Formula One is testing out a “virtual safety car”
In the event of a dangerous situation on the race track, such as a crash or pileup, several forms of motorsport deploy a safety car which leads the race cars around the track at a safer speeds. In the wake of Formula One driver Jules Bianchi’s terrifying crash at the Japanese Grand Prix, however, Formula One officials have decided to begin testing out a system which could render safety cars obsolete, according to BBC.
After the practice rounds at the United States Grand Prix on Friday, teams tested a new “virtual safety car” program which forced the racers to reduce their speeds to about 35% less than what they would be in a normal dry lap. The idea is that this will force drivers to slow down for safety reasons without needing to deploy a safety car on the race track.
“There are positives and negatives. When you’re wheel-to-wheel and the system comes on you can’t just hit the brakes like we are now to get the speed down,” Jenson Button told Sky Sports after the test. “In that respect it’s very tricky. I like the idea but you do spend a long time looking at your steering wheel. With the way the Safety Car boards are now and with the lap that we do when there’s no Safety Car you can dip below the time and you get away with it because as long as you cross the finish line positive, you are okay.”