17:29

            Agree Silfen.
            I have disliked the SC since it was introduced in the 1990s. It is anti sporting. It removes fairly earned gains by leading drivers for the sake of entertainment.
            In my view the SC or indeed red flag restart should restore the timed gaps between cars when the incident occurred. No free SC pitstop. Calculate the timed pit lane loss plus stationary time for all those who chose to pit under SC. Use a VSC style “earliest time of arrival” on a rolling SC restart to restore the gaps.

    15. Perhaps if there is a safety car within the last 5 laps then there is just a re restart with the cars being launched individually in sequence the same gap in time behind the car in front as they were at the red flag so no one loses the time advantage they had prior to the incident. That would stop sister teams or team mates binning cars to give their favored driver an advantage at the end of a race and championship. Maybe? Too hard? Wrong?

    16. Mark in Florida
      30th January 2022, 16:34

      I only want a safety car finish if it benefits my driver______insert name, or team_____insert name.
      I only want a red flag restart if it benefits my driver______insert name, or team______insert name.
      Most people only want what benefits their driver at the time. If the roles had been reversed people would be moaning that Lewis should have had the opportunity to attack Verstappen. I just wish that the rules would be more cut and dried and not flexible depending on who is calling Masi on the radio. I find all of this lobbying tiresome and sad from any team principal. Personally I like last lap shootouts, sometimes its better watching than the whole race. Drivers will really try hard when they have a one shot opportunity.

      1. I only want a safety car finish if it benefits my driver______insert name, or team_____insert name.
        I only want a red flag restart if it benefits my driver______insert name, or team______insert name.

        Spot on.

        I also agree the lobbying shouldn’t be allowed during the race by team principles. Only one person from the team should be able to communicate with Race Control and they should speak to an intermediary during the race who can then make a decision whether to pass that information on to the Race Director. I’m not a big fan of Masi, but he should be shown support not thrown under the bus at the first opportunity.

    17. Yes, they should be allowed to finish behind a Safety Car.

      Maybe it can be ‘anticlimatic’ but I’d rather that than endure a 30-minute (or however long… could be well over an hour these days) delay while a race was red-flagged with a few laps to go, whatever was causing the SC was cleared, then a standing start, for the sake of two laps of artificially close racing.

      1. I’d say if a red flag came out in the last few laps (say the last 2.5/5% of the race) the race should just be declared there and then as more then enough of the race has been completed to warrant full points.

        1. That’s what used to happen. That’s why Baku was such a surprise to me!

    18. Not sure if it is In Favour or Against, but my answer is “as little as possible”.
      And as an addition “executed consistently throughout the season”.

      I wouldn’t mind red flagging a race during the final 5 laps in those circumstance where a Yellow Flag doesn’t suffice.

    19. If there ules when applied properly require a safety car procedure and if that then means the race ends under a safety car then so be it. Ad hoc changes to the rule to improve the ‘show’ must be immaterial.

      I am still surprised that he end of the last race was not one of the scenarios studied by the stewards and the Race Director before the race and a response was not already planned.

      Whatever the rules are they must be applied to be fair so all teams know what is going to happen. Mercedes in Abu Dhabi assumed they would be applied and so left Hamilton out. If they knew Masi would do what he did they would have brought him in as RB did Verstappen. The same consideration caught other teams out too, not only Mercedes. And that is why the decisions by Masi were unfair and unacceptable.

      We cannot have good racing without regulations applied consistently and appropriately.

    20. Question… why should the safety car even be allowed to hinder a race? What is so hard about maintaining the time gap between races cars at the point the safety car is called?

      I’m not sure why a safety car incident should take away from the advantage any racer has already built over their opponents?

      Thanks for clarifying!

      1. The advantage of a SC is the fact the drivers are bunched up. Forming a row of cars and leaving a lot of the track empty so the stewards can safely clean until the SC passes again.
        A VSC decreases the speed but the entire track still is full of cars so cleaning is almost impossible to do safely.

        1. Thanks for this, appreciated, I get that part, the question I have is why after a safety car has done it’s job, you can’t (for example) stop the cars in the pit and release them in time gap from when the safety car was deployed. Eg car 1 was 15 seconds ahead of car 2 when safety cart was deployed. Then car 1 gets released from pits, 15 seconds later car 2 gets released.

          Does that make sense? That seems to be very fair, if car 1 has created a 15 second advantage, why lose it?

          1. 2 reasons, Charlie.
            Firstly, it’s difficult to be accurate, and if it’s not accurate it’s not ‘fair.’ It’s also bound to go wrong, and cause controversy all of its own. Add to that practical and logistical challenges of getting started again (cold tyres, pit lane exits, restarting mechanism/system, cars side-by-side, etc etc).
            And secondly – it’s just not very entertaining. 15 second advantages are dull. The point of the SC is to bunch the pack up, and so that’s the way the race is restarted.

            F1 is a positional style of racing, not a time trial. Positions and order are far more important than time gaps in the race.
            They don’t line the cars up for the race start based exactly on their qualifying times either – they only have positional reference. If the pole sitter set a lap time 3 seconds faster than second place, they still only start with the same gap as if they’d qualified 1/100th of a second apart.

            1. Davethechicken
              31st January 2022, 17:34

              In early days of the SC I would have agreed, S. But now with the use of “earliest time of arrival” for VSC, it would be a simple extension to do the same on a full SC or indeed rolling red flag restart and restore the gaps. Of course an arbitrary time to calculate the gaps between cars would be needed but with live timings running to thousandths of seconds this is hardly insurmountable.

          2. Davethechicken
            31st January 2022, 17:42

            I agree Charlie. It is fundamentally unfair to build up a lead and have it artificially nullified. I remember before the SC was introduced in the early 90s and it has been a bug bearer since. At the time. It was disliked (but had a precedent in oval racing in the US I think)
            We have seen both Max and Lewis wronged by the current system last season. VSC style “earliest time of arrival” to restore the pre incident gaps would get my vote!

            1. Thanks for the comments all. I do get the point about not very entertaining about a 15 second gap – though totally refute that as a “fair” reason to not maintain if a SC is deployed.

              My leaning is towards if you build a lead, the sport should seek to keep the lead if technologically feasible (eg VSC)

    21. I don’t care much about this “issue” (safety car is a safety car, I don’t see why would it affect the race any more in last than, say, 22nd lap). What I have a huge (and that’s an understatement) problem with is free pit stop under red flags. Safety car exists because it’s a necessity, not for entertainment, free pit stop under red flag serves no purpose whatsoever, and it spoiled a few races so far. It doesn’t even add the “entertainment” factor like (un)lucky safety car can.

      1. I think it was brought in for safety reasons initially. In the same way as closing the pits under the SC led to some unsafe situations or drivers having to retire, there were situations where cars could end up being sent out after the red flags in an unsafe state. So, it was decreed that everyone should be allowed to change tyres and work on the car so that they were made safe for the restart.

        Both of these often lead to some gaining an advantage from them and others losing out, but banning them is likely to lead to reduced safety, which is what both red flags and safety car are supposed to be about.

        I don’t think there is a fair way to deal with any of these issues, to be honest, except for adopting a set of rules and sticking to them, whatever they are, first race or last, first lap or last.

      2. @Dex What about getting a free pit stop during SC & VSC neutralization?
        Same thing or impact, yet people only complain about red-flag stoppages, so slightly hypocritical.
        @drmouse – I agree. Safety shouldn’t get sacrificed for anything.

        1. Pit stops under SC/VSC aren’t ‘free’ @jerejj. They just come at a reduced cost compared with a green flag stop.
          Red flag wheel/tyre and like-for-like bodywork changes are absolutely free, without any relative time or track position cost whatsoever.

          1. That’s true enough, pit stops under the SC/VSC do have a cost. However, given that at most races everyone has to do the same number of stops, as soon as someone is able to do one under the SC/VSC they get a free 10s-ish advantage. Tyres/repairs under the red flag may give more for “free”, but the principal is very similar.

            If we are going to try to even these out, we need to do something for both. Just banning them is overkill, IMHO, but I would suggest something along the lines of:
            – Stops under the SC/VSC get a 10s delay to roughly bring them into line with full speed stops
            – Just a tyre change under red flags give you a 25s penalty, applied based on your position when the track stopped being green (red flag thrown or SC/VSC called before that which led into the red flag), so you are moved backwards to roughly where you would have been had you pitted at full speed just before the track stopped being green.
            – Any other work on the car under red flags, you must start from the back

            I would also add in there releasing the cars at intervals similar to their gaps on track before the SC/RF, so that nobody is unfairly disadvantaged, but that would get very complicated.

            TBH I am not sure any these are actually necessary, but if we are going to try to “fix” them these seem about right for relatively simple but reasonably fair fixes.

            1. However, given that at most races everyone has to do the same number of stops, as soon as someone is able to do one under the SC/VSC they get a free 10s-ish advantage.

              Yeah. Strategy is wonderful, isn’t it? :) @drmouse.
              They’ve all got the option to run long just in case of such an event, but it won’t always work for them.

              Personally, I put Red Flag suspensions in a different category altogether. The race is completely stopped, so you shouldn’t be getting anything for free – unless it is specifically called for by Race Control for a specific reason (such as in Baku).
              You say banning work under red flags is overkill, I say it makes perfect sense. They can do whatever work they want to do when the race resumes, under competitive conditions.
              Timed releases on the restart are an awful idea to me, to be honest, and prone to controversy and ultimate failure.
              And adding time in the same manner as current time penalties…? Well, nobody actually likes those affecting the results, do they. The solution is to avoid the problem in the first place, not just stick a band-aid on it later.
              This is what F1 always does, and is exactly why it’s in the state that it is. No problem is ever solved properly.

            2. You say banning work under red flags is overkill, I say it makes perfect sense. They can do whatever work they want to do when the race resumes, under competitive conditions.

              Which will lead to teams either sending cars out in a potentially-unsafe state, or more retirements. Remember that a stop immediately after a red flag (or safety car) is much more expensive than a stop under normal competitive conditions, so work which a team may have done outside a SC/suspension would mean there was no point sending the car back out if it must be done afterwards. You just reverse the situation by banning work under red flags: instead of making it vastly cheaper for them to do the work, you make it a lot more expensive.

              Personally, I think the rules we currently have work fairly well in most cases. I think I would probably consider limiting the amount of work which could be done under a stoppage to, say, tyres and front wings, and give time penalties for anything more (added at the next stop or end of the race, as a normal time penalty), but anything else is overkill IMHO.

              And adding time in the same manner as current time penalties…? Well, nobody actually likes those affecting the results, do they.

              I don’t mind them. I’d prefer it if we didn’t need any penalties at all and everything could be solved, within a fair framework of rules, on the track, but sometimes a penalty is called for to stop someone gaining an unfair advantage. Personally, I would like to see a “long lap” like in MotoGP, as it would be far less likely to leave time penalties to be added on at the end of the race, and effects would be immediately visible on track, but time penalties work fairly well for me.

              The solution is to avoid the problem in the first place, not just stick a band-aid on it later.
              This is what F1 always does, and is exactly why it’s in the state that it is. No problem is ever solved properly.

              If we are going to try to “solve” this problem, just outright banning work under red flags is IMHO a knee jerk reaction. We need to sit down and work out, in a considered manner, the best way forward, considering all the consequences. Otherwise, I would say to your proposal that “This is what F1 always does, and is exactly why it’s in the state that it is. No problem is ever solved properly.”

            3. Which will lead to teams either sending cars out in a potentially-unsafe state, or more retirements.

              The teams are still always required to have a mechanically safe car and technically legal on the track @drmouse.
              If you mean tyres – then that’s their choice. If it’s due to widespread concern for failures due to debris, then the Race Director would order all teams to change tyres – but they should only do so under that direct order, IMO. That was part of the motivation behind the Baku race finish.
              And retirements are totally OK. That’s sport. If they couldn’t or wouldn’t repair a car under competitive conditions, they shouldn’t be able to repair it for free either. They don’t pull cars out of the gravel and put them back on the track during red flags either.
              What has all this increased reliability and lack of retirements done for F1? Taken away most of the unknowns of each race, sadly. Fastest cars usually win, because they have so few potential issues to deal with.

              If we are going to try to “solve” this problem, just outright banning work under red flags is IMHO a knee jerk reaction.

              It might seem like one the first time you hear it, but not when you think about it for a while. Like a decade or two…
              If I said “DRS” and “Dirty Air” would you say that they’ve come to decent solutions to those issues? Or just band-aids and distractions that create their own secondary issues? Which then need their own ‘solutions’ of course.
              How confident are you that this year’s cars (after multiple years of designs, CAD/CFD simulation, physical prototypes and wind tunnel tests) will meet their turbulence and racing performance targets?

              I personally don’t trust F1 to make a proper solution to any problem when they have so many conflicting goals. And so many conflicting stakeholders…
              And considering that they haven’t even expressed any concern for the current red flag rules – I can’t see this changing any time soon anyway.

            4. Please note that I am not saying we shouldn’t ban work under the red flags, but that we need to be careful and analyse all the consequences of that, as well as the reasons why.

              That said, the last thing I want is yet another “special case” where some official can decide on yet another variation, completely on their own judgement and completely subjective, whether something can happen or not. That will just lead to another controversy: One driver is out on very old tyres, one has just pitted, very few laps left, an unclear situation as to whether the amount of debris warrants a tyre change, and the race director’s decision effectively decides the result. We need less of these kind of completely unpredictable rules, not more (IMHO).

    22. I picked slightly agree, but I’ve never liked finishes behind a safety car… It’s just the history of the sport and how it has been in the past that made me choose that option. And while I enjoyed the red flag restart in Baku, I’m not sure that should be used at every race and the Abu Dhabi finale definitely didn’t fit the criteria for one (even if certain fans believe it was the correct option).

    23. I’m going undercurrent with this, was between the 24% who strongly disagree.

      1. Nah, that’s the wrong word, but in the minority in any case.

    24. I think it’s not only about ending a race under yellow.
      With safety becoming more and more important, the safety cars tends to apear far more frequently and stays out longer than it did in the past. Also, we have a lot more street tracks nowadays that provoke even more incidents. So, I think it’s legitimate to think about how to keep the spectators entertained.

      My suggestions would be two changes.
      Firstly: Keep the safety car periods shorter. Do not let the lapped cars passed. There’s no need for it, the leader is already punished enough by his gap being nullified. (Or at least let them drop behind the whole pack instead of catching it.)

      Secondly: Use more red flags followed by a rolling start. It has pretty much the same effect as a safety car but doesn’t take away racing laps. I understand that the line between show and a legitimate way to increase the entertainment is very fine so maybe you should implement some kind of a cut off.
      After let’s say 90 % of the race no more red flags. Either you finish behind the SC or hope that the hazard will be cleared quickly enough.

      1. @roadrunner I can’t quite tell whether you’re serious or sarcastic.

    25. i think if there is a safety car with less than 10 laps remaining the race should be stopped and do another race start after cleaning everything.

    26. No, extend the race if need be so there is at least 1 green flag lap before the chequered flag.

      1. That’s going to end up with cars running out of fuel or being disqualified for not having enough for a sample, or possibly even other failures (eg tyres). The cars are set up for a specific race distance.

    27. How about this?
      Laps under a safety car shouldn’t even count as race laps. Why why should they if there is no race in that time?
      If not for the whole race, then maybe at least for the last 3 laps of so those laps shouldn’t be lost to a safety car.
      The last 3 laps should always be raced. The cars would simply need to have a couple of laps worth more fuel.

      1. @amian That would unnecessarily increase over race distance & consequently risk drivers running out of fuel, so impractical. Races are set for a given distance & have to end eventually anyway.

    28. I forgot that i follow f1 for racing, reading all the comments here and seeing the voting that most of the people agree for races to finish under safety car. For a moment i thought i watch something online in lower categories.
      What will be the next low for f1? Springlers? Fan push button?

      1. I suspect that’s a result of the question. Should races be allowed to finish under safety car? Sure, scenarios pop up where that’s needed. Is it ideal for races to finish under safety car? Of course not.

    29. so the choice is:
      Spa 2021 a race behind the SC
      or Abu Dhabi 2021 a race ending green.

      No brainer for a motorsports fan.

      1. That’s not the choice at all.

        Spa 2021 was a special case. There was torrential rain for the entirety of the time when the race could have occurred. With the cars as they are and the weather as it was, there was no way for them to safely go racing. Unfortunately, this will occasionally happen, though it is extremely rare. That said, I don’t think it should count as a race, no points should be awarded without a green lap (in fact, without a decent number of green laps), and the spectators should be refunded in such exceptional circumstances (and the track refunded by F1).

        I’m not going to debate AD again with you, though. Let’s just say that our opinions are never going to coincide on that and leave it there.

        1. Spa 2021 was a special case.

          And Abu Dhabi wasn’t?
          2 drivers, from different teams, equal in championship points and battling each other on track – winner takes all in the final race. And then a crash with 5 laps remaining….
          While some may label those circumstances as more entertainment than sporting, they are still real and extremely desirable factors for F1 as a commercial business and marketplace.
          That’s the reality of it, @drmouse

          1. Yes, it was a special case, where (just as Spa) the rules should have been applied the same way as everywhere else. Just because the race at AD was a championship finale shouldn’t mean that different rules apply, nor should they have at Spa or anywhere else.

            Now, if they really want a finale to be treated differently, they need to change the rules to say so. However, the last time that happened, when double points were awarded, most people were up in arms.

            This also flies completely in the face of all the arguments of “the championship is won over the whole season”. If so, then all season must be treated the same. Just because it is the championship-deciding finale of a close season should not make any difference to the way the race is run. In any previous race, it is unlikely that the RD would have made up new rules to clear a few lapped cars out of the way of one, and only one, car for one “exciting” green lap. By changing the rules and procedures for that finale, the race director made it different, and likely changed the result of the championship in doing so.

            1. This also flies completely in the face of all the arguments of “the championship is won over the whole season”.

              It doesn’t. It just happened that the two championship contenders began the final race on equal points. If this or any race prior had turned out differently, so would the result of the championship.
              That sounds like a whole season to me.

              If so, then all season must be treated the same.

              It was. The FIA managed each race according to the actions and circumstances at each event, in accordance with their own (agreed) interpretations of their own rules.
              As far as I can remember, no two races were completely identical, except for the FIA’s decision-making. They were all quite unique, and so the administration reflected that…

              In any previous race, it is unlikely that the RD would have made up new rules to clear a few lapped cars out of the way of one, and only one, car for one “exciting” green lap.

              Impossible to know, as a similar opportunity didn’t arise at any other event during the season.

              By changing the rules and procedures for that finale, the race director made it different, and likely changed the result of the championship in doing so.

              The interpretation and consequent application may have changed, but not the rules themselves. The same thing happens every time the stewards need to judge an incident. Like in Brazil, for example.
              And the Race Director didn’t do anything to the results. The circumstances created a situation where the SC was needed, and the opportunity was present to race to the finish.
              The result was entirely in the hands of the competitors – exactly where it should be. They raced for it, but only one could win.

    30. It’s really quite simple.
      If the conditions are unsafe, then the race has to end under yellow. Bear in mind that this has been a rare occurrence in many forms of motor racing and there’s no need to try and change rules just to ensure one finishes under green.

      The only time I’d suggest that there be any review to that would be if it became clear that teams were trying to manipulate race ends by having a driver bin it with (say) 5 laps to go to protect a leading driver from being chased down by a car with a clear pace advantage although that should end up with a pretty easy DQ should it be proved.

      There is no place in sport for artificially trying to engineer a big finish – if there’s an incident late that requires a safety car, so be it. It happens (rarely) and there’s no reason at all to try and change that.

    31. We could always go back to the 60s and 70s mentality that the race must go on? Spain 1970 anyone…?

    32. In my opinion, If there is an incident that at any time of the race requires a Safety Car within the last 5 or so laps of the race, there should be a “safety car red flag” which means that all drivers return to the pits, drivers are not allowed to change tyres, and when the track is safe again the drivers leave the pits and resume under the safety car before a rolling start at the start of the next lap. Any drivers that need to change tyres are given a 20s penalty (about pit delta time) that relegates them to the position they would have if the penalty was applied when the red flag was called, however this would only be with permission from the FIA.

      For example in Abu Dhabi under these rules, Latifi crashes on lap 53, and a “safety car red flag” is called. The cars line up in the pits in the order they were in, no one changes tyres and then they leave the pits behind the safety car when safe and all lapped cars unlap themselves before racing resumes the next lap with a rolling start.

      In this way the race is stopped and we lose minimal laps near the end of the race and its basically just a safety cars with the normal laps circulating in the middle of it cut out and the race resumed as is, without the need to add “overtime” laps which imo is artificial and would just create fuel issues.

      1. @milesy-jam A standardized red for late-race incidents would be overkill.

        1. @jerejj I agree, it would, but it would certainly be far more acceptable than allowing the RD to just make up new rules every time to satisfy an informal agreement. If they want to avoid finishing under SC conditions at all costs, then there needs to be a standardised and predictable way of doing so, not an ad-hoc procedure pulled out of the RD’s backside on the spur of the moment.

    33. Choose a policy, write it in the rules, make sure everyone knows the policy, then do that and only that.

    34. Strongly disagree with that and also something F1 agreed on (onoffical) but they could ignore problems if the race ends under SC to add 1 lap without a SC and we don’t have this problem anymore. (Maybe conditions like a hurricane/pourdown like SPA should just cancelled)
      So there is a garanted race end and not behind a safetycar.

      1. @macleod Adding an extra lap would be impractical, so easier said than done.
        Race distances are fixed, so a sudden increment would risk fuel shortage & or failure to meet the 1L sample requirement. Long story short, unintended consequences would arise.

        1. Extra lap behind a safetycar should enough for 1 lap extra but if everyone knew this they would plan for race +1 is very easy….

          1. But then most would see that the chance of a safety car right at the end was highly unlikely, so would not add any extra fuel and would run out if it did happen. Every extra kilo of fuel makes the car slower, so if 90+% of races do not need it, they will not purposely reduce their car performance.

            1. Then if it did happen, they wouldn’t even finish the race @drmouse.
              They’d look properly silly, wouldn’t they – and would only have themselves to blame.

            2. They may look silly on that very rare occasion where it happens (only 9 F1 races have ever finished behind the safety car in nearly 30 years), but they will look silly on all the others if they put in more fuel than they need and hamper their own performance, where a competitor doesn’t and beats them because of it. It is highly unlikely that the loss of performance, and therefore points, over other races will be made up by that very rare occasion where the race is extended, and it’s more likely to make the sport look silly when half, or more, of the field run out of fuel because the race length is extended (or are DSQ’ed due to not having enough fuel for a sample).

              The only way I can really see this being viable would be to increase the “sample size” which must be provided at the end of every race, but reduce it if “extra time” is added, to ensure that everyone has the extra fuel and nobody can gain an advantage on the >98% of races where it is not needed.

        2. Provided the teams knew prior that the race could be extended in such circumstances, then they’d run fuel and tyre strategies accordingly @jerejj.
          It’s rare that NASCAR races have cars running out of fuel in overtime, for example. They understand it’s a possibility, they save fuel when they can, and they manage it.
          Not a problem at all.

          F1 teams are doing this exact fuel management all the time anyway. They know exactly how much fuel they want in the car for a given strategy, start the race with that quantity of fuel in the car, then manage how hard to push and when, and when to back off and conserve in order to make it to the finish with the required sample remaining and as little extra as possible.

          1. F1 teams are doing this exact fuel management all the time anyway.

            There are few situations near the end of a grand prix which can result in them needing more fuel than racing normally to race distance. Most situations which can occur result in them needing less fuel, so they generally underfuel and then save at some parts of the race where needed.

            This would require them to put in more fuel than they need for more than 98% of races.

            I am guessing that (what would otherwise be) safety car finishes occur more often in IndyCar than 2% of the time, i.e. more than about once every 4 years, as it is in F1….

            1. There are few situations near the end of a grand prix which can result in them needing more fuel than racing normally to race distance. Most situations which can occur result in them needing less fuel, so they generally underfuel and then save at some parts of the race where needed.

              Depends on how the race matches up with their strategic predictions.
              Choosing to underfuel is exactly that – a choice. If they choose not to be prepared for that eventuality, then they wear the consequences. Regardless of how rarely that situation may arise.
              I don’t see why the rules should eliminate the possibility of teams simply getting it wrong through mismanagement.

              But anyway – this is all hypothetical and, in reality, won’t ever happen in F1.

    35. The safety car exists for a reason. If it needs to be out, it needs to be out– or it shouldn’t have been deployed. Same with the Virtual Safety Car– if there’s a need (and I’m OK with it as a stop-gap between double-yellows and full safety car), then there’s a need, and if that means the race ends under a safety car, that’s part of racing– Accidents happen.

      But there needs to be clear guidelines for how and when to deploy the VSC, the full safety car, and how, and when, to end those safety measures. Every team needs to understand as soon as either the VSC or the Safety Car is deployed, what’s going to happen, and roughly, how long it’s going to take.

      Fortunately, those rules exist. Unfortunately, the stewards’ decision from Abu Dhabi, rendered them completely meaningless.

      I’ve argued for years that the obsession with making the cars “more difficult to drive”, and to remove any form of safety net for the drivers, would eventually result in another F1 driver dying. As far as I’m concerned, that prediction came true in Japan in 2014 (even a mild form of active suspension allowing a “rain mode” would have kept him on the track).

      Weakening the Safety Car for the sake of “the show” is dangerous, and a bad precedent to set. If the race can’t be extended due to the lack of refueling (an option in IndyCar), then yes, races can, and should, continue to end under yellow, double-yellow, VSC, or full safety car conditions.

      1. Every team needs to understand as soon as either the VSC or the Safety Car is deployed, what’s going to happen, and roughly, how long it’s going to take.

        Fortunately, those rules exist. Unfortunately, the stewards’ decision from Abu Dhabi, rendered them completely meaningless.

        Yup.

      2. I’ve argued for years that the obsession with making the cars “more difficult to drive”, and to remove any form of safety net for the drivers, would eventually result in another F1 driver dying.

        It wouldn’t. They’d drive the way they think is suitable, because they are racing drivers.
        Not immature children, nor suicidal or homicidal maniacs.

        As far as I’m concerned, that prediction came true in Japan in 2014 (even a mild form of active suspension allowing a “rain mode” would have kept him on the track).

        Completely disagree on several levels.
        Bianchi flew off the track because he wasn’t driving to the conditions and he ignored double-waved yellows – not because of his car or anything ‘missing’ from it. Human error, and human error alone.
        It could be argued that if he was expecting his car to magically ‘save’ him using various non-driver controlled computer inputs, then he would probably have been driving it even harder and faster – thus multiplying the consequences of when it does go wrong.
        The human driver usually cares about the safety of themselves and others – a computer does not.

        1. He was driving harder than he needed to, but so was everyone else under the VSC. The way the VSC is structured, it’s an opportunity to make up time, if you can time it right.

          But the rules then (and still) push the teams in a direction where they have to have very non-compliant suspension. The car has to remain as flat as possible for the aero to work. And in the rain, that pushes the car into a corner where it’s very easy to aquaplane, as was demonstrated by Sutil and Bianchi– in the same corner.

          The parc ferme rules require the teams to “know” what the weather will be for both qualifying, and the race, and to set up the suspension for one or the other, or a compromise for both.

          And I’m not saying we need the Williams super-dynamic suspension where you could drop a bus on one corner, and the car would remain level– I’m just saying the ability to make the suspension favor mechanical grip a bit, could have prevented Bianchi’s crash.

          And even though he was driving aggressively, it’s a bit tacky to blame the victim to the exclusion of all other considerations. :(

          1. The teams are quite welcome to make fundamentally different cars within the current rules – they’d just be a lot slower, and would never compete with the teams who do take advantage of those rules for ultimate performance.
            The teams don’t need to know the weather in advance – they just need to react accordingly if and when it arrives.

            Honestly I think it’s quite silly to blame the car, the rules, the track or even the conditions for creating an unsafe situation, when there is one person sitting in the car who has complete control over what it does and how fast it goes. It is entirely their responsibility to drive in a safe manner that does not endanger themselves or anyone else.

            Oh, and I’m not blaming the victim, I’m blaming the perpetrator. He was in control of his car – not anyone else.

    36. What is with everyone here?
      Ask a simple, straightforward question – but almost exclusively get convoluted, self-serving answers that barely address the actual question, if at all.

      Should FIA world championship races be allowed to finish under Safety Car?

      Allowed? Simply – yes.

      However, I might as well join in on complicating and personalising it like everyone else has, just to fit in… Allowed doesn’t mean encouraged, nor that it must be the default, or only, outcome all the time. It needs to be entirely dependent on the given specific conditions at the time. On a case by case basis.
      The reason this is a question at all, and the question that most people seem to be asking themselves, is whether Abu Dhabi should have finished under SC instead of restarting and finishing under green.
      To that, I say it absolutely should have finished under green, because it was safe to do so. That should always be the priority: When it’s safe to race – race.
      If the FIA must change anything because of this whole (non) issue, then it should be that the Race Director can decide whether the field needs an additional lap or not, based on the specific circumstances at the time. When there’s sufficient time, have an extra lap if desired. When there isn’t enough time or it’s not necessary, don’t. Whatever.
      His choice, because he’s the guy in charge, and that’s his job. Accept the Ref’s decision and get on with it.
      Participants have their job to do (race) and administrators have their job to do (manage the event).

      1. Allowed doesn’t mean encouraged, nor that it must be the default, or only, outcome all the time. It needs to be entirely dependent on the given specific conditions at the time. On a case by case basis.

        I strongly disagree that it should be on a “case-by-case basis” (unless I am misunderstanding your meaning). That’s one of the biggest problems we have in F1 right now, IMHO: Too much is handled on a “case-by-case basis”, leading to massive inconsistencies.

        Finishing with the safety car should be the default, in fact only, outcome if the circumstances and written procedures dictate such. If the obstruction has not been cleared by the time the SC passes the pit entry on the penultimate lap, or an SC-worthy incident happens on the final lap, then current procedures state that the race finishes under the SC and that should happen.

        The race director should attempt to restart the race if possible, but only by following the procedures laid out in the rules, not by making stuff up on the spur of the moment. Also, it should not matter if it is the first or last race of the season, nor whether the championship hangs on the result, the same procedures should be applied. I would go one step further and say that it shouldn’t matter whether it was the first or last lap of the race, either.

        1. IMHO: Too much is handled on a “case-by-case basis”, leading to massive inconsistencies.

          Should all cases be made the same, then, @drmouse?
          One type of car. One speed. One type of corner. One ‘racing line’ and nobody allowed to overtake or even get side-by-side….?
          That sounds like slot cars – not real racing cars, driven by real human beings on real racing circuits.
          Life isn’t one-size-fits-all, and neither is sport. Regulations, Race Direction and Stewarding decisions do necessarily need to reflect that, or none of it can function.

          Finishing with the safety car should be the default, in fact only, outcome if the circumstances and written procedures dictate such.

          It’s those circumstances that are variable, and therefore subjective, and that is a decision which must be made by Race Control.

          If the obstruction has not been cleared by the time the SC passes the pit entry on the penultimate lap, or an SC-worthy incident happens on the final lap, then current procedures state that the race finishes under the SC and that should happen.

          I’m not sure why you’ve used these examples, as both would finish under non-competitive conditions anyway – even using the Abu Dhabi example.

          The race director should attempt to restart the race if possible, but only by following the procedures laid out in the rules, not by making stuff up on the spur of the moment.

          The Abu Dhabi race was restarted, because it was possible.
          They just used an interpretation that we haven’t seen before. Everything has a first time. This is possibly the new norm.
          Lots of other F1 rules are creatively interpreted and selectively applied all the time, and have been for as long as I’ve been watching. That’s F1.

          I would go one step further and say that it shouldn’t matter whether it was the first or last lap of the race, either.

          Yeah, that’s fair enough. But what we want and what we get are rarely the same with F1.
          They’ve happily and repeatedly stated that the opening lap gets treated differently than others so it’s hardly surprising that the race finish is treated differently to others too.
          Honestly, I don’t think F1 could be consistent even if they wanted to. They’ve made it too complicated, and they like it that way.
          I mean, it has to be the pinnacle, right? It can’t be like other racing series.
          And so it isn’t.

          1. Should all cases be made the same, then, @drmouse?

            No, but there should be strongly defined rules which decide what is allowed when and what the penalty should be for it. We have seen this season that remarkably similar incidents in the same race have been treated completely differently. That’s what happens when you say that you are going to treat everything on a case-by-case basis. There is no way to predict how the stewards will look at any incident, because everything is on a case-by-case basis. Lewis was allowed to cut a corner at the beginning of the race because, on a case by case basis, the stewards deemed that he gave back the advantage he got, and Max was allowed to defend by running completely off the road only a couple of races previously. Most people would have predicted that those incidents would have been handled very differently, but the stewards are allowed so much leeway that nobody knows how they are going to rule anything. As a consequence, everybody calls them out for being inconsistent, no matter how they rule, because you can always point to a very similar incident which was handled completely differently.

            The Abu Dhabi race was restarted, because it was possible.
            They just used an interpretation that we haven’t seen before. Everything has a first time. This is possibly the new norm.

            The only new interpretation, based on the stewards’ conclusions, is that the race director is allowed to ignore the written procedures for the safety car and make up new ones. This necessarily includes both deploying and withdrawing the safety car and deciding which cars should be allowed to unlap themselves (even though the stewards only specifically mention that he is allowed to decide when to deploy or withdraw the SC). That’s a very big “new interpretation”, completely open to abuse and very dangerous to keep (for both sporting integrity and safety reasons, as the whole point of the safety car procedures is for safety).

            (Note that the second point in the stewards conclusion is the equivalent of saying “Although the required number of laps had not been completed, 43.2 overrides that once the chequered flag has been waved”. As written, it is not justification for the action, just an explanation that once it had been enacted it must be followed)

            As the stewards conclusions didn’t refer to Red Bull’s ridiculous any/all argument, I’m going to assume that they found that as… let’s be generous and say “tenuous”… as anyone else with a basic understanding of the English language. If not, there are likely to be vast swathes of the rules which change in meaning. For instance, 2.2 “Event means any event entered into the FIA Formula One Championship Calendar”, but not all events, so suddenly not all events are “governed by the FIA in accordance with the Regulations”. That’s ridiculous in the extreme, as it would reasonably allow the FIA or its officials to completely change any regulation by saying that a specific event is not “governed by the FIA in accordance with the Regulations”.

            Lots of other F1 rules are creatively interpreted and selectively applied all the time, and have been for as long as I’ve been watching.

            Again, I don’t think it can be said that any part of the safety car regs were “creatively interpreted and selectively applied”. They were, instead, ignored, apparently because the race director has the power to ignore the regulations around safety cars at will.

            Honestly, I don’t think F1 could be consistent even if they wanted to. They’ve made it too complicated, and they like it that way.

            I disagree that it couldn’t, even with the rules as they stand. There are hard and fast rules, the stewards and race director have just been allowed leeway in their interpretation up to now.

            I think you may be right about the fact that they “like it that way”, but there have been far more complaints about inconsistency this season than I have ever heard before in my 30ish years of following F1, and it has been turning people off on both sides of the Max/Lewis divide as well as many neutrals. Max himself has been whinging constantly that he was punished for things he didn’t think he should, and at most races this season there has been more than one driver completely befuddled by the way a call has gone. Given the negative publicity this is generating and the new President’s “rules are rules” stance, I have some (very small) hope that they will change their attitude on this in future and we will start seeing more defined and consistent application of the rules.

            1. We have seen this season that remarkably similar incidents in the same race have been treated completely differently.

              The exact same stewards, on the exact same day, for the exact same race, with the exact same interpretations of the exact same rules? But different racing incidents…
              So what do we do? Ban humans from making any decisions?
              The rules would either have to be infinitely large to cater for every scenario effectively, or we’d have terribly wrong calls being made because there aren’t enough ‘categories’ to fit each incident into. Over-simplification would be probably even worse than what we have now.

              The only new interpretation, based on the stewards’ conclusions, is that the race director is allowed to ignore the written procedures for the safety car and make up new ones.

              He didn’t. He’s allowed to Direct the Race, as per his job description and the appropriate interpretations of the FIA’s own regulations and sporting code.
              Again, if the FIA interpret their own rules a certain way, then that’s a viable interpretation. They own those rules, and they get to decide the interpretations that they use. Unpopular or disagreeable though they may be.

              Max himself has been whinging constantly

              Yep, so have Hamilton, Horner and Wolff in particular. Does that surprise you, given the context?
              Just in the final few laps of Abu Dhabi alone, all 4 had some comment analogous to being the victim of a con.
              I’ve heard more complaints about refereeing in other, far less complex, sports – and yet they don’t re-write their rules or sack people just because of some controversial calls. They (sometimes begrudgingly) accept those decisions and call game on.
              I don’t agree with a lot of F1’s calls, but I certainly respect their right to make them.

              And as with all such media-driven activities – Oscar Wilde summed it up perfectly.
              “There is only one thing in life worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about.”
              F1 is loving this.

            2. “The only new interpretation, based on the stewards’ conclusions, is that the race director is allowed to ignore the written procedures for the safety car and make up new ones.”

              He didn’t. He’s allowed to Direct the Race, as per his job description and the appropriate interpretations of the FIA’s own regulations and sporting code.

              How can you say he didn’t ignore the written procedures and make up new ones? He blatantly did, and the stewards even admitted so in their determination.

              I could break this down on a point-by-point basis, again, referencing both the regulations and the stewards’ decision, and am happy to if you wish. However, the simple matter is that the stewards stated that the regulations were not fully followed. If they were not fully followed then part of them was ignored. In this case, a procedure was implemented to allow only certain lapped cars through, too, one which is not written in the rules, therefore a brand new procedure was made up on the spot.

              Whether he had the right to do that or not, whether it was correct to do that or not, it is inescapable that he ignored the written procedures and made up new ones.

              If I didn’t fully follow a procedure at work, especially one in place for safety reasons, I would be chastised for ignoring the rules. If the person in charge of implementing those procedures did so (say, the Safety Director), they would be even more seriously reprimanded.

            3. If I didn’t fully follow a procedure at work, especially one in place for safety reasons, I would be chastised for ignoring the rules.

              Depends on if another procedure can be (legally) interpreted in such a way as to override the ‘typical’ procedure @drmouse.
              That’s what the stewards determined in Abu Dhabi.

              Call it a loophole, if you like. Whatever – for that race, it was deemed to be acceptable by those responsible the upholding and applying the rules of their own organisation.

              Have you never used a creative interpretation of any rule in any other part of your life?

            4. The SC came out for a safety issue, and went in when it was no longer unsafe.
              The SC coming in and the choice to allow only certain cars to unlap are not safety concerns.

            5. Depends on if another procedure can be (legally) interpreted in such a way as to override the ‘typical’ procedure drmouse.
              That’s what the stewards determined in Abu Dhabi.

              The stewards’ conclusion on that matter effectively states that, once the message was sent out, there was no choice but to bring it in, not that it was a legitimate choice in itself without the 15.3 “god rule”.

              This would be similar to if he had ordered the chequered flag to be waved a lap early, and the stewards said that “while the required number of laps was not completed, rule 43.2 overrides this, so the race was completed a lap early”. That, in itself, does not make it right that the race director ordered such a thing to happen, but it does mean that procedure must be followed from that point onwards and the race result taken a lap early. Without some other rule to give the power to the race director to call for the flag to be waved early, he would still have broken the rules.

              Even putting this aside, there is no legitimate interpretation of the written procedure which would allow only a limited number of lapped cars to even begin to unlap themselves. The procedure is very clear that the specific messaging must be sent to all competitors (which I don’t believe was actually sent as written, and have seen no evidence at all that it was), and nobody with even a basic understanding of the English language would seriously consider the “any does not mean all” argument to be even remotely legitimate (hence why the stewards completely ignored it in their conclusions, even though it was included as part of Red Bull’s submission). Therefore, one of the main conditions of the safety car unlapping procedure was not fulfilled, so a new procedure must have been made up (using 15.3) because he didn’t meet the requirements of the written procedure.

              The entirety of the stewards’ decision hands on the 15.3 “god rule” interpretation. Without that, none of their conclusions justify Masi’s decision as legal within the rules. It says that, because of 15.3, he was entitled to trigger the withdrawal of the SC early, which would not have been allowed without. Their decision also means that 15.3 gives him the power to order specific cars to unlap themselves, because no other part of the rules allows that. All of which means, as I said before, that he ignored the written procedures and made up new ones, not that he interpreted those written procedures in a new way.

            6. You call it a ‘god rule’ – I (and the FIA) call it an interpretation of the written regulations @drmouse.
              Through that interpretation, the Race Director does have the power to override certain other regs.
              Whatever. You have your opinion on it and I’ll have mine.

              I’ll also maintain my opinion that somebody (let’s call them a Race Director, just for argument’s sake) should always have the authority to override certain regs if the situation is deemed appropriate to do so.
              If it’s safe to finish a race under green conditions by not doing an extra lap or pulling all lapped cars out of the train, then that should be the acceptable – even if it means bypassing some convoluted red tape to do it.
              Provided the Race Director remains impartial, there is no major problem.
              This IS a racing series, and it’s made for audiences – and most of the audience wants to see racing.

            7. You call it a ‘god rule’ – I (and the FIA) call it an interpretation of the written regulations drmouse.
              Through that interpretation, the Race Director does have the power to override certain other regs.
              Whatever. You have your opinion on it and I’ll have mine.

              I agree, that is an interpretation of the written regulations. I have never said otherwise. I disagree that it is the right interpretation, and I certainly believe it should be changed now that it has been shown to be how it is interpreted as it is wide open to abuse, but you are correct that that is an interpretation.

              That doesn’t mean that he didn’t ignore parts of the written procedures and make up new ones. Just that, by that interpretation, he has the power to do so, even where it is not necessary to do so.

              If it’s safe to finish a race under green conditions by not doing an extra lap or pulling all lapped cars out of the train, then that should be the acceptable – even if it means bypassing some convoluted red tape to do it.

              It was already safe to finish the race under green conditions without having to ignore the written procedures. This is the problem. There was no need whatsoever to make up new procedures on the spot, which makes his actions an abuse of power (IMHO). Following the written and precedented procedures would have allowed a finish under green conditions, but instead he made up a new procedure which handed a massive advantage to one car, and only one car, compared to every written procedure available. I can’t understand how you cannot see how damaging it is to the sport’s image that an official is allowed to “play god” like this, ignoring the written rules which have always applied in the past and making up something brand new on the spot which is completely prejudicial.

              Provided the Race Director remains impartial, there is no major problem.

              Even if the Race Director remains impartial with respect to the competitors, there is still a major problem in my view (and that of many others). Nobody, from this point on, can rely on the safety car procedures being followed, as it has been confirmed that he can ignore them.

              This IS a racing series, and it’s made for audiences – and most of the audience wants to see racing.

              I look forward to seeing your reaction if the safety car is deployed without need purely to bunch everyone up when your favoured driver is out in front so that the audience can see racing. I’m sure you’ll be completely fine with it should it happen, because that’s what the rulebook allows and it will be “made for audiences”. It wouldn’t be fair racing, but it would be racing, and that’s all that matters, right?

            8. I can’t understand how you cannot see how damaging it is to the sport’s image that an official is allowed to “play god” like this,

              I can’t understand how you can’t see that it is the FIA who decides how to run F1, @drmouse. It’s theirs to choose.
              What if the owner of the business you shop at, or possibly even work for, decided to change something? Anything at all, for whatever reason they deem necessary?
              Do you tell them they can’t do that? It upsets you and it isn’t fair? That you’ll get the union to pressure them and lobby to remove their authority or have them removed from their own business completely?

              Masi is the FIA Race Director, and he is entrusted with the power and authority to make those decisions in F1. FIA’s choice.

              Nobody, from this point on, can rely on the safety car procedures being followed, as it has been confirmed that he can ignore them.

              The vast majority of the time, nothing would change. Abu Dhabi presented a very specific and unusual set of circumstances. This interpretation does not open any floodgates for an anarchistic free-for-all, quite simply because nobody wants F1 to be like that.
              And anyway – as long as it applies to all competitors, it remains fair in a sporting context.

              I look forward to seeing your reaction if the safety car is deployed without need purely to bunch everyone up

              I would love to see that, because I know it will not happen.
              In the hypothetical event that it did – it wouldn’t bother me in that way as I don’t have a favourite competitor. I want to see a good race – a competition where I can’t predict what will happen next – and I don’t care who wins or loses.
              I’m watching to be entertained – F1 should do it’s best to capture my attention for those 2 hours on a Sunday.
              If it can’t do that or provide satisfaction, why would I want to watch it next time?

            9. I can’t understand how you can’t see that it is the FIA who decides how to run F1, @drmouse. It’s theirs to choose.

              Of course I see that. They are free to do what they want with it. That doesn’t mean I have to agree with it, like it, or continue watching, or spending money on it. Nor does it mean I have to keep quiet, or accept it and move on.

              Ultimately, if the FIA choose to transform F1, a sport I have poured a vast amount of my life into, into something I can no longer enjoy, they are free to do so.

              I want to see a good race – a competition where I can’t predict what will happen next – and I don’t care who wins or loses.

              Why not just roll a dice, then?

              I want to see a good race, too. I like not being able to predict what will happen next, but that should not apply to the officials. If the competitors do something, you should be able to predict reasonably accurately what the officials will do in response to that.

              If you are that interested in unpredictability, maybe the officials should just flip a coin on every incident to determine who gets a penalty? Randomise the grid? Add sprinklers on a randomised timer? Start handing out blue shells? Force every driver when they pit to wait in their box until they manage to roll a double six? Surely, these would be entertaining, and you certainly wouldn’t be able to predict what would happen next!

              F1 should do it’s best to capture my attention for those 2 hours on a Sunday.
              If it can’t do that or provide satisfaction, why would I want to watch it next time?

              I guess it depends on what you find entertaining. WWE “does it’s best to capture the viewers’ attention for” the time it is on, but that isn’t for me. What I find entertaining is a fair race, with officials applying the rules as written (not making up new ones whenever they feel like it) and the drivers racing under those rules (and penalised preidicably when they are not). The drivers and teams introduce plenty of unpredictability in their actions for me, I don’t need the officials artificially increasing that. I don’t include in this watching a race where rules say that the officials are allowed to ignore the rules and make up new ones whenever they feel like it, which is the kind of farce F1 has been shown to be now.

            10. Randomise the grid? Add sprinklers on a randomised timer?

              They’d both be great. :)
              I’ll bet you would watch it too, right?

              The drivers and teams introduce plenty of unpredictability in their actions for me

              I think the complete opposite is true in F1. They plan, simulate and predict almost everything in advance to minimise any chance of stepping into the unknown. They are constantly drawing and analysing massive amounts of data from the cars in order to perfect every little detail all the time, leaving almost nothing for the human element, or the basic element of chance. They rarely need to be reactive to anything substantial – because they already know it. It’s in the data, and/or in the plan.

              I find car racing entertaining. Not chess. Not car parades where everyone is spread out evenly around the circuit. Not legal battles and tantrums and childish petulance when someone loses or doesn’t get what they want. Action, racing, competition, battles, rivalries, excitement, controversy…. Memorable highlights and stuff that makes you want more.

              F1’s always been a farce, for different reasons.
              I haven’t taken it seriously since I learned that the teams could all go off and spend as much money as they wanted. Teams at the back scraping up maybe a few $Million and not even paying themselves personally, while the teams at the front drop half a $Billion and additionally make themselves personal millionaires out of it. And have more power of the rules and get more money back out of the system. What sort of fair and genuine sporting competition is that?
              And then there’s the internal politics….. I won’t even go there.

            11. If that’s what you enjoy, or sounds like F1 racing heading away from being a sporting competition and towards being a gameshow (or real world Mario Kart) is exactly what you want. If it does continue on this path, good luck to you and I hope you enjoy it, but it isn’t what I want and I would be out.

      2. @S Race distances are fixed, so an extra lap would risk running out of fuel.
        Increasing overall distance (suddenly) would be impractical.

        1. But not if they knew that it was possible before the race started, @jerejj.
          No different than knowing that it currently always finishes at ~305km. They plan for it, and alter their strategy as it progresses.
          They don’t end SC affected races with 40L still in the tank…. They burn it because they’ve got it – and the same would apply in reverse. They’d always be saving a bit for a possible extension.

          1. But what if one additional lap is not enough? Should the RD be allowed to add another, and then another?

            If there was a limit on the number of additional laps, there would still be a chance of finishing under the safety car. If there wasn’t, then the teams would have to potentially account for a large number of extra laps.

            Also, if it is left to the teams, they would judge the chances of this happening to be very small, and few would add much (if any) extra fuel to compensate. This would lead to the farcical situation of several competitors parking their cars to ensure they still had enough fuel for a sample to avoid DSQ, or even running out of fuel on track.

            It isn’t even as though they could just save the fuel through the race, as you have no idea until the very end whether it is going to be needed. This means they would necessarily need to end most races with at least a few laps worth of fuel still in the tank (over the required sample amount), which means they would have been carrying around unnecessary weight for the whole of the vast majority of races… Few teams are going to do that!

            1. But what if one additional lap is not enough? Should the RD be allowed to add another, and then another?

              How many laps do you think there could ever need to be @drmouse?
              I can’t see why they’d ever need to do more than one. If a crash is big enough to require multiple laps worth of cleanup that close to the end, they’d probably need to red flag it anyway.

              This would lead to the farcical situation of several competitors parking their cars to ensure they still had enough fuel for a sample to avoid DSQ, or even running out of fuel on track.

              They’d only do it once, and they’d learn from it.

              It isn’t even as though they could just save the fuel through the race, as you have no idea until the very end whether it is going to be needed.

              Precisely! That’s called strategy.

              This means they would necessarily need to end most races with at least a few laps worth of fuel still in the tank (over the required sample amount), which means they would have been carrying around unnecessary weight for the whole of the vast majority of races… Few teams are going to do that!

              Yes! Choices! That’s what we want.
              They’ll always do what they think is best.

    37. So we have the Brawn Sprint, the Brawn FLAP and the Brawn Finish. Going forward gimmicks should be know as “Brawns” and anyone who introduces a new one will “have done a Brawn”.

    38. Whether a race would finish under a safety car or not should not ever come into the decision of whether a red flag should be used or not. If a race will finish under a safety car then tough. If you throw a red flag after 3/4 distance it should be the result, not reset all the advantages drivers have won by racing hard in that race and turn it into a sprint. It’s just stupid.

      Likewise if you want to change tyres under a red flag then you have to either keep the same compound or get a drive through penalty for when the race resumes if you change compound. There has to be some penalty for mandatory pitstops when others have paid a lot more in time in their race.

      Going back to the point in hand, very rarely have safety cars finished the race anyway so why is suddenly a big issue that changes need to be made just because somebody decided to make a new interpretation of a long understood rule.

      1. @slowmo, I agree with you on points 1 & 3, but not 2.
        If one should get penalized for a free pit stop during red-flag stoppage, the same should equally apply for SC & VSC neutralizations, as getting a free pit stop during those isn’t any different.

        1. @jerejj the people that usually benefit from a red flag are those running one stoppers in particular and this will usually benefit those outside the top 10 from qualifying who already have an unfair advantage of starting on their choice of new tyres. Pitting under a safety car is not a free stop. It might save you 10 seconds but it usually always costs you some time depending on where you pickup the safety car. As such I don’t mind the odd person benefitting from it but when a red flag is thrown, usually half the field end up benefitting to the detriment of those who qualified and raced stronger over the weekend.

          I guess my point is a safety car stop is usually cheaper than at race pace but it’s never free of a time penalty. This was demonstrated in the last race where Hamilton couldn’t stop under the safety car otherwise he’d have fallen behind Verstappen on track.

          1. @slowmo Yes, perhaps those on a one-stopper & or non-Q3 qualifiers more likely benefit, although from this year everyone can always choose their starting tyres, so at least this factor has gone away.

    39. There wouldn’t be an issue if Masi had stuck to the regulations. He could have let all the lapped cars through and allowed the Abu Dhabi race to finish under a SC, he could have left the cars in the order they were and let the race proceed from there for a couple of laps, or he could have red flagged it. Instead we got the ‘dog’s dinner’ version. There is no perfect solution. However, teams and drivers are entitled to expect the regulations to be observed – so they can decide their responses to a SC accordingly – and intervening to make up the rules knowingly allowing one driver in particular a huge benefit (and let’s remember the intervention was made for us to see the MV-LH race solely) is simply a big no no. In other words, change the race director who failed to observe the rules, not the rules.

      1. @david-br I agree. The simplest & fairest solution would’ve been starting the final lap with all lapped drivers still in the mix, i.e., do nothing.

    40. There shouldn’t be a difference in how races finish, be it the first race or the last race with 2 people tied for the championship. SC is about safety. Either wave the red flag and stop the laps, put the cars in order and resume when safe or finish under yellow.

    41. I’d prefer a red flag instead of a yellow when the yellow is expected to last several laps, 3+ maybe. An intermediate red (orange?) where repairs and tire changes not necessitated by safety concerns would not be allowed.
      But this shouldn’t be just for race finishes. I get frustrated when Brend Mayländer leads so many laps in a season.
      Also, that’s way too complex to regulate. So forget it!
      And extra laps to extend a race aren’t practical with limited fuel.

    42. No race should ever be finished behind the safety car. There should be a rule that if there are 5 laps or less remaining, the race should always be red flagged and continued only after the incident has been cleared.

    43. Agree, unless they come up with something much better. Agree, as F1 GPs are fairly long races, thus a standing restart for less than 5 laps adds so much variance (random) to the result what have been deservedly achieved, and most likely strategically defended by the entrants. So I think at endurance-like races a standing restart for very few laps adds too much random to the result. This is my main problem with it. To such extent, that I not even considered finishing a race under SC being a problem previously by myself.

      At the last race obviously it would have been fair to have tyres in similar condition to the championship contenders. So there I, as an exception, or as reiteration of the Baku red flag and restart for a few laps there I would have found it better, despite of my aforementioned perceptions. But because of the aforementioned things, I had not liked it in Baku.

      At the last race, imo Latifi’s car (brakes iirc) catching on fire made things more complicated (as it not happened instantly, but a bit later on), as without the necessity of extinguishing it, and the additional suprise it caused, maybe there would have been a little bit more laps to sort things out, if they wanted to finish it under green. Events like this show, why F1 should invest into faster decision making. AI-aided, based on date and telemetry of the current and previous events if necessary. Imo this would be up to date and sufficiently state of the art for F1. Although, as the entrants are often backed by very wealthy manufacturers, and their sponsors, I would make them to pay for this decision making (or at least advisory) system’s development, as currently they seem to be very much involved in the governace of the sport. I see it (the current relationship of F1 and the entrants or their backing manufacturers) as something close to a symbiosis, or self-governace, so I think they should invest into it. It would be a nice research and engineering area as well. In the outside world for example the results of the R&D could be used at analyzing traffic accidents (especially as currently it is very hard to decide intentionality or avoidability at F1 incidents -even if it is only about taking a cut instead of staying on the road-, as the drivers are more capable and better than execution of maneuvers than almost anyone, it is so much about the nuances). Although because of this, it likely would be very hard to implement really well, so likely it should be used carefully initially in its early days (years).
      Or the results could be used at making the self-driving-cars safer. These are quite automotive-industry related fields, the manufacturers could be proud of the results, and likely it would be much less void then many of their adverts and statements. I definitely think, top car manufacturers, and IT giants involved at F1 are capable of doing this, and I hope they are already seriously involved moving things forward in this field.

      1. Plus, I would reduce the role of the race director at least a bit. For example why a race director is a better authority to decide whether to investigate an incident or not? There are the stewards, they can or should see everything. Just like the outcome of the investigation is coming from them, the decision about the necessity imo would be a better place at them.

        Maybe I would have more stewards, and maybe they could discuss and analyze the incident together, but then they should come up with a numeric result of the event’s severity by themselves, one by one, to make it more simple to convert this number to the corresponding penalty. Likely I would have more stewards than 3, and the decision would be decided by a similar to the aforementioned “voting” system. The averaged numerical value of the severity could be public (to the fans as well), this would not look bad in a futureproof world, it could improve the mutual trust and respect, and it could reduce the amount of debates.

    44. I’m late to the party. But I’m not sure how you can rule it out. Even if you red flag it you need a lap or two to unlap people and at least a lap for the cars to form up for a start. And extending the racing distance may cause people to run out of fuel or fail the sample requirement. Also, how many times will you extend and for how far? People will be unhappy with any such change.

      The procedures right now don’t need a fix. We are only even talking about it because the RD (former?) invented a new procedure on the spot to avoid such a finish. Indeed this episode seems to prove why we should just leave the current rules alone.

    45. if a race needs a safety car with 6 or less laps left, the rule should say that it must be red flagged and then have a standing start sprint for the remaining lap(s).

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