V8 Supercars explains findings of Perth Safety Car issue

The Nissan Safety Car leads the field at Barbagallo Raceway

The Nissan Safety Car leads the field at Barbagallo Raceway

V8 Supercars says it has identified several areas of improvement for its Safety Car procedures following a full review of the events that took place during Race 9 of the championship at Barbagallo Raceway last weekend.

Controversy erupted during the race as several teams and drivers felt they had been disadvantaged by being held behind the Safety Car before being waved passed.

Having been quick to emphasise after the race that “the correct protocols were observed” during the deployment, V8 Supercars now admits that a poorly worded instruction from Race Control to the Safety Car driver led to unnecessary confusion amongst team personnel and spectators.

A statement from V8 Supercars explaining the situation also stressed the point that “during any Safety Car period there remains a likelihood that some cars may gain advantage, and some may be disadvantaged.”

See below for the full statement from V8 Supercars …

V8 Supercars has completed a comprehensive review of the deployment of the Safety Car during Race 9 at the Tradingpost Perth Challenge last weekend.

V8 Supercars accepts that there were some errors during the deployment of the Safety Car, specifically the wording of which car to hold behind it which led to confusion amongst race teams and spectators.

V8 Supercars is comfortable, however, that this error in wording had no impact on the end result, where in fact the review reaffirmed the fact that during any Safety Car period there remains a likelihood that some cars may gain advantage, and some may be disadvantaged.

The review assisted in identifying improvements that can be made to minimise the impact on the race result during the deployment of the Safety Car, including the deployment of the Safety Car as soon as practical after the displaying of the Safety Car boards and flags, the importance of the correct wording conveyed to the Safety Car from Race Control, as well as the need to investigate what technology may be available to assist in neutralising the field and more quickly pick up the race leader.

Plotting the position of the key cars was crucial to understanding the outcome. While many cars were affected by the Safety Car deployment, the focus of the review centred on the positions of cars 1, 12, 888 and the Safety Car relative to each other.

Recognising the flow on effects of a short circuit, particularly one where the pit lane from entry to exit is 430 metres; just under 20 percent of the total circuit length, was also important.

There was, partly due to the length of the pit exit road, a longer period than usual for the Safety Car to reach the circuit.

Seconds after the Safety Car entered the circuit the leader, Car#1, entered the Pit Lane.

By then Car#888, and others had already been in Pit Lane, and they exited not far behind the Safety Car. With the Safety Car on track it had to neutralise the field and pick up the race leader. Car#55 was the first car in the line and, known to be multiple laps behind the leader, was waved past the Safety Car. The next car was #888, and the instruction given to the Safety Car by Race Control was that #888 was the leader. Hold #888.

This error in terminology by the Race Director meant that the teams and TV viewers were, within reason, of the view that Race Control believed #888 was the leader. It is acknowledge the wording – hold #888, it is the next car approaching – would have been more appropriate.

At this moment, with Car #1 (still the leader) in the pit lane, there was no “active” leader for the Safety Car to hold behind it.

Under the current protocol, the race director had to hold all cars behind the Safety Car and wait until either Car #1 rejoined the circuit as the leader or a new leader was established.

Critical to note is a new leader could not be established until: That car physically passes the actual leader while it is stationary inPit Lane, and then that car then has to cross the electronic safety car timing which is immediately after the end of the pit exit road.

Comments are closed.