F1 to trial new speed control system for yellow flag zones in Austin
Double waved yellow flags
Posted By: James Allen  |  12 Oct 2014   |  5:35 pm GMT  |  64 comments

Following meetings in Sochi resulting from Jules Bianchi’s horrific accident in Suzuka, the FIA and the F1 teams are to trial a new system for controlling the speed of the cars in yellow flag caution zones during practice at the next race in Austin, Texas.

The test is likely to happen at the end of the Free Practice 1 or Free Practice 2 session and is likely that it will be based on the idea of a set “delta time” for a given track sector, between marshals posts, for incidents requiring the double waved yellow flags, as the recovery of Adrian Sutil’s car was in Suzuka.

The suggestion is that the reduced speed to achieve this will be in the region of 100km/h. Bianchi was believed to have been travelling at 212km/h through Turn 7 when he left the track in Suzuka, in spite of lifting off the throttle, as was acknowledged by FIA Race Director Charlie Whiting.

It is important to stress that what will take place at Austin is just a test, it is not implementable this year as too much would need to be changed in the Electronic Control Units on the cars. This is work being done to engineer the best solution for the 2015 season.

The approach agreed for this test is the same way that the FIA together with the F1 teams developed the Safety Car delta speed system. In that case, there was a test on the in-lap at the end of practice. This test will be similar and there will be a delta time to establish through the Yellow Flag sector. The coding change required for the test should not present too much of a problem, however there will be some work to do to get set up to monitor all the cars properly.

This is another area, as with the changes on team radio messages, where next year all cars using a proper large dash display would make this easier to do too.

It is likely that when developed and implemented the delta time for drivers passing through the yellow flag zone will be very effective as it takes away the decision as to whether to lift off and by how much away from the drivers, as now happens with the Safety Car delta lap time, which comes in automatically when the Safety Car is deployed.

Drivers have been in the habit of lifting as little as possible in yellow flag zones in the past, barely a second of throttle lift. In wet conditions such as Suzuka, where the lap times are falling anyway as the conditions worsen, it is even less noticeable.

In Suzuka Bianchi was racing against Marcus Ericsson behind, who had taken on a set of new wet tyres four laps earlier and was lapping 1.2 seconds per lap faster than Bianchi. Bianchi’s intermediate tyres were over 20 laps old, so he was in a scrap, but his sector times for the three laps before the accident were fairly consistent, rather than rising, showing that the worn intermediates were not struggling to cope with the conditions at the point when he crashed.

Lewis Hamilton dedicated his Sochi win to Bianchi, who is still in a critical condition in a hospital in Japan. “It would be great to dedicate it to him and his family,” Hamilton said. “It would make a very small difference to them, but every bit of positive energy hopefully will help. We all need to be sending positive vibes that way.”

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Andrew Huntley-Jacobs

This technology has been in place at every circuit this season.

The FIA have divided the various tracks into up to 20 sectors – and each car is timed each lap through the sector.

If a yellow flag is waved, the cars are expected to slow down through that sector by 0.2 seconds

If it is a double waved yellow flag, 0.5 seconds – as per Charlie Whiting directive in March


I suggested a race director press the button slow down system over a yr ago on here on seeing what was likely to be coming again….of course it happens now too late same as senna


Unless the wording of the sporting regulations (driver must drive the car alone and unaided) are changed no race director or team can “press a button” to slow down cars being driven by a competing driver, it will still have to be the driver responsibility to do so “press a slow down button” which in itself is already a driver aid, another thing is, the rules says that the pit lane speed limiter can only be used in pit lane, so those advocating a race track speed limiter should/out too go check out why the speed limiter is not permitted to be used on track.


Ridiculous. What an utterly wasted opportunity to show some leadership and direction to junior formulae and grassroots sport.

There is a rule designed specifically to attempt to reduce the chances of this sort of thing (Bianchi’s crash) from happening. It’s called a yellow flag (or more pertinently a double-waved flag). “Slow down, be prepared to stop”. For as long as I remember all racing drivers at all levels take a risk with yellow flags – don’t overtake, but also lift the throttle as imperceptibly as possible, whenever possible. The risk for failing to slow down as instructed is worth it as you won’t be punished for travelling through a yellow flag zone at 99.8% full speed AND you don’t lose out to guy in front / behind. For as long as I remember, all governing bodies and officials have been pretty much fine with this (except where it causes a shunt and then people are reprimanded). This is WRONG. While I’m not endorsing full-course yellows like in oval racing, the intent and meaning of the yellow flag should be enforced ALL THE TIME.

A technical solution is great in the hi-tech bubble of Formula 1 but does little for the behaviour that is prevalent at every level of motorsport down to cadet karts. I was disappointed at Brundle (I think) concluding that the “best” race drivers in the world “couldn’t help themselves” from going too quickly through yellow flag zones. Pitiful and a poor message to send down to grassroots.

Racing drivers fail to lift “sufficiently” (in my opinion) because unless they “get it wrong” (crash) or overtake then officials don’t really deal out any punishment. Crashing under yellow is often unlikely, officials won’t penalise you so it’s a fair calculated risk that most of the time if you fail to lift “enough” then you’ll be ok. Plus, drivers’ peers don’t lift either so you can’t be the only one. The problem is, assuming every yellow flag zone is one you can use skill / luck to get through will only work some of the time. I keep thinking of Alonso in Brazil 2003 – classic example of arrogance towards yellow flags (chosen only because it’s clear-cut – I’ve nothing against Alonso especially).

I’m aware of the issues of forcing drivers to suddenly slow, lift off oversteer, closing speeds between battling cars etc, but frankly taking this out of the drivers own hands ids the wrong thing to do. Increase the “risk” of failing to adhere to yellows by issue penalties and they’ll soon learn…


From the sporting regulations point of view (drivers must drive the car alone and unaided) any electronic device that is operated by anybody involved to limit the car to a set limited speed while being driven by the driver such as and including the pit lane speed limiter is a sort of drivers aid. But at least in the case of the pit lane speed limit which is monitored by speed cameras drivers does not escape a penalty/fine, why should drivers escape a penalty for over speeding under yellow flags when race control has the capability of monitoring this infringement more accurately this year having divided the tracks into 20 sections as against 3 up to last year.


Scott77, It took 2 minutes to retrieve Sutil’s Sauber, if the safety car was deployed it would not have picked up Bianchi in the snake.


No but he would have been forced to travel at Safety Car delta time i.e. much lower speed from the moment it was deployed, that’s the whole point of this system


Yes, correct in what you said, if he would have gone to the much lower speed (delta time) that is.

But why was there the need for a safety car when removing a car off track quite a distance away from the racing tarmac when double yellow flags were in use for that section of track? Shouldn’t the driver had been prepared to stop (speed wise)?


[No but he would have been forced to travel at Safety Car delta time]

Thank you James. What a difference it would have made!


There should be three sectors involved in these double yellow flag situation. The sector previous to the double flag should be the “slow down” sector, which allows the car and driver enough time to slow down safely for the double flag sector. The sector after the double flag sector should be the “speed up” sector again allowing the drivers to regain race speed safely. There should be no overtaking in any of these three sectors. Now who determines the number of sectors in any particular circuit? What do you?


We – & certainly not Bianchi – would not be in this situation if Race Control had just sent the Safety Car out instead of trying to clear the original incident with Double Yellow Flags. The Safety Car deployment would’ve forced Bianchi to drive the Safety Car Delta.


A speed limiter adjusts (limits) the engine RPM according to what gear is in use to limit the speed of the car which is pre set by the team. This is what is used as a pit lane speed limiter. It is activated/de activated by the driver (push button), according to the sporting rules it cannot be activated by the team or race control because “The driver must drive the car alone and unaided”, Something similar can be used for yellow/double yellow waved flags sectors, but unless the sporting rules (wordings) are changed it cannot be automatic or activated/triggered by the team or race control, it will still have to be the drivers responsibility.


Double yellow waved flags “Reduce speed significantly, do not overtake and be prepared to change direction or stop, there is a hazard wholly or partly blocking the track and or marshals working on or beside the track”. Reading the above wording of the rules leads me to say, Which driver that passed that double yellow waved flag zone obeyed those rules?, which in turn leads me to say, There was nothing wrong with race control, flags, tractor, and the safety car not being deployed, people talking about the green flag at tower 12 doesn’t know what they are talking about, the accident was as a result of abuse of double yellow waved flags, and in turn that abuse is as a result of the rules not being implemented.


In which case the FIA should of (long since) heavily penalised those not slowing down enough.

Whatever way you look at it the fault lies with Whiting and the FIA, period.


And after this system has been perfected for F1 then maybe other categories around the world (the ones that dont already adopt it) should think about using it.

The other day in the Bathurst 1000 despite yellow flags and SC’s boards out hardly anyone/no one backed off at all until they gpt to the queue and there was actually a crash because drivers were caught out around a blind corner and confronted with a crocodile of cars. Doing up to 300 km/h under double yellows down Conrod Streight just to get back to the pits under the SC did not raise any eyebrows here


This may reduce the number of safety cars which we see.

A safety car does two things, it controls the speed of all the cars and it bunches them up, the later is bad for racing but may be needed in specific circumstances when marshals are actually working on the track, clearing debris for example.

From next season there will never be a need to deploy the safety car just to manage the speed of the competitors. It would be really interesting for someone to look at the safety cars over the last few years and see how many of these would have been unnecessary if we had had a speed control system under yellow flags.


James the timing of the starting and ending of the yellow flag slowdown section could and at some point would lead to an advantage/loss between leading and following cars and thus effect the competition. My suggestion would be to have a system that the race director could initiate that would simultaneously put every car into ‘safety car’ mode and then again simultaneously release them all when the area in question is clear. This way 100% of the time all drivers are effected equally and drivers, marshals and medical staff are greatly more protected in yellow flag situations.


A speed limit is definitely the way to go, though I don’t understand the need to neutralise the whole track where an accident has occurred in 1 particular section.

I’m a fan of the slow zones used in Le Mans. Circuit length doesn’t come into it. Using Austin as an example;

Say theres a crash at the turn 1 hairpin. You quite simply “slow zone” the entire pit straight, and then introduce orange flags before the final corner. Oranges constitute no overtaking, single file, be prepared to stop etc.

We have marshalls post every 200m there thereabouts in F1. All you have to do is start off extra conservative in your first implementation of the slow zone, and then relax it if appropriate.

Personally, id default set the size of the oranges and slow zone to a total of 1km (1000m). Say 2 marshalls posts for the oranges, and the next 3 denote the slow zone. In this scenario, and with the majority of tracks being around 5km, you’re neutralising 1/5 of the track, not the whole thing.

Slow zone speeds I’d have slower than the pit-lane speed limiter. The pit-lane is still part of the race track. With marshalls on track, you need to be going slower than that.

As a little something additional, whenever there are major crashes, lots of debris on track etc, I’d red flag the race and start again from the grid in current positions.

Safety comes first, closely followed by the integrity of the race and giving the full race distance to the fans. It really annoys me watching cars driving around for another 4 or 5 laps whilst backmarkers unlap themselves. It just wastes race laps. This would also do the marshalls piece of mind a load of good knowing they don’t have to keep an eye out for cars when they are trying to make sure they’ve picked up every piece of carbon fibre etc.

Slow zones and red flags are the way to go in my opinion, implemented as above. Everyone wins that way.


I may be wrong but I don’t think the Le Mans slow zone was used when marshals were actually on track. If it was, then it could only be because of the length of the circuit naturally creating large gaps between cars. On a typical circuit you’d definitley need a safety car to bunch the field if you want to send marshals on to the track. What the FIA are now proposing for F1 seems pretty similar to the Le Mans slow zone, but it would only be suitable when marshals are working at trackside.


If the marshals were on the track when cars were passing, I would consider that quite risky, whether or not a “slow zone” is in force, or even under a safety car. When I see marshals on track during a race in the UK, generally someone blows a whistle when the safety car approaches and all the marshals retire off the tarmac until the train has passed.


I disagree.

Theres a video floating around Youtube somewhere which shows the rules of the slow zone, narrated by a current driver I believe.

I don’t know how familiar you are with the Le Mans track, but bear with me.

The video shows a broken down vehicle, with marshalls around it, on the exit of the pit-lane/the entry to the outside of the first chicane.

Now, the slow zone, or rather the orange flags, lighting, signs etc warning of approaching the slow zone, are actually displayed before the final 2 chicanes at the end of the lap. The slow zone then starts on the pit-straight, and continues right the way through, past the accident, to a green flag/light after the exit of the chicane and beneath the Dunlop bridge.

Now, I don’t know if you watch MotoGP, but if you do, you’ll know that the bikes use that exact same section of track, bar the final 2 chicanes to be fair, as they join the pit-straight via a double-apex right hander. But nevertheless, in this scenario, the orange warnings could still be displayed significantly before the final corner, be it double-chicane or double-apex right hander.

So it is for this reason that I don’t see the length of the circuit being an issue. The MotoGP boys race on a significantly shorter circuit, yet, most importantly, they do race on the section of the circuit that is shown in the slow zone video.

So I fail to see why slow zones wouldn’t work to be honest. But I’m always up for some fact based discussion to be convinced otherwise :).

I’ve said a 1km total distance for the slow zone, mainly because this is the length of the 2 longest straights in F1 (give or take a bit – in Shanghai & Abu Dhabi), likewise, I’m going to throw out there a speed limit of 40mph for the slow zone as this the slowest the cars go all year, through the Lowes hairpin. Just my thoughts.

At the end of the day we all want the same thing, drivers and marshalls kept safe, and a thoroughly enjoyable race to watch :).


It will change nothing. Wasn’t a green flag waving over Sutil’s car? With wet conditions there will always be JB crash style situations, chaos and huge errors. The only effective rule change would be like American racing, no race with wet conditions.


I’m not sure there was necessarily anything wrong with the green flag there. If that marshal’s post marked the beginning of a marshalling sector, then cars would already have been past the incident when they re-entered green-flag conditions.


212 km/h seems very fast. Was that reported previously?

Either way, I’m glad they are enforcing a controlled local slow zone. As I’ve heard drivers say continually for years, safety is great but you can always improve it. Slowing the cars down more and adding some sort structure to the support vehicles to help absorb the energy of impacts will just become normal the same way armco or hans devices are now 🙂


This looks like a sensible approach. Drivers at all levels of motorsport should slow far more than they do for waved yellows. Waved yellow is supposed to mean “slow down and be prepared to stop”, not “lift a little”.

The problem has been that any driver who thinks/knows that other drivers are going faster through a waved yellow area will likely speed up himself, until in the end everyone is going as fast as they think the stewards will let them get away with. Just a couple of weeks ago I was on track at an amateur event with one part of the track under waved yellow for a long period, and the guy behind me was making up masses of time through that section because he barely lifted.

A system that imposes the same maximum speed on everyone makes sense – noone loses out from a race perspective, and hopefully speeds are reduced sufficiently to avoid a repeat of Bianchi’s horrific crash.

An intriguing thought is that if this system works well enough, it might also reduce the need safety car deployment in future.


You would think in a race as terrifyingly dangerous as the Isle of Man TT, every rider would be super-cautious in yellow flag zones. But even there, they have the same problem.


I’ve not seen the point of the whole safety car pantomime for years.

Firstly, it’s too slow. It takes time to get it moving, even then, it just appears at one point on the track, so has no control over what is happening elsewhere. It also completely screws the race up – a leading driver who has built up a gap, or worse, has a lead because he is yet to pit, has his race destroyed through no fault of his own. And even if the danger is cleared after a couple of laps, the whole process of letting cars unlap themselves (why? let them stay in position and wave blue flags later if necessary) eats up 10-15 minutes.

With all these electronics, just have a warning to all drivers and then either activate a speed limiter (like that used in the pit lane) for 100km/h, or cut fuel flow rate by 70% or whatever – some way to electronically slow all the cars down simultaneously.

It’s safer, it doesn’t ruin the race arbitrarily like a SC, and it’s quicker to get the race restarted once the danger is cleared.

Setting delta times to force drivers to slow down is not good enough; whatever is done, it should not be down to the driver to adhere to it, it should be automatic.


Totally right. Done correctly the leader who has a ten second lead before the VSC wil still have that afterwards, which is how it should be. No need to let lapped cars through at all.

Button going in for inters as soon as the SC came in in Japan shows that the FIA cannot run those correctly.

Time for a change. Well, well past time in fact.


Simply slowing all the cars at once doesn’t bunch them together though, and that is the essential function of the safety car. Without that, the marshals don’t have clear space to work on the track.

With all these delta-time procedures in place, they could do that without a physical safety car; just give the leader a slower delta time than the rest of the field. However I think race control would be reluctant to give up having an unbiased safety car driver who they can talk to about developing conditions on track.

If marshals are working off the track (like at Suzuka), you shouldn’t need to throw a safety car; you just need the drivers to properly observe the double waved yellow flags. Which of course is what they are now proposing to enforce.

I completely agree about the lapped cars. If the guy in 2nd was all over the leader’s gearbox before the safety car, he will be after it. If there was a lapped car between them before the safety car, then it should still be there after. It’s not the job of the safety car to change that situation merely in the name of spicing up the race.


And they didn’t deploy the safety car.

The safety car didn’t go out until after Bianchi’s crash and it became clear medical assistance was required.


I can see the argument in some cases if there is debris on the track to clear, so marshalls need a clear gap to get on the track safely. But in Suzuka, it was a car off the track with a crane brought on, so there is no benefit in terms of safety of grouping cars. The crane doesn’t go off when the cars come round behind the SC, and then come back on again to continue working. It has to stay there until the car is moved.

And I still don’t see the need to put an actual car on track. Just limit the speed of the leading car a bit more than the others, and they’ll all group up.

The problem of course is that the SC is an excuse to try to shake up a boring race by putting all the cars together again, though nobody in the sport would like to admit this.


Watching the Sochi broadcast in the US, the only thing more upsetting than the fawning excitement over the appearance of Putin was the excessive praise of the FIA for all the action in the wake of the Bianchi crash, for. the organization that had allowed cars to drive at speed on a soaking wet track with what was essentially a bulldozer parked a few yards away. Moreover, has it ever been completely estavblished that the double yellow flags were saving? It looked from the home video like they had switched to green before Bianchi went off. We need transparency, clarity and responsibility. This should never have happened.


In his post race interview with Will Buxton, Buxton, savvy as he is, suggested that it was obvious the best cars in the grid have Merc power units in them, and asked Alo if his car next year would. ALO replied “No. It will not” Buxton then states the only open seats are cars with Merc power plants to which ALO replies “When you see where I end up next year, it will have been very obvious…” (paraphrasing). Well, McLaren won’t have a Merc power plant next year, and neither will Ferrari. So it’s down to three options….Mclaren, Ferrari, or…nothing.


I’ve been thinking that maybe he’s off to race LMP1 with his mate Mark Webber. Alonson started Le Mans this year, has long spoken of his desire to race sportscars, wouldn’t be running a Mercedes engine, and would be getting away from the current crop of F1 which he clearly isn’t happy with. I’m not a betting man, but if I were, that’s where I’d put my money.

Either way, Alonso is canny. Just because he’s said something does not make it true. You have to examine the language he uses. Very rarely are there any definitives in the words he uses. And even when there are, they’re still cryptic. (ie: the car won’t have a Mercedes engine).


Massa gave it away already, Caterham


What, you can’t see Alonso driving for Sauber? 🙂

Of course, Lotus is switching from Renault, so one of the teams could pick up Renault, and at this point, I’ll be surprised to see Caterham on the grid at all, so in theory, two teams could pick up Renault engines, but I really don’t see that happening.


James, would a simple solution be to use the pitlane speed limiter in the cars? Whenever a double yellow is signalled, the drivers could press their limiter button before entering the zone. You may need to extend the zone by one marshall’s box to ensure they don’t go racing into the crash zone.

No new technology required, could be implemented in Austin.


Problem is, the pit-lane speed limiter is occasionally mated to spectacular displays of tire smoke as the drivers struggle to get the car down to speed.

The last thing you need on a really wet track is a hard limit on speed that the cars have to stand on the brakes to reach.

The “virtual safety car” of requiring them to take a minimum amount of time through the sector is already implemented (for the actual safety car), but it’s a full-course caution. They’ll need to change it to also function in a specific section of the track.

As a programmer, it still requires some pretty thorough testing and debugging though.


Can I just say something? Everyone has considered ALO taking a sabbatical in an attempt to get a Merc seat for 2016. That might aswell be Vettel’s plans considering he doesn’t say anything either.


@Richard +1

That scenario has been nagging at my thoughts as well.

Could it be that the title runs have led to a temporary burnout stage? The current Mercedes seemingly so unassailable in the immediate future? The ever life altering blessing of becoming a father?

Possible SV may take a year off to re-align himself and recharge the batteries.

This is F1…stranger things have happened.


Alonso won’t be taking a year off… He won’t be racing for McLaren either.

His latest interviews are rubbing the medias noses in it.. He’s said before how he is committed to Ferrari. His recent comments suggest ‘you haven’t been listening, I clarified this ages ago, I’ll let you continue to run your mouths and look incredibly stupid for not listening’

I see him at Ferrari next year, just as he’s always maintained. Either Vettel is in the ‘3rd’ Ferrari or Kimi is done at the end of this year… if there are no 3 car teams next year.

You heard it here first.. NO, actually Alonso has been saying this all along … for those that bothered to listen…


@Trevor Murphy

Well said! Alonso has stated (not a quote but as I remembver it) – “I have a plan and always have had, When it is revealed you will see what I mean and understand.”

He has always said his career would end at Ferrari and he is desperate for 2 things, 1) to win a WDC with Ferrari. 2) To equal his hero’s number of WDC – Ayrton Senna (3).

I still see that happening. What is the Rai/Vet scenario as a result? Who knows……….


I wouldn’t be shocked if Kimi somehow wasn’t there next year, because somehow between how terrible the Ferrari has been for Kimi and Kimi’s general demeanor I’ve had some sneaking feeling that he’s indifferent at this point … having his driver’s championship trophy and near universal respect for his talents, not to mention basically unlimited money!

Alonso and Vettel though?

I like how juicy the concept is, but I’m not sure how finally concluding the long rumored Honda (/McLaren) deal would be contrary to what Alonso’s said. Doing what’s best for Ferrari could mean leaving, which involves terminating a long standing contract (theoretically that’s distasteful or something), in order to make room for the new Ferrari driver. Couldn’t Kimi have said a few years back “I’m doing what’s best for Ferrari by letting them pay me tens of millions this year to NOT drive in F1 for them(!)”?

It’s going to be super interesting to see which theory prevails.


Or, perhaps, Vettel actually stole a march on Alonso, and will be driving for McLaren-Honda next year, and Alonso stays at Ferrari.

I could see Vettel wanting to drive the MP-30 and help McLaren get back on the podium. Considering as how Prodromou was heavily involved in the Red Bull chassis that he drove to all four championships, it wouldn’t be a bad move for Vettel. Honda would get their superstar driver, McLaren would have a better draw for sponsors and Vettel would have a designer who understands how to make Vettel’s kind of car.

The more I type, the more sense it makes to me at least…. 🙂


You may well be right ,well ferrari have said he could leave but has the original contract been ripped up . . . ?


Apparently Vettel has hinted strongly that he is going to Ferrari, but apparently he also has a sense of humour so toss a coin 🙂


Good news, sounds like a well considered and thought out plan for once.

With regards to the dashboards and driver feedback, I wonder if we are missing a trick here. For the viewer, some of these messages help tell the story of the race, quite a few times today it was mentioned how critical they were getting on fuel, something which presumably would be banned next year with a fuel indicator on the dash. However, without hearing those message from the team on the radio, the viewer has to rely soley on the commentators picking up on it. Since they haven’t even found an Italian translator to help with some of the Ferrari pit messages, I feel we are asking a lot!


Oh dear. Exactly what loads of people have been calling for, just decades too late. F1 drivers won’t slow down for flags more than they have to, never have, never will.

Yet we fans who have been talking about stuff like this and virtual safety cars for years and years have been made to feel like fools by the likes of Warwick, Saward and others being cautious. Somehow Whiting has even had the cheek to pontificate thus.

It is hard to believe this spiel about the FIA’s constant push on safety when what happen in Japan has been on the cards since Brazil 2003, Suzuka 1994, or way earlier.


It’s easy to appear wise after the event, but looking for someone to blame won’t get Jules out of hopsital or improve the situation in the future. Despite the terrible situation, now is the time to focus on constructive analysis and push for positive change to ensure this doesn’t happen again. Thankfully, the unhelpful voices saying ‘I told you so’ have been few and far between.

Warwick has been upside down at Parabolica at 160mph and Saward has been to every GP since the late 80’s. They’ve both been there, and seen friends and colleages get killed and injured. I guess thats why people listen to what they have to say.


So wisdom is to watch friends die and call for no action while labelling those who did call for change as unhelpful ‘I told you so’ idiots? There has been concern about cars colliding with recovery vehicles for decades but the FIA has waited for it to happen before acting. Some would call this culpable negligence.


Please explain where I am being wise after the fact.

I have felt that JCBs on track should mean automatic safety car (SC) since 1994, more should be done to slow cars down under yellows since 2003, and that Whiting should be replaced by a virtual SC since 2007.

Bottom line, VSC in Suzuka a week ago = Jules racing in Russia today. Can anyone argue with that?


This is the way to go. It agrees with the comments we have seen on this web site. It just shows what a great platform you have created James.


Anything that improves safety is worthwhile I say. And better late than never, although everyone would have wanted the circumstances to be different and not for a promising young racer lying critically injured in hospital. Having said that, you can’t turn back the clock, what’s happened has happened, and it’s best to learn from it and make sure preventative measures are taken so it doesn’t happen again.

On a different note, let’s all hope that in Texas there is actually a “race” not a high speed procession.


well said


Well said again Gaz.


Excellent first step by the FIA. I’m really pleased and reassured by their can-do attitude in contrast to some in the media (not our host) who all but put the blame on JB or those asking us to avoid “knee-jerk reaction”- betraying their casual indifference to this very serious matter.


I’m not so sure that the FIA has taken an ‘excellent first step’ with these proposed safety measures.

It seems to me that it has deliberately made a big noise about controlling speeds in yellow-flag zones in order to distract everyone from the real issue that it was the trackside tractor that caused Bianchi’s head injury, not the speed at which he was travelling.

If Bianchi had spun off at the same speed a lap or two earlier, he would have hit the tyre wall and most probably walked away uninjured.

The FIA has known for 20 years, since Martin Brundle’s near-miss at the same track, that tractors are incompatible with F1 cars in terms of their height relative to drivers’ heads and their inability to absorb impacts.

It is disappointing that those charged with safety at the FIA are not taking responsibility for this oversight and doubly disappointing that they are using political ‘distraction’ techniques in order to move the focus away from the actual cause of Bianchi’s injury, namely his collision with the tractor.

By putting so much effort into showcasing how they intend to control speeds, they are implying that Bianchi was responsible for his own accident because he was travelling too fast. That’s pretty distasteful, in my opinion.

The injury was caused by the tractor, not by speeding, but the FIA would rather apportion blame to a driver who has suffered a life-threatening head injury and who cannot answer back than admit any responsibility of its own.


@Craig: Do you realize that car can be anywhere on the run off area? Not just next the wall. Cranes are useless expect some special cases like Monaco.


@ Loko “What the heck are you expecting the FIA to do then?”: Keep the tractors behind the barriers and re-specify them with mechanical ‘arms’ so that cars that have crashed can be removed safely.


What the heck you are expecting FIA to do then? They have to use tractors, that the fact. So now they are looking better option how to use them safely because using safety car every time would kill racing. Watch Tudor USC, the series is joke because they are driving behind safety car most of the race even in dry conditions, lol.

By this test, FIA is implying that it was mistake not to use safety car: current yellow flag rule dont do what some naive people were thinking it does.


this IS a kneejerk reaction.


Great news !


first time on “pole”..lol


Kudos on being the fastest poster Vinola, but be aware that James only gives out the points on race day 🙂

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