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Virtual safety car system tweaked for Brazil trial

2014. November 05. 14:48
A revised version of Formula 1's new virtual safety car system will be tested at the Brazilian Grand Prix, following a first trial during the United States GP weekend.

Conceived in response to Jules Bianchi's accident at the Japanese Grand Prix, the FIA's system takes responsibility for slowing down under yellow flags away from drivers.

When a 'virtual safety car' is declared, drivers have to slow down to a specific delta time - which can be up to one third slower than the normal speed - over a lap.

This concept would then be used for incidents that F1 race control does not think warrant a full safety car.

A first version of the concept was trialled after first and second free practice at Austin last weekend, and it uncovered some areas that need improvement.

Fernando Alonso said: "I think it was OK. The idea is good. It's something we discussed in Russia.

"We need to tune it a little bit better, because we had some tones in the radio that sometimes worked and sometimes didn't, so there are some things to put in place there."

The FIA has taken on board the feedback from the drivers and team and will make specific modifications for the tests in Brazil.

To overcome complaints drivers found it difficult to maintain a specific time delta throughout the lap, the timing zones where their speed is measured will be extended from 50 metres long to 200 metres - which should make it easier to comply with the limits.

The period for drivers to bring down their pace from racing speed to the virtual safety car pace will now be extended to 10 seconds.

A 10s warning will be also given to notify drivers that the virtual safety car period is coming to an end.

Williams performance chief Rob Smedley believed that the first test of the new concept had been a success, and the minor issues encountered could be sorted.

"It comes down to some nuances as to how the driver retains a positive time compared to the reference and the feedback that we give to the driver, the information that the driver can get when the race resumes under normal conditions," he said.

"The most positive aspect was that it was a brand new methodology and all the drivers pretty much made the same comment, which was really getting down to the details.

"So as a big picture, it worked pretty well straight away."





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