Sergio Perez, Red Bull, Paul Ricard, 2022

“Totally wrong” Virtual Safety Car message cost me third place – Perez

2022 French Grand Prix

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Sergio Perez says he lost third place to George Russell when the French Grand Prix restarted because he was given incorrect information about the Virtual Safety Car period ending.

The Red Bull driver lost third place to his rival when the VSC period ended with four laps to go. “It’s a shame that the Virtual Safety Car interfered with the result, to be honest,” Perez told media including RaceFans. “It shouldn’t be the case. But it was today the case.”

During VSC periods drivers are given a time they must not lap quicker than, and their pace difference to it is measured at regular intervals around the lap. When a VSC period ends, drivers plan their restarts to ensure they lose the minimum possible time.

To do this they require accurate information about exactly when the VSC period will end. However Perez said the information he received from the FIA’s systems led him to believe the VSC period was going to end earlier than it did.

“It was really unfortunate what happened with the Virtual Safety Car,” he said. “I got the message that it was going to end out of turn nine, so I went for it. But it didn’t end and I had the message saying that it’s going to end all the way through turn 12.

“I was just too close to it. It seems like George had different information and he was able to prepare better for it.”

Russell immediately passed Perez at the restart and took third place. “It was totally wrong with the system, there was something going on,” said the Red Bull driver. “It said it was going to end out of turn nine and it only ended out of turn 13.”

Perez endured a difficult race at Paul Ricard, finishing behind both Mercedes drivers. “It wasn’t great today,” he admitted. “I have a few bits to analyse. I couldn’t find a good balance what I was comfortable with.”

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    Keith Collantine
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    28 comments on ““Totally wrong” Virtual Safety Car message cost me third place – Perez”

    1. Well, that explains some of how Russell got so close there, that did seem weird, but even so, when Russell made his move I think Perez should have just defended and argued later if needed.

    2. Sam (@undercut677)
      24th July 2022, 16:55

      Arent they told on the dash in real time when it goes green regardless of what turn they thought it would restart?

      1. I think that is what he meant. Dash indicating in T9 that the VSC had ended, while on track marshalling systems still displayed VSC.

      2. yeah, but they are very likely told if they are above or below that overall 40% reduction, which they need in order not to be penalised for exceeding the VSC restrictions.

      3. Yes, but you can carry more momentum to the green light if you know when it will happen. Likely he had to slow back down after turn 9 to cover the delta, which cost him momentum.

    3. As far as I am aware the amount of time between when the Ending notice is given and when it actually ends is random (within limits) to try to prevent drivers second guessing when it ends. Perez second guessed the actual restart pulling out a big lead of Russell and paid the price as he had to slow down to achieve his delta time. If the restart had happened when that gap was at its largest Russell may have looked a bit silly.

      1. That is the case but seems there was an issue with the system so a 2nd vsc ending message was sent. Same info to all teams so Perez has no one to blame but himself.

      2. According to the rules, it should be between 10 and 15 seconds.

      3. No, that is not the case with the VSC though, instead it gives a clear indication when it will end because drivers have to keep to the sector/split times and are given a clear indicator how long until it ends to accurately prepare.

    4. Russell knew not to exceed his delta, in fact he figured on an advantage in going well below that delta and so slowed his car when it seem Perez was way ahead of him. This means when George took off, his overall time for that VC lap was where it needed to be for him to achieve a 40% reduction in pace. Perez wasn’t thinking that far ahead. Even then Perez had DRS but still couldn’t make that move on the Mercedes.

      1. And you know all of this how?
        Spoken to Russell already?

      2. Ti be fair to Perez if (and it’s an if) his assertion is true, then he couldn’t plan properly cos he is being fed incorrect info from the system. Then it would be a matter of whether the bug is on the RB end or FIA end (if latter then it’s just an unfortunate cod it’s neither his or his team’s fault).

        Of course like I said, that is if his assertion is true and we only have his word on it for now.

    5. I’m not quite sure how this software works – as everyone on the track has their pace reduced for the virtual safety car, the race restarts when it’s clear, it doesn’t matter where the cars are on track. So where did the info about the corner come from – cause that would only have applied to Perez. Surely that must have came from the red bull garage and not the software.

      1. I’m not sure how the system works but if the info/feed is from RB then they kinda deserve the lose the place (team error). If it’s some sort of FIA fed system then yeah it’s very unfortunate for Perez/RB.

    6. You just didn’t have the pace, Checo. Honestly, it was interesting that the driver with such tire management couldn’t keep up and Verstappen did much better.

    7. I think there actually was a problem with VSC system. It said VSC ending but didn’t for much longer than usual. Something did go wrong.

      1. Agreed, that was very long and unusual. The F1TV commentators were similarly puzzled. But, fair play to Russell for getting it right. Pérez shouldn’t have been fighting with him in the first place given the pace the car had.

    8. Reminiscent of Rosberg-Ricciardo in the 2015 US GP.

    9. Seems legit, blame the system.

    10. Perez was terrible today. To be shown the way by Hamilton was already bad enough, but not even a podium in a uneventful race like this mus hurt the ego.

    11. Perez is right. Sporting Regulations 56.7 state:

      When the clerk of the course decides it is safe to end the VSC procedure the message “VSC ENDING” will be sent to all teams via 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 the session or continue racing .

      It took almost a minute (instead of 10 to 15 seconds) until the changed to green.

    12. Russell was speeding under the vsc and should have had a penalty.

    13. To do this they require accurate information about exactly when the VSC period will end.

      This is a strange statement. The drivers never know when the VSC will end all they get is the same as everyone else….that it is ending….never exactly when! Sure the teams can make an educated guess….but there is no fixed time between the ending notification and going green.

    14. A few months ago Horner said that in the end, fate takes care everything right. Well …if you believe so, it just did

    15. Marko disagrees with him – says he was asleep at the wheel.
      Never mind the fact he couldn’t do Hamilton is superior machinery.
      One race he drives like a champ – the nexts not so good.
      They could have signed Alonso – it may cost them.

    16. Just get rid of the VSC and use the real thing. Full SC’s are better in every way.

    17. There cannot be information from race control about which corner the VSC ends because all the cars are in different positions around the circuit.

      It’s a timing thing, and maybe somebody at Red Bull got that bit wrong and advised Checo incorrectly. Equally Mercedes were on the ball and gave George the correct information, or perhaps more accurately left it to him to watch for the green light on the dash.

      1. Yep. Perez looking at the wrong place for the error.

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