Stricter rules for yellow flags from Monaco
By Mat Coch
Thursday 25th May, 2023 - 2:55am
Rules surrounding doubled waved yellow flags have been tightened ahead of this weekend’s F1 Monaco Grand Prix.
The FIA has introduced new restrictions surrounding track sections covered by double waved yellow flags when the field is under Virtual or full Safety Car conditions.
It comes following research from the sport’s governing body into previous incidents and consultation with F1 drivers and teams.
Previously, the FIA International Sporting Code required a driver to ‘reduce speed significantly’ and ‘be prepared to stop’.
The regulation was therefore open to interpretation as to what ‘significantly’ meant.
It also created the scenario where a driver, off the back of the Safety Car queue, was encouraged to race back to the chain of cars – potentially placing trackside officials at risk as they tended to an incident.
From Monaco, the FIA will define a maximum speed at which drivers are allowed to navigate areas where double yellow flags are displayed when the field is under Virtual Safety Car or Safety Car control.
“What we want to do is to provide drivers with a tool to help them during incidents and to make races even safer,” explained Tim Goss, FIA Technical Director.
“For some years with the Safety Car and Virtual Safety Car we have used delta times, a reference to a speed limit that we have around the track.
“So, when there is a physical or Virtual Safety Car, the drivers are informed of that delta time on their dashboard display and by radio tones and they have to maintain a positive value, meaning they are slower than the reference time for the lap.
“However, there are occasions where cars can legitimately temporarily increase their speed to recover any time they have lost relative to this reference time.
“What we want to do now is to extend the use of the delta time concept to ensure that cars are strictly slowed to the required delta time when double-waved yellow flags are shown under a Virtual Safety Car or Safety Car, so we are introducing a dedicated reference speed limit in the area where those flags are displayed.”
Hypothetically, the change would eliminate the need for the race to be stopped for an incident like Alex Albon had during the Australian Grand Prix.
Testing conducted earlier this year informed the FIA that the ‘wet Safety Car reference speed limit’ achieved an appropriate step in terms of safety.
In the car, drivers will receive audible alerts and dash messages as they approach a zone covered by double yellows.
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