Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Safety Car Lines

Micheal's back, and the controversy rolls on.

The most recent issue is about the post-safety-car, pre-finish pass of Alonso's Ferrari. Personally I find the Steward's findings to be the correct one, although I freely admit that I may be biased by the colour of Alonso's car.

There is a valid argument on Mercedes' part, in that the messages issued by Race Control and combined with the withdrawal of the SC boards, the green flags and and green lights do imply that the track was open for racing -- all, what 250 meters of it between the safety car line and the finish line. Given that, the Stewards' findings regarding a race ending under Safety Car provisions can be argued to not be in force.


Opening the track for racing over all of two corners and all of 250 meters of track is a recipe for chaos. If everyone has a go at the car in front, someone somewhere is going to hit the car in front of him, and at Monaco especially this will result in a large chain-reaction that will probably prevent the cars behind from passing at all -- if they even manage to avoid being involved.

So while Mercedes' interpretations of the rules may be technically correct, opening up such a condition is in nobody's best interest in the long run.

The rules should be clarified so that races that end under Safety Cars are explicitly to end under Safety Car conditions -- something along the lines of "if the race is under Safety Car conditions at the beginning of the final lap, these Safety Car conditions will be automatically extended to the end of the race" or something equally unambiguous.

Alternatively the FIA could look at getting rid of the Safety Car line entirely and just use the Start/Finish line as the Safety Car line -- something which would make all this end-of-race-procedure discussion moot.