MONACO (AP) – Formula One drivers will be bound by stricter speed limits while driving behind safety cars in double yellow flag zones in a bid to improve safety, governing body Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) said on Wednesday.
The new measures apply to driving behind both safety cars and virtual safety cars being deployed and will begin at this weekend’s Monaco Grand Prix. The decision was made following research and reviews of previous incidents and in consultation with the teams and drivers, FIA added in a statement.
Previously, drivers where required only to significantly reduce their speed and not overtake in zones where, for example, debris was blocking the track or where marshals were stood nearby.
“That requirement will be become more precise and strictly enforceable, with drivers now being required to meet a set maximum speed limit in areas where double yellow flags are displayed,” the FIA said. The FIA’s technical Director Tim Goss said things will become easier on track for both drivers and track workers.
“What we want to do is to provide drivers with a tool to help them during incidents and to make races even safer,” Goss said.
Drivers will not be taken by surprise since they will receive both visual and audible warnings when approaching a double yellow flag zone. Delta requirements will be reset to zero at the start of a double yellow flag zone, making it easier to follow the new speed limit.
The FIA did not say what the new speed limit will be but head of electronics Olivier Hulot is confident the new measures will work smoothly.
“We have already brought in a system of warnings for yellow and double yellow. The driver gets a warning in the marshalling sector ahead of the yellow or the double yellow,” Hulot said. “For the FIA, safety is paramount and when there is a hazard on the track then we have to minimise the risks no matter what.”