Safety Gone too Far?

sobriety

Pole Sitter
There were parts flying everywhere in that crash and what happened to Felipe Massa in Hungary 09 could have happened to any of the drivers there.
Although the speed at which the bits were flying about was a lot slower than Massa's crash, granted the tyres flying around were pretty risky, bu they're tethered now.
 

teabagyokel

#dejavu
Valued Member
You have a small lead in the WDC, your main rival is bearing down on you at a considerable rate. Yet you find yourself leading this race where it is raining and your rival has crashed out, do you really expect the driver to say the conditions are fine? Fact is although the drivers will have the most insight into the conditions their motivations are not simply driven entirely by safety, but also by competition.
I see your point, but I think Mr. Whiting is reasonably intelligent and would take this under consideration. Perhaps the best people to listen to would be the experienced drivers in the midfield/lower reaches of the grid - perhaps Glock or Kovalainen or de la Rosa.
 

jez101

Bookies drive nice cars because of people like me
Contributor
One change I would certainly like to see would be for the race start to be timed to avoid the local monsoons. While you can never be sure that it won't rain at 1pm, in places like Malaysia you know it is much more likely to chuck it down at 4pm. Maybe there was a bit of "hoping for a wet race" even when setting the start time, but there is rain (like we get here) and then there is rain (like they get there). When it rains there after 4pm, you are looking perhaps at 80%+ chance of a red flag. It was a bit stupid starting the race as late as they did - not least because it didn't leave the 4 hours before it would have been dark.

I don't think they could continue and were right to throw the flag last Sunday. However much fell and however deep the tread on the tyres is, it was the visibility that was the worst part. The equivalent of cricket's bad light stopped play. It was that and not the slippery conditions that justified it for me - yes, we want to see expert car control so if someone loses it in a lake then tough, but asking guys to drive when they can't see? That's a step too far, you aren't testing any of their skills any more in my view.

I agree with most people though that the SC was out way too long. By then, it should have been one lap and in - as people have said, they should never have left the SC out until people are ready for inters.
 

Viscount

Pole Sitter
Contributor
Although the speed at which the bits were flying about was a lot slower than Massa's crash, granted the tyres flying around were pretty risky, bu they're tethered now.
Fair point, but there is still a major element of danger and without spare cars today that's a lot of cars out before the 2nd corner of the race.

A major issue when driving in heavy rain is the lack of visibility, which led to 2 heavy crashes at Spa 1998 when drivers were just lapping cars. There may be rain lights on the back of cars today, but sometimes the spray is so bad the drivers can't see them.

To those that believe the safety car is out too long in wet conditions like Sunday, how would you decide when to bring in the safety car & deem the track safe?
 

The Artist.....

Champion Elect
I suppose the question is always this: How many cars went off the circuit at Malaysia an had to retire because of the rain? I think it was a grand total of 0! I believe that 22 cars finished the race! (I will need to check that) - once upon a time, there was skill involved in wet races, and in very wet races, half the field (or more) wouldn't finish - due to mistakes from the drivers. This doesn't happen any more, as races are neutralised straight away! Whilst I don't want to see races like Adelaide '91 (Which should have been stopped the second that cars were abandoned in pieces halfway down the Jack Brabham straight), I also don't want to see races like Sepang, where no actual extra skill seems to need to be deployed!
 

jez101

Bookies drive nice cars because of people like me
Contributor
Fair point, but there is still a major element of danger and without spare cars today that's a lot of cars out before the 2nd corner of the race.

A major issue when driving in heavy rain is the lack of visibility, which led to 2 heavy crashes at Spa 1998 when drivers were just lapping cars. There may be rain lights on the back of cars today, but sometimes the spray is so bad the drivers can't see them.

To those that believe the safety car is out too long in wet conditions like Sunday, how would you decide when to bring in the safety car & deem the track safe?
I agree with you on the spray, but personally, I think the safety car should have done one or two laps to check and with the state of the track as it was (rapidly drying) ducked in and let everyone race.

Maybe the spray then was really bad because the wet tyres were dispersing so much water and drying the track so quickly? I'd have to watch again to be sure, but there were definitely a couple of laps too many after the restart under SC (in my opinion). If someone can almost immediately go onto inters at the restart, that would suggest the conditions by then were more than ok.
 

Josh

Champion Elect
I'm not sure that was aquaplaning. When they start to aquaplane, usually more than 1 car is affected. I think Romain was pushing too hard to make up lost ground.
:dunno: that's what he said. I think he was taking a different line than others though so could be there was more water at that part. Not sure though.

edit: and yeah he said he was still on inters. This is what he said (on f1.com)

“It felt like a perfect start off the line; I got a good jump on the others and with the KERS I managed to weave through the cars in front without touching anybody. Coming out of the first two corners I was up to third, which was an amazing feeling. In turn four Mark (Webber) managed to carry a bit more speed through the corner and edged in front. Michael (Schumacher) tried to follow him through but there was not enough space so we touched and I spun. From there things became really tough. The visibility was so poor I couldn’t see anything in front of me. We made the decision to stay out on the intermediate tyres but the rain got heavier and there was far too much water. I had massive aquaplaning into turn five and unfortunately ended up going backwards into the gravel.”
 

Mephistopheles

Banned
Contributor
Apparently when you go to a motor race it says on the ticket Motor racing is dangerous. the drivers do a job that could get them injured they accept that, you are correct to ask where is the line, but like Martin often says this isn't a knitting circle and if they don't want to race then they should stay in bed.

I don't want to see anyone get hurt thats not what I watch the sport for I just feel that while nobody knows where the line is they certainly know when it has been crossed and the safety line has definitely been crossed and has passed into the realms of mollycoddling.

Tap another car and it's a stewards inquiry :rolleyes: these days. and instead of people like Horner and Vettel calling drivers names I preferred it when a driver with a grievance simply went up to the other one and gave him a slap Schumi vs DC spa 98 round one. ding ding.... :spank:
 

Galahad

Not a Moderator
Valued Member
I agree that the tendency has gone too far in the conservative direction, but the difficult thing is knowing exactly where the line should be drawn.

We so often see in wet conditions that cars all go off in the same place. At Sepang, it seemed half the cars going through the fast left-hander behind the pits went through the runoff on the lap the Safety Car was deployed. This presents a particular safety issue for marshals attending to these cars (in situations where they hit a barrier or get stuck in gravel). At Suzuka 1994 a marshal's leg was broken by Martin Brundle's McLaren (I think) in exactly these circumstances, and at the Nurburgring race referenced above I remember a few near-misses at Turn 1.

In short, then: I don't know!
 

The Artist.....

Champion Elect
I agree that the tendency has gone too far in the conservative direction, but the difficult thing is knowing exactly where the line should be drawn.

We so often see in wet conditions that cars all go off in the same place. At Sepang, it seemed half the cars going through the fast left-hander behind the pits went through the runoff on the lap the Safety Car was deployed. This presents a particular safety issue for marshals attending to these cars (in situations where they hit a barrier or get stuck in gravel). At Suzuka 1994 a marshal's leg was broken by Martin Brundle's McLaren (I think) in exactly these circumstances, and at the Nurburgring race referenced above I remember a few near-misses at Turn 1.

In short, then: I don't know!
I think you've just hit the nail on the head! If there's cars getting stuck/abandoned, then there's a case for the safety car! Pre-emptive safety cars are often just too conservative!!!
 

Mephistopheles

Banned
Contributor
I think you've just hit the nail on the head! If there's cars getting stuck/abandoned, then there's a case for the safety car! Pre-emptive safety cars are often just too conservative!!!
Yes just like in dry conditions you don't put a safety car out because you "think" there maybe an accident. a safety car should never be used in a preemptive way, that's like stopping a fight before the first punch is thrown..
 

Slyboogy

World Champion
Contributor
From my armchair I'd have said safety has gone too far. Yet I did not note any drivers who criticised the deployment of the safety car, I seem remember Schumacher and Button (as always) saying it was necessary.

I look back in time to races such as Fuji 2007, that race was far worse than what we saw on Sunday. The drivers were actually allowed to race. It also seems that if the is any amount of aquaplaning at any part of the track they will red flag it, I though part of the skill in F1 isn't just going as fast as possible but also keeping it on the track. Not to mention aside from the safety aspect it certainly is not appealing, the timeslot of the Malaysia GP really hurts it's overall entertainment factor if half the time we go there now we can expect a red flag.
They had traction control and a few other gizmos back in 2007 plus the wet weather tyres I think were better the Pirelli ones seem really poor.
 

no-FIAt-please

Champion Elect
Premium Contributor
They had traction control and a few other gizmos back in 2007 plus the wet weather tyres I think were better the Pirelli ones seem really poor.
Excellent point about the TC, I'd forgotten about that. However we've had such a small amount of running on the full wets it's quite hard to make that judgement I think.
 

HammydiRestarules

Di Resta fan :).
Contributor
I think Charlie Whitting has one of the hardest jobs on an F1 weekend. Whatever he does he'll always get some form of stick from people.

Sometimes i do think he leaves the safety car out too long but then at times i think why hasn't a safety car been used? We as fans sitting and watching it on the tele really don't get an idea of how the conditions are. It's only when a driver tells us from a radio feed that it's about time the safety car is not needed.

All in all he's damned if he does and damned if he doesn't. He can't get every decision right though.
 

HammydiRestarules

Di Resta fan :).
Contributor
But he does tend to take the piss when it's a wet race.
Yes this is very true.

But there are drivers too who complain a lot "it's like a lake".
This can't help him with his decision making when he get's conflicting information from Drivers.

But in the same conditions a 21 year old rookie was keeping the car on the track with intermediate tyres on :thinking:
Yeah Jean Eric Vergne was awesome :).
 
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