F1 to correct VSC loophole ‘worth 0.15 seconds’

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In the round-up: FIA race director Charlie Whiting says the FIA will correct a ‘loophole’ in the regulations which Sebastian Vettel drew attention to following the Spanish Grand Prix, which could allow drivers to gain up to 0.15 seconds per lap during Virtual Safety Car conditions.

What they say

It’s the calculation that the system does when it looks at the speed of the car every 50 metres, it’s based on the distance from the timing line. So if you can shorten that you can gain tiny fractions. The way we calculate that, our software guys [say] you can possibly gain about 150 milliseconds [per lap]. But in Formula 1 that’s worth having. But that’s the extent of it as far as it was explained to me by our software people. We can rectify it to make it a bit more bulletproof.

Quotes: Dieter Rencken

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Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a motorsport and automotive journalist with a particular interest in hybrid systems, electrification, batteries and new fuel technologies....

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19 comments on “F1 to correct VSC loophole ‘worth 0.15 seconds’”

  1. Good to hear they will address the VSC issue. I remember the narrative being “He’s just grumpy after losing a position to Verstappen under the VSC”, but it seems he was actually right.

    1. This change may also have a safety aspect. From what I could understand (feel free to correct), the drivers gained if they straightlined from apex-to-apex but lost if they weaved to keep their tyres up to temperature at the slower speeds and so were encouraged by the VSC rules to use heavy accelerate and brake cycles to manage temperatures, leading to incidents like Verstappen and Stroll at Spain.

      1. I don’t think this is quite accurate, my understanding is that for any given timing line, one end of it will be closer to the next (for example, the end on the apex). So, they can weave, accelerate, brake, reverse, do donuts or anything they like, as long as they begin the 50m sector at the correct end, then they’ve gained that advantage.

        Though clearly, you’re right that it could affect safety, if every driver is trying to hit one extreme of each timing line, then braking/accelerating maneuvers are more likely to cause run-ins – the effective width of the track is reduced to the width of a car every 50m, for maximum gains.

    2. That’s BeEs nase.
      The potential 0.15s is the same for everybody.
      And there is hardly an ‘unusual line’ next to the pit lane (you gain on the curvy bits).
      Vettel lost out due to a poor pit stop!

    3. Yes, typical Vettel, when he can exploit a loophole he’s fine, but when he feels on the receiving end he’s “grumpy” (or when he gets penalized for abusing a “loophole”)

      Still, 150ms difference over a full lap hardly loses you a position. Which they wouldn’t even be able to attain in normal conditions.

      1. @coldfly

        That’s BeEs nase.
        The potential 0.15s is the same for everybody.
        And there is hardly an ‘unusual line’ next to the pit lane (you gain on the curvy bits).
        Vettel lost out due to a poor pit stop!

        What on earth is ‘BeEs’ supposed to mean? Bovine excrement?

        Yes, typical Vettel, when he can exploit a loophole he’s fine, but when he feels on the receiving end he’s “grumpy” (or when he gets penalized for abusing a “loophole”)

        Okay, guys. What on earth are you reading into my comment?
        Vettel’s lost position had absolutely nothing to do with the point he raised about the VSC. That’s precisely my point, for crying out loud!
        For reference, see these two comments from back when it was a fresh talking point: 1 & 2.

        What I’m getting at is a verbal foul play in the original article that strings two unrelated facts together to create the heavy implication that the true reason for Vettel’s complaint is the place he lost to Verstappen. When in fact these two things have obviously nothing to do with each other.

        1. Well the verbal foul play was just. The only reason he was complaining was because he lost the place.

          When he made use of that same loophole before he didn’t care to complain.

          1. @patrickl

            The only reason he was complaining was because he lost the place.

            But that’s nonsense. I’ve gone through all of this before, that’s why I linked my old comments. Or take Vettel’s own comments from the article that started the discussion:

            The FIA’s supplying us with a system that makes us follow a delta time and everybody has to slow down. But I think everybody’s aware that you can have a faster way to go under Virtual Safety Car than just follow the delta by saving distance.

            So I think we should have a system that hasn’t got this loop or this hole because it forces us to drive ridiculous lines around the track. Everybody’s doing it, I don’t think it’s a secret.

            “Everybody’s aware”, “it forces us”, “Everybody’s doing it”
            => He does it, everybody does it, it’s a zero-sum game. Therefore, there is no possible connection with him losing a place.
            Also, see what he himself had to say about losing that position:

            It’s my mistake, I came into the box a little bit hot and overshot the position and then the guys have to reshuffle and that cost us a bit of time. I had some traffic in the pit lane as well, I’m not sure, I need to have a look.

            As for that traffic, see the comment I linked to:
            The one thing they didn’t forsee was Pérez driving past the Ferrari box at just the wrong moment, so that they had to delay Vettel by at least two seconds in order to avoid a penalty for an unsafe release. Vettel’s pit stop took over 5 seconds, over 2.2 seconds slower than his first pit stop, making it the third-slowest pit stop of the race, only surpassed by Vandoorne (5-second penalty) and Ocon (rear wheel nut took over 20 seconds to be tightened).
            This delay is what allowed Verstappen through.

            The VSC issue Vettel’s lost position
            Two entirely separate issues.

            When he made use of that same loophole before he didn’t care to complain.

            Ah, come on. You’re conflating things that don’t have any common denominator, except the VSC.
            The “loophole” you’re probably referring to was his pit stop in Australia, where he minimised his time by speeding up between the first safety car line and the pit entry, narrowly coming out ahead of Hamilton after his pit stop.
            The thing is: That’s a different loophole altogether, and one that has been exploited by every driver in the history of the VSC ever. Including Hamilton. It’s the standard procedure, and another loophole that Whiting et al. are looking at:

            Where the advantage can be gained, as we’ve found out, is coming into the pits and going out. But everyone knows that, it’s now new. What we’re looking at now is to also use the SC1 line, SC2 line and the timing line as mini-sectors so as to minimise any advantage a driver might be able to get.

            Again, “everyone knows that, it’s not new”. Again from that very same article. I don’t post these links for the hell of it, I post them because I expect them to be read.
            Mercedes were well aware of that loophole, which, again makes this a zero-sum game. The one thing they weren’t aware of was their faulty calculation of the VSC pit stop window. But that’s their problem.

            Am I finally getting my point through?

  2. I wonder what Mclaren will end up doing. Seeing them trundling round in F1 in no-mans land is pretty grim viewing.

    If Mclaren decide to go to Indy Cars maybe they can try to match Mercedes-Benz and complete a triple crown of their own!

    1915 – First win at Indy 500
    1935 – First win at Monaco GP
    1952 – First win at Le Mans 24hr

    1984 – First win at Monaco GP
    1995 – First win at Le Mans 24hr
    ???? – Indy 500

    1. 1972 Mark Donohue/McLaren – Penske Racing Ent
      1974 & 1976 Johnny Rutherford/McLaren – Bruce McLaren Motor Racing

    2. You know at Indy it is always a Dallara that wins don’t you?

      “Dallara Automobili is an Italian chassis manufacturer for various motor racing series, being most notable for its near-monopoly in Formula Three since 1993. Dallara also produces the chassis used by the IndyCar Series, Indy Lights, FIA Formula 2 Championship, World Series by Renault, GP3 Series, Super Formula, Formula E and ADAC Formel Masters and is one of the manufacturers in the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series.”

  3. A lap time target of 3m20s around Le Mans (or Circuit de la Sarthe). Why specifically 3:20?
    – Regarding the VSC-topic: I’m looking forward to seeing how well they are in the end going to be able to block this ‘loophole’ presumably worth 0.15 seconds.

    1. Just a W.A.G. – maybe because it’s a nice round number of 200 seconds?

    2. Sush meerkat
      16th June 2018, 9:01

      The target time of 3minutes and 20 seconds was calculated using the scientifically accurate method of “which arbitrary number should we tell racing teams and press?”

      It’s the same method that formula 1 used when stating cars should be 5 seconds faster, a memo Williams never received

      1. a memo Williams never received


        Still need to find the first spectator without a stopwatch who noticed the 5s faster.
        Even the 6 odd minutes we won by finishing early have been consumed by extra 10m pre race ad breaks.

    3. @jerejj, part of it is down to safety – there are sections of the track where the ACO is limited on the changes it can make, and there have been serious or even fatal accidents in recent years (such as the GT driver Allan Simonsen in 2013 when he crashed at Terte Rouge), leading to the ACO wanting to reduce cornering speeds.

      It’s also trying to avoid too much of a performance gap between the LMP1 cars and the rest of the field, which has sometimes resulted in accidents when the LMP1 cars were lapping traffic.

    4. It’s more or less what the cars take to lap the circuit now, so that the performance of the cars isn’t affected that much by the rules, when all is said and done. That’s my take on it anyway. And I guess it’s easier to use 3:20 for reference as a 3:18:684.

    5. There’s always been a specified target, in order to manage risk. With the newer barriers starting to appear, the target time can now be dropped by 10 seconds from the 3:30 that was the official longstanding target.

  4. My vote goes to ‘Le Mans Supercar’

Comments are closed.