Drivers call for Safety Car restart rule change

Speedcafe.com

Monday 21st August, 2017 - 4:00am

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The Safety Car leads the field at Sydney Motorsport Park

Drivers have called for Supercars to change the Safety Car restart procedure following the high profile incident in Race 17 at Sydney Motorsport Park.

The regulations were thrust into the spotlight when a contentious restart triggered contact between Shane van Gisbergen and Scott McLaughlin, which then led to the latter turning around the Red Bull driver at Turn 2.

A host of drivers believe the incident should prompt the championship to make changes to the rules.

Current regulations state that, although overtaking is not permitted before the control line, drivers can overlap once past the apex of the final turn and the green flag is displayed.

However, with a long approach to pit lane, and the late withdrawal of the Safety Car at Sydney Motorsport Park, the race leader was unable to accelerate out of the final corner.

“We had all that drama yesterday and did exactly the same thing on Sunday. The leader couldn’t go at the last corner,” said Sunday race winner Jamie Whincup.

“I don’t know why they didn’t just let (the Safety Car) go.

“We had this issue two or three years ago and learned from that. And I feel we would have learned from yesterday but we’ve made the same mistake

“The issue is letting us go early.”

The feeling was echoed by team-mate van Gisbergen, who copped a 33-second penalty for overlapping before the green flags were displayed, prior to contact with McLaughlin in Race 17.

“I think we can do a better job as a series for that,” van Gisbergen added.

“Our rules are really good when it is done right, but when it’s bad and there’s overlap, it’s just things can be better.

“We knew we were going green that lap but they still held the Safety Car until well after the last sector started. It could have been a little better, especially after seeing what it caused the day before.”

David Reynolds was among the victims of Race 17, Turn 2 melee triggered by the Safety Car restart.

The Erebus Motorsport driver believes the overlapping rule should be scrapped altogether, simplifying the process and thereby reducing the risk of a similar incident in future.

“When the Safety Car was released, the overlapping, technically you’re not allowed to pass but overlapping is passing,” Reynolds told Speedcafe.com.

“There should be no overlapping, no passing until the control line; then that eliminates all that.

“Once again, very confused just on the rules.”

It’s a sentiment shared by Nissan Motorsport’s Michael Caruso, who believes Supercars needs to amend the rule sooner rather than later.

“I think sometimes we just try to overcomplicate our rulebook,” Caruso told Speedcafe.com.

“I mean, we’ve all been racing forever, why allow the overlap before the start finish line?

“At the end of the day you have a Safety Car because there’s an accident or what have you on the track.

“I think let’s just get the race going again and let everybody race it out, rather than everybody’s focussing on what they’re doing coming out of the last corner.

“You see it the last few times with cars fanning out. It doesn’t look good.

“There’s going to be a big accident one day, and for what; for a Safety Car restart.”