FIA introduce new delta rules for double yellow flag zones

Spread the love
Photo credit: Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team

Following research and reviews of previous on-track incidents along with a consultation between the teams and drivers, the FIA have announced that from this weekend’s Monaco Grand prix it will introduce stricter speed restrictions under a Safety Car or Virtual Safety Car, in a bid to increase safety.

The FIA International Sporting Code states that when double yellow flags are waved, “there is a hazard wholly or partly blocking the track and/or marshals working on or beside the track”. This required the drivers to ‘reduce their speed significantly’.

However, the new rule which will be enforced from the upcoming weekend will be more precise and strictly enforceable, as drivers will be required to meet a set maximum speed limit in areas where double yellow flags are waved.

FIA Technical Director, Tim Goss, shed more light on the project.

“What we want to do is to provide drivers with a tool to help them during incidents and to make races even safer.

“For some years with the Safety Car and Virtual Safety Car we have used delta times, a reference to a speed limit that we have around the track.”

Goss added: “However, there are occasions where cars can legitimately temporarily increase their speed to recover any time they have lost relative to this reference time.

“What we want to do now is to extend the use of the delta time concept to ensure that cars are strictly slowed to the required delta time when double waved yellow flags are shown under a Virtual Safety Car or Safety Car.”

The FIA have decided that the wet weather safety car speed limit would achieve a good step in safety, following numerous track testing at different venues.

The restrictions won’t catch drivers out, thankfully, as they will be alerted of upcoming zones on their dashboard and through radio messages.

Olivier Hulot, FIA’s Head of F1 Electronics explains how the system works, “Under a Virtual Safety Car, when a driver enters the double yellow, what he sees on the dashboard is zero, so the delta time resets, and he then has to drive below the new speed limit.

“He again gets a positive or negative delta relative to that speed limit. So, it’s the same principle as before, except that it’s specific to a double yellow zone.”