Safety Car, Baku, Formula Two, 2019

New Safety Car rule will make restarts “less exciting” – Norris

2019 Azerbaijan Grand Prix

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Lando Norris predicts any Safety Car restarts in today’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix won’t be as lively in previous years due to a rules change.

Until the end of last season drivers were allowed to overtake other cars after ‘Safety Car Line One’, situated before the pit lane exit, on race restarts. However for the 2019 F1 season this rule has been changed.

Article 39.8 of the sporting regulations now states that during a Safety Car period “no driver may overtake another car on the track, including the Safety Car, until he passes the [control] Line for the first time after the Safety Car has returned to the pits.” The control line, also referred to as the start/finish line, is much closer to turn one.

Norris believes this is a change for the “worse” which will make restarts “less exciting” as the race leader will not begin accelerating to racing speeds until much later.

“A lot of the restarts you saw last year, everyone was overtaking alongside over the start/finish line, so you have less chance to overtake or make places up,” he explained in response to a question from RaceFans.

“If you’re ahead I guess it’s better, less chance you’d get overtaken. If you’re behind, it’s maybe worse, less chance to overtake.”

Nyck de Vries, F2, Baku, 2019
Some F2 restarts were more orderly than others
His McLaren team mate Carlos Sainz Jnr echoed his view.

“Basically there’s less slipstream effect because the leader starts accelerating at the start/finish line, which you only go up to fifth, sixth gear before you brake into turn one so there’s basically no slipstreaming, no overtaking, unless you really go for it into turn one.”

During Saturday’s Formula 2 race McLaren reserve driver Sergio Sette Camara was knocked into a wall by Luca Ghiotto during one Safety Car restart.

“As Lando said probably [it’ll be] a bit less exciting,” added Sainz, “unless you are F2 and you start crashing into people before that, because in the F2 race it was a bit chaotic to see all the drivers bunching up before the start/finish line.”

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19 comments on “New Safety Car rule will make restarts “less exciting” – Norris”

  1. Until the end of last season drivers were allowed to overtake other cars after ‘Safety Car Line One’,
    – What about the case of M. Schumacher passing Alonso between SC-line 1 and the S/F line in Monaco nine years ago?

    1. @jerejj, I believe the reason for that is because it took place on the last lap – there was a section of the regulations at the time which stated that, if the safety car was still deployed at the start of the final lap, then it would return to the pits at the end of the lap and the drivers were to take the chequered flag without overtaking another car.

      It seems that, had he done that on any other lap than the last one, it would have been fine – it’s just because there was a slightly different procedure for the final lap that seemed to catch him out.

      1. Tommy Scragend
        28th April 2019, 8:30

        Also the problem with the Schumacher incident was unclear or confusing instructions from race control. They gave the green flag and “safety car in this lap”, when they should probably have given something like “race will finish under safety car conditions, no overtaking”.

        I was no fan of Michael Schumacher, but I thought he was hard done by in that instance.

    2. It confirms the old rule @jerejj.

      I have many issues with the safety car (primarily the time it is out to let people unlap themselves), but overtaking before start-finish line is not one of them. The chasing drivers normally already have a huge advantage as the gap to the guy in front has been slashed.

    3. This year’s new rule was a return to the old way. Between 2011 and 2018 drivers were allowed to pass after SC Line 1, before that drivers weren’t allowed to pass before the finish line and now they’re once again not allowed to pass before the finish line

    4. @jerejj The FIA claimed they were still behind the SC, but that the SC was taken out on the last lap to have a nice picture for the telly.

      But then Schumacher saw a green flag and all the SC signs were removed by the marshalls. So he assumed that the SC period had actually ended instead of “finishing under SC conditions with no SC in the lead”. If the latter were the case the yellow lights/flags should have remained as would the SC signs (for which there actually was a precedent).

      I’m not a fan of Schumacher and all his cheating antics, but in this case he clearly did nothing wrong. Besides the penalty was ridiculous too. They could have simply put Schumacher back behind Alonso. Instead Damon Hill claimed they only had the option of a 20 second penalty. Utterly ridiculous. He should have known that the stewards can pick whatever penalty they deem acceptable. Or he should not have been stewarding.

      1. Instead Damon Hill claimed they only had the option of a 20 second penalty.

        If only I could put my finger on why Damon may wanna see Schumacher punished!!!! Lol.

        1. Hill knew people would go wild if he issued a penalty on schumacher because of their earlier rivalry (and hill already took schumacher out last, in 1995, so enough “revenge” imo), in fact he reported receiving death threats, but that it were the other stewards that voted for it.

  2. I still believe F1 should introduce a restart zone like other series. Get the cars in line at a constant speed, and the leader can’t restart until said zone. Once he has restarted, green flag

    Simple, effective and exciting

  3. The best thing of Baku was the restart behind the safety car…..

  4. I never had a problem with the old rule, it created some interesting re-starts.
    If one driver is quicker witted or more skilled than another then it’s fair game to go for it I feel.

  5. There must be a fair reason for the change. Safety or whatever. But again, it’s detrimental to the excitement and it was probably a characteristic of this track… It was like a F1 drag race, it was awesome… And now thats probably gone…

    1. “There must be a fair reason for the change.”
      Mercedes didn’t like it.

    2. I think the new rules are better for this track alone. I don’t think the leader should be at a disadvantage after a re-start.

  6. So what? They’ll go slow on the entire 2km straight only to speed up at the end? Doesn’t look particularly funny.

  7. Uhm.. for me, F2 restarts were looking much more competitive than with previous ruleset. Old F1 rule was such a anticlimax always when leader started the race in some corner section so it was instantly single file boredom. Now, it’s reaction start so regardless of slipstream, there is a change.

  8. I prefer this because the leader shouldn’t be (even further, they’ve already lost any gap they might have had) disadvantaged by someone else’s mistake. Doesn’t matter at most circuits but Baku is a fine example of where it will be beneficial.

    SC isn’t there for fun and games, so it doesn’t matter that it’s ‘less exciting’.

  9. The safety car is there for safety & NOT to create entertainment.

    There should be zero consideration put into how exciting (Or not) a SC & it’s restarts may be when formulating the rules.

    1. BlackJackFan
      29th April 2019, 4:23

      Logical and sensible…

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