Virtual Safety Car board, Circuit of the Americas, 2014

Double points & standing restarts out, VSC in for 2015

2015 F1 season

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Virtual Safety Car board, Circuit of the Americas, 2014The FIA has officially confirmed the controversial double points rule will be dropped as of 2015.

The rule, which was introduced this year with the aim of increasing the chance the drivers championship would remain open until the final race, was widely criticised by fans. Its removal from the regulations was confirmed following a meeting of the FIA’s World Motor Sports Council.

A plan to introduce standing starts after every Safety Car period has also been scrapped “after consultation with the teams who raised a number of safety concerns”.

However the Virtual Safety Car, which was trialled following the crash suffered by Jules Bianchi in Japan, will be introduced next year.

“Following tests of the VSC system at the final Events of 2014, the introduction of the system has been approved for 2015,” said the FIA in a statement.

“The VSC procedure may be initiated to neutralise a race upon the order of the clerk of the course. It will normally be used when double waved yellow flags are needed on any section of track and competitors or officials may be in danger, but the circumstances are not such as to warrant use of the safety car itself.”

The WMSC also ruled that following regular Safety Car periods when lapped cars have been allowed to regain the lead lap, they no longer have to rejoin the queue of cars before the race is restarted.

Among the changes to the technical rules for 2015 are a further increase in the minimum weight limit. It had been set to rise from 691kg to 701kg, and will now increase by a further kilogramme to 702kg.

The height of the anti-intrusion panels on the side of the cars has been raised so that they will now reach along the rim of the cockpit to offer greater protection for the driver’s head.

2015 Virtual Safety Car rules

Article 41: Virtual Safety Car (VSC)

41.1 The VSC procedure may be initiated to neutralise a race upon the order of the clerk of the course. It will normally be used when double waved yellow flags are needed on any section of track and competitors or officials may be in danger, but the circumstances are not such as to warrant use of the safety car itself.

41.2 When the order is given to initiate the VSC procedure a message “VSC DEPLOYED” will be displayed on the official messaging system and all FIA light panels will display “VSC”.

41.3 No car may be driven unnecessarily slowly, erratically or in a manner which could be deemed potentially dangerous to other drivers or any other person at any time whilst the VSC procedure is in use. This will apply whether any such car is being driven on the track, the pit entry or the pit lane.

41.4 No car may enter the pits whilst the VSC procedure is in use unless it is for the purpose of changing tyres.

41.5 All competing cars must reduce speed and stay above the minimum time set by the FIA ECU at least once in each marshalling sector (a marshalling sector is defined as the section of track between each of the FIA light panels). All cars must also be above this minimum time when the FIA light panels change to green (see 41.7 below). The stewards may impose either of the penalties under Article 16.3a), b), c) or d) on any driver who fails to stay above the minimum time as required by the above.

41.6 With the exception of the cases listed under a) to d) below, no driver may overtake another car on the track whilst the VSC procedure is in use.

The exceptions are:

a) When entering the pits a driver may pass another car remaining on the track after he has

reached the first safety car line.

b) When leaving the pits a driver may overtake, or be overtaken by, another car on the track

before he reaches the second safety car line.

c) Whilst in the pit entry, pit lane or pit exit a driver may overtake another car which is also in one of these three areas.

d) If any car slows with an obvious problem.

41.7 When the clerk of the course decides it is safe to end the VSC procedure the message “VSC ENDING” will be displayed on the official messaging system and, at any time between 10 and 15 seconds later, “VSC” on the FIA light panels will change to green and drivers may continue racing immediately. After 30 seconds the green lights will be extinguished.

41.8 Each lap completed whist the VSC procedure is in use will be counted as a race lap.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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27 comments on “Double points & standing restarts out, VSC in for 2015”

  1. So basically the same as the WEC’s Full Course Yellow, just with a silly name.

    1. Why is the name silly? I’d say Full Course Yellow would be sillier as the regulation is closer to safety car conditions than simple yellows with the delta time etc.

    2. And for some reason they’ve decided to stick with the delta-time concept instead of using a speed limiter. I can only think that this is so that they can have differing “safe” speeds at different sections of a track. I hope this is of some particular use because there are the drawbacks of a) drivers concentrating on deltas and not the track b) cars running at differing speeds within a section and c) ambiguity and confusion for the viewer when someone gets called for breaking delta times and possibly let off.

      It’s not so-much about neutralising the race for F1 as making drivers race at slower speeds. Apparently.

    3. Yes, Full Course Yellow would be understood around the world. Virtual Safety Car sounds daft, but I guess it’s unique to F1 (not better, just unique) because of the way speed is controlled. The delta times seem to work now without many drivers getting penalised, but I’m concerned it wouldn’t slow them down enough for an accident scene with people on the track.
      I hope they broadcast the 3,2,1 radio countdown to green like in WEC.

  2. “The WMSC also ruled that following regular Safety Car periods when lapped cars have been allowed to regain the lead lap, they no longer have to rejoin the queue of cars before the race is restarted.”

    FINALLY.

    1. Bit of common sense at last.

    2. But how much will they be allowed to get down the road before the leaders catch them again and we see blue flags? The restart shouldn’t occur so soon that the fight amongst the leaders is influenced/cluttered by back markers.

    3. Brundle will be a happy man!

      1. ha ha, yeah,exactly what i was thinking

  3. Some good rules for next year, including the one about lapped cars.

    The only issue is, could they not think of a better name than “Virtual Safety Car”?

  4. Yay! Common sense prevails!

  5. Liam McShane (@)
    3rd December 2014, 19:18

    What’s the point of increasing the minimum weight now? All the teams have slaved away to reach the minimum weight for this year. All the money and time to get the cars slimmed down was for nothing.

    1. I believe the weight increase was to given for the heavier drivers and their need to well…eat. However as with everything in F1 I very much doubt that the weight increase will mean the drivers can eat a extra burger over the winter.

    2. ColdFly F1 (@)
      4th December 2014, 8:20

      The increase in weight is only 1kg – must be an additional (safety) feature on each car. Maybe the increased height of head protectors.
      @motor_mad, @woodyd91

    3. Oeiiiiiiiiiiii! (another davidnotcoulthard account) (@)
      4th December 2014, 15:20

      @motor_mad They get more ballast. I think F1 cars usually come underweight and the reason tall drivers suffer is because the more ballast a car has with the same weight, the better performance gets.

  6. “41.4 No car may enter the pits whilst the VSC procedure is in use unless it is for the purpose of changing tyres.”

    Weird rule. Is this to prevent people going through the pits to save time as it may be faster to do this rather than staying out?

    What if you want to retire the car?

    1. Hans (@hanswesterbeek)
      3rd December 2014, 22:21

      To retire a car: simply change its tires first :-)

    2. @mike-dee I think it is prevent drivers serving penalties whereby they won’t lose as much time. That said, I do think it ought to say that they can be put into the garage too, so cars can retire, like you said.

    3. Not only that. What if a car had his frond wing fail for example and stuck under the car? The driver wouldn’t be able to enter and remove it? He will have to continue going until it shatters under the car or something and the driver loses control?
      Remember Alonso at Malaysia 2013?

  7. Hans (@hanswesterbeek)
    3rd December 2014, 22:23

    “The height of the anti-intrusion panels on the side of the cars has been raised so that they will now reach along the rim of the cockpit to offer greater protection for the driver’s head”

    What does this mean? I especially don’t understand the part about the rim of the cockpit. Can somebody explain or draw this?

    1. Oeiiiiiiiiiiii! (another davidnotcoulthard account) (@)
      4th December 2014, 15:17

      @hanswesterbeek I’m gussing HANS is being move a bit forward in the cockpit. I can’t tell for sure, though.

      1. Hans (@hanswesterbeek)
        4th December 2014, 15:20

        Either you’re trying to answer my question, or you’re trying to be funny. Neither is working.

  8. For a moment I though, “oh crap, the Valencia circuit is back?”

  9. I glad to know tha drop of double points.
    I would like to see introductions of of some points for the:
    * Pole
    * Faster lap
    * Driver with more overtaken on the race
    Ricardo

    1. I wouldn’t. Otherwise you may get the absolutely ridiculous situation seen in GP3 this year.

  10. ColdFly F1 (@)
    4th December 2014, 9:05

    VSC restart can be exciting

    41.7 When the clerk of the course decides it is safe to end the VSC procedure the message “VSC ENDING” will be displayed on the official messaging system and, at any time between 10 and 15 seconds later, “VSC” on the FIA light panels will change to green and drivers may continue racing immediately.

    If some cars are in close formation then imagine them constantly checking their time deltas with one eye, checking the light panels with the other, and readying themselves to accelerate and race the car in front any moment.

  11. Oeiiiiiiiiiiii! (another davidnotcoulthard account) (@)
    4th December 2014, 15:15

    There goes Bernie’s plan to undervalue F1 a bit, I guess?

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