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Usage of the Safety Car (and its effect on 2015 Re-starts)

Discussion in 'Formula One Discussion' started by KekeTheKing, Jul 3, 2014.

  1. Fenderman

    Fenderman Rooters Reporter

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    Yesterday at Silverstone we had a decent restart under the existing rules. It seems to me that not every safety car situation requires a race suspension. I believe they had the option to have a standing restart but chose to go for a rolling one. That seemed a bit of an odd decision to me but, hey! T Anyway, the options appear to be covered in the reg's already so there just isn't anything to fix.

    If it becomes a blanket rule to have all restarts after a safety car as standing starts then we actually lose some opportunities for variety. It was actually quite interesting not knowing quite what to expect yesterday and it was a demonstration of one format that was fair, clean and safe. WTF was wrong with that?

    Going slightly off topic here but, the real issue highlighted for us yesterday, which F1 actually should think about, was whether or not the race needed to be suspended for so long. Did that stretch of Armco really need repairing? Is it beyond F1 in the 21st century for some spare sections of tyre wall to be on hand for emergency use? The fact that the Armco's are "naked" in and either side of that bridge illustrates that the organisers and track owners never expected open wheelers to crash there.

    Back to the subject, as has been said the good ol' golden rule "If it ain't broke don't fix it" seems to me to be very apt on this one.
     
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  3. rufus_mcdufus

    rufus_mcdufus Race Winner

    I agree with Niki Lauda on that one. It's all about probabilities and the probability of another crash there was very small. The damage to the Armco wasn't massive either. There appear to be other spots off track that were equally, if not more, dangerous. I realise it's possibly more of a legal obligation than anything.
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2014
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  4. tonyw151

    tonyw151 Points Scorer Contributor

    Would a tyre wall have protected the Armco better? I'm assuming its cheap/ free/ even profitable ( tyre disposal costs) for tracks to install along the entire perimeter.
     
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  5. Bleu

    Bleu Points Scorer

    I remember one Porsche Supercup race (on F1 race weekend) going on with barrier damaged. The barrier was then fixed after the race in time for F1. However in that case, the area was yellow flagged for remainder of PSC race.

    IIRC it was this.
     
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  6. F1Yorkshire

    F1Yorkshire Avatar for sale to the highest bidder Contributor

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    As the supercup is a support race it is unable to be re-flagged while repairs are being made otherwise the schedule for the main event will all go to pot.
     
  7. teabagyokel

    teabagyokel #bringbackmaldo Valued Member

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    I presume there's considered a difference between a tin top and an open wheeler as well.
     
  8. Brogan

    Brogan Running Man Staff Member

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  9. KekeTheKing

    KekeTheKing Banned Supporter

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    Hadn't realized you were disgruntled Bro :facepalm:

    It's been known for some time that this was basically a team initiative. The article only confirms that it was McLaren who were the team that it originated from. And as with FRIC, it only takes one team to scuttle someone else's plans, but in this case the teams appear to be in lock step.
     
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  10. teabagyokel

    teabagyokel #bringbackmaldo Valued Member

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    Charlie probably woke up at night, having had that moment where he realised what he should have said:
    "When you win a race, what is the most important part? It's fast. So, why not build a faster car?"
     
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  11. Fenderman

    Fenderman Rooters Reporter

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    I am reminded of a catch-prase I used to hear years ago in Champ car commentary: "Cautions breed cautions" . Coincidentally there was a salutory reminder of what that means in yesterday's World Superbike Championship meeting at Laguna Seca. Eleven laps into race two, Alex Lowes crashed at The Corkscrew causing the race to be red flagged - so that an ambulance could use the track to reach him. Loris Bas was caught up in Lowes' mishap and clearly out of control of his bike, had disappeared out of camera shot. The race was restarted but shortened to a seven lap dash. Riders took up grid positions, determined by their places at the time of the red flag, for a standing start. Bikes taking the start were tweaked, relieved of excess fuel and given nice, fresh, soft and grippy tyres. One warm up lap and they're assembled on the grid. So far so good.

    Lights out and they're off. No time to settle in. It's balls out for the seven laps to grab as many points as they can get. This situation is an opportunity for some guys to get better results than they might usually expect, so a few chaps gained at the off and others didn't. One guy who lost out was Sylvain Barrier who crashed heavily after exiting the last corner on the first of the scheduled seven laps. It was an ugly and scary accident with Barrier ending up crumpled against the pit lane wall and chunks of his bike spread across the track. The result was another red flag and the race would later be restarted again as a seven lap sprint.

    Sylvain Barrier is an experienced rider, with Superstock race wins, podiums and a title under his belt. His scary crash ought to have been a reminder to the rest of the pack to reign in their enthusiasm. Granted, they were ever so slightly more restrained for the second restart. However, Marco Melandri who looked good for taking the win, and Davide Giugliano who carved through the pack like a dog on heat, didn't reach the chequered flag. As it happens, both guys do have a bit of a reputation for crashing out in "Race 1's" of a WSBK meeting, but it is rare for either of them to blow "Race 2's".

    The upshot of what happened at Laguna was, IMHO, that the race distance was such that there was no time for bedding in, strategising, planning moves, or studying opponents lines. Neither was there much time for thinking about and getting a good feel for the track conditions. The Laguna Seca circuit is notoriously dusty and ambient and track temperatures had increased over the course of the afternoon. Meanwhile, the mindset of the teams and riders is focussed on making the best of a bad situation. Points mean prizes, cash and steps up the championship table. For the promoters there's the worldwide TV and the track-side audience to please, so the pressure is on to provide the show.

    If one is into short, sharp and sometimes shocking thrills, it did have it's excitement. If one is into watching good racing with all of the ingredients (i.e. speed, tactics, strategy, skill, endurance and tight battles through the field), well a couple of those ingredients went missing. The race action itself was like a manic shuffle of a pack of cards, with a few ending up on the deck and the rest coming out in an almost predictable order. There were no tactics, barely any strategy and the plan was a simple one. Ride like a loon and get past the bloke in front. Period. One is left with impression that everyone was having a very bad day and the quicker they got it done, the quicker they could go home and forget about it.

    Unfortunately, in between the "heats", us couch potatoes heard the commentary team talk a bit about Alex Lowes whilst I wondered what had happened to Loris Bas. Lowes may have damaged his ankle or leg but he looked okay, they said. Hang on though, Loris, had disappeared out of camera shot. Did he crash? I like Loris Bas and became increasingly worried. I was only reassured twenty or so minutes later when someone mentioned on the box that he was on the grid for the restart (restart number one, that was). Then, whilst awaiting the third attempt to get a "Race 2", we were again tormented by a lack of information - this time about Barrier's condition. Of course this was all quite understandable since we know that until the guys get to hospital no-one is in a position to give use categorical news. However, the faces of the people in the pits and garages, and those amongst the crowd showed that they too were worried, puzzled and clearly upset. It turns out that Lowes was relatively unscathed, Bas had somehow not crashed and Barrier escaped with a dislocated and fractured left subtalar joint. Phew.

    So in between starts my head was filled with memories of similar incidents I had seen as they happened. In August 1973, I was in the grandstand at Silverstone's Stowe Corner and witnessed 500cc GP rider Kim Newcombe's ultimately fatal crash. On live TV, among other incidents, I saw the ultimately fatal crashes of young BSB Supersport racer Craig Jones' (Brands Hatch, August 2008) and MotoGP rider Marco Simoncelli (Sepang, 2011). I don't know if having witnessed Newcombe's crash in person affects how I look at things, but I can't watch something happen to a racer on the box without feeling some connection and concern. The common feature about TV coverage in these situations is the absence of replays and information. It seems that until the TV folk's are happy no-one is dead or likely to die from an incident, we get the panel chat in the studio, no real news and no replays or explanation of how the incident/s occurred. That was the case yesterday and it always makes me fear the worst.

    If that kind of stuff somehow adds to the show I would really like to know how, because I must be missing something! To me, regardless of any actual threat to life and limb, it detracts.

    I can honestly say that watching what was supposed to be WSBK race 2 at Laguna Seca was a thoroughly unpleasant experience. It wasn't exciting, it was nerve wracking in a bad way. The seven lap sprint lasted just over ten forgettable minutes. Oh, by the way, for us in the UK it was now late and I went to be in a very bad mood. Great.

    Of course motorcycle racing is somewhat more dangerous than modern F1 and, unlike F1, there are still motorcycle racers injured, maimed or killed doing the sport every year. Restarts in F1 races certainly don't affect me in the same way as in bike sport, since serious injuries and fatalities are thankfully rare but, as well as the boredom factor, there are other considerations. What about the economics? We are constantly told that F1 has to cut costs. It seems that it will be okay to risk having cars damaged or trashed in circumstances "bred by cautions". Oh well, happy days ... at least I don't have to pay those bills.
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2014
  12. teabagyokel

    teabagyokel #bringbackmaldo Valued Member

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    Fenderman - To be fair, if there is a caution with a standing start followed by another, then there will be a rolling start.
     
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  13. Fenderman

    Fenderman Rooters Reporter

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    Indeed, teabagyokel , not that I'm actually averse to standing restarts in car racing.

    I said somewhere else in this thread that I thought the rules allow for standing restarts already. Checking the reg's out again, I see that I was incorrect on that one. I don't actually see it as a very big deal really. It's probably not a bad idea to just rephrase the relevant article to allow them (standing restarts) so that race control has some added flexibility. However, I don't think they should be mandatory. As far as I can recall, most race suspensions, for significant periods, were due to dismal weather so rolling starts are much the better option as they enable drivers to learn the conditions.

    Silverstone this year was somewhat unusual, methinks, and I have to admit that don't think starting behind the safety car was really all that necessary. Having said that I don't think that particular bit of armco really needed fixing up, especially as the bridge remained the biggest threat in terms of an obstacle asking to be struck! A cursory safety audit following the same precautionary principle on which they held up the race would have closed the track!
     
  14. F1Yorkshire

    F1Yorkshire Avatar for sale to the highest bidder Contributor

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    When teams were allowed to have spare cars 1st lap accidents were quite common, since then the drivers are more cautious and the number of 1st lap accidents have reduced dramatically, they do still happen but more often than not all drivers get away cleanly.
     
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  15. Fenderman

    Fenderman Rooters Reporter

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    I'd guess that the efficiency of anti-stall devices and general reliability have a lot to do with that as well. An awful lot of the most horrible race start accidents were down to cars being stalled on the grid. I remember there were races red flagged with hardly anyone getting to the first corner, let alone racing! Brands hatch was good for that sort of mayhem.:D
     
  16. Mephistopheles

    Mephistopheles Banned Contributor

    So the safety car potters round and round and round followed by the pack and then the cars form up on the grid right so will we still have to let cars unlap themselves and have a warm up lap as well just to make everything take even longer before the race gets underway again..?
     
  17. F1Yorkshire

    F1Yorkshire Avatar for sale to the highest bidder Contributor

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    The only reason for the safety car will be so the cars can stay in motion and be cooled which means the mechanics won't have to return to the grid to keep the cars in a state where they can race again.
     
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  18. Fenderman

    Fenderman Rooters Reporter

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    Actually, that's a very important point F1Yorkshire . F1 cars don't really like too many repeated heat cycles and heat soak after running can be a car killer. With the extra demands on cooling because of the turbo's and ERS that could be a problem for some of the teams. The Renault powered cars have already given their runners a few headaches in the overheating dept'.

    I'm reminded of another adage: "What one hand giveth, the other hand taketh away.":D
     
  19. Monkeyhead

    Monkeyhead Points Scorer Contributor

    I never realized that the spare cars had been banned. This article suggests that the ban took place at the end of the 2007 season. The last massive 1st lap incident I can remember was the 2006 USA Grand Prix, when seven or eight cars were eliminated. The Grosjean-involved 1st lap incidents in 2012 were somewhat less severe, but they still existed. Do the data show that the probability to get involved in a 1st lap incident has reduced since 2007?
     
  20. mjo

    mjo Procrastinating Contributor

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    I hate to speak in clichés and quotes, but 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it'.
     
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  21. KekeTheKing

    KekeTheKing Banned Supporter

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    People complain all the time about the SC procedure, the unlapping procedure, and the racing laps lost. I've complained several times in the past about its occasionally questionable deployment.

    The new Regs should alleviate lost Green Flag laps and also hold Charlie and the boys to a higher standard of incident necessitating a race stoppage.
     

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