Letâ€™s open the conversation folks! If you listened to Mondayâ€™s Brazilian GP review, you heard Paul Charsley and I disagree on how best to manage a safety car period. The two schools of thought are:
During the Safety car period, the lapped cars should move out of the way and be re-arranged in current order so as not to interfere with the leading cars. This is similar to NASCARâ€™s process in the US and was the standard in F1 for a time.
The other school of thought is that the leaders used their skill, car, tires, engine to get around the lapped traffic and thus deserve the buffer on a re-start. In Brazilâ€™s case, Red Bullâ€™s Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber had made the best use of lapped traffic leaving Ferrariâ€™s Fernando Alonso behind a host of lapped traffic which cost him time after the re-start.
Today, AUTOSPORT ran a story about some drivers wanting the Safety Car period to revert back to the old system of moving lapped traffic out of the way, re-setting the order and then re-starting the race.
Force Indiaâ€™s Adrian Sutil said: “I think it was a complete mess. I was a fan of the rules from last year, that you could lap yourself back, it was all good.
“We have seen so many problems caused by lapping cars after safety cars. Singapore for example, the [Mark] Webber/[Lewis] Hamilton incident happened because Webber had to lap another car, a Virgin, and he went out of the corner slower and created chaosâ€.
Rubens Barrichello said: “I would love to see Formula 1 a bit more flexible because in Brazil there was no doubt that it would have been a lot better to see the backmarkers coming back, and I was one of them in a way. But then they would argue that in Monaco in a wet race, how are you going to do it?
Robert Kubica added: “I think it would be better [with the old rules], but it is very difficult. There are positives and negatives. It will take longer time because drivers need to re-catch the pack, but it is complicated for the fans. Everybody after the safety car would like to see the fight.”
Nick Heidfeld Said: “We have discussed it in briefings. We had it in the past and there was a dangerous situation once so that is the danger, but the danger is also if there are lapped slow cars in the middle of the field trying to let you by and you don’t see them. Yes I would prefer the restart to be the proper order.”
Nico Rosberg said: “I don’t think it is an unmanageable situation as long as it is clear for everybody. That is the one area where everyone needs to improve so that all those drivers are informed very quickly that they are being lapped by me, for example.
“I felt like I was in the middle of it, as I had three guys in front who didn’t know they were being lapped and two guys behind who were trying to un-lap themselves.
“It is a question of communication being better from team to driver and from race control to the team. So I don’t think we need to straightaway think about changing the rules.”
So what do you think? How should F1 handle the SC periodâ€™s during races? We want to know what you like to see. Do you agree with the drivers (me)? Or in the purest sense of the racing series, do you agree with Paul? Leave your comment below.