Yellow-flag speed limiter could be sooner than later

As the FIA mulls over a potential yellow-flag safety procedure that would reduce the speed of all cars traveling through a particular caution zone, race director Charlie Whiting says this system could be tested as soon as the USGP in Austin according to Mr. Noble’s report over at AUTOSPORT.

There is a fine line on this issue that I imagine would be the intricate details of sending an immediate rev limiting signal to the car and controlling its speed depending on what the car is in the process of doing when you send the command.

Whiting admits as much in his quote in the article but I also wonder if there is another way along the lines that Gary Anderson proposed whereby the drivers, upon entering a yellow-flag zone, would press a caution limiter. You could see where reaction times would be different for different drivers but the FIA could also see these reaction times and penalize if necessary.

However, for safety’s sake, taking this step out of driver’s discretion may be the only way to ensure that late button-pressers wouldn’t gain track position on those who pressed their limiter button appropriately.

The logistics seem achievable in that two-way telemetry and system commands are possible in F1 as the 2002 season taught us but it seems like the details of sending these commands for particular zones and then releasing them will be the task at hand.

Charlie told AUTOSPORT:

“It is a very straightforward, easy thing to do in a small area. You have to think carefully about what a car is doing at the time you send this message to it.

“So you need to give drivers warning of what is going to come, and then time to make the necessary adjustments.”

Interesting to see if they test it in practice and hear more detail on how the system might work. I’m still not quite convinced that the system couldn’t be easier than a slow command being sent to each car in a particular zone but to be fair, the FIA know what they can and can’t control and the responsiveness to this type of two-way communication is. Perhaps this is the easiest way to solve for the rate of speed in caution zones.


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