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Should F1 keep, modify or remove the Virtual Safety Car?

Should F1 keep, modify or remove the Virtual Safety Car?

23 September - 08:53 Last update: 11:02


The discussion about a the Virtual Safety Car has flared up again after the Italian Grand Prix and so we at GPblog asked how the editors of the various editions view this. Should the VSC stay in F1, should the rules be changed or should the Safety Car be used more often?

Marcos Gil - GPblog Brazil

I think the VSC works pretty well. The idea is, basically, be just like the real SC, but without all the protocols that delay the restart. We already have so many complicated protocols in F1, the VSC is one of the easiest to understand and apply during the races. So I believe that we shouldn't change anything. If a driver benefits from it in the pits, lucky for him. Luck is a part of any sport and it also happens with SC, so no problems about that. 

Camille Stocker Cassiède - GPblog France

The Virtual Safety Car is not very useful. It simply asks drivers to slow down but it doesn’t work as well as the Safety Car. It does not allow to restart the race and each driver understands the term “slow down” as he wants. The VSC is the equivalent of a yellow flag on the whole track. Generally, the cars do not regroup as they do during a classic Safety Car. As far as VSC stops go, they don’t make much of a difference compared to a pit stop under safety car, so closing the pits wouldn’t make much of a difference. The whole use of VSC should be reviewed to optimise the dangers on the track and avoid reliving the accident of Jules Bianchi in Suzuka should be the priority of the FIA and avoid the messes like in Saudi Arabia last season.

Andrea Bassini - GPblog Italy

I firmly believe that luck is part of the game. However, the impact of the VSC is relative: a team's skill lies precisely in being able to predict and anticipate moments like these. Red Bull is a master at this: it's no coincidence that in almost every disadvantageous situation this year, their cars have performed better than the others. The VSC rules' change is not a priority for Formula 1 at the moment: I believe that keeping them as they are is a step in the direction of unpredictability, which should be one of the main assets of this sport.

Tim Kraaij - GPblog Netherlands

(Auto) sport is and will remain largely dependent on entertainment. If it's not fun and people don't watch, the sport has no right to exist. From that point of view, I would personally be in favour of throwing out the VSC and using the SC more often. That way you get a more American model where the field comes together much more often. The VSC ultimately does nothing, beyond giving some lucky drivers a relatively less costly pit stop. So you are watching laps where nothing changes. So as far as I'm concerned, you'd be better off using an SC and if it takes too long (or towards the end of the race), using a red flag earlier so that as many of the laps as possible are used to actually race.

Simone Tommasi - GPblog Italy

Luck is part of the sport, especially in Formula 1. The Virtual Safety Car is one of those situations where you have to be lucky, but where you also have to be good at reading the situation and taking advantage of it. I think the VSC rules are fine as they are, because the drivers do get an advantage at the pit stop, but nobody gets more advantage than the others, and in any case it's a racing situation like many others. Plus the VSC shuffles the cards a bit, making the race more interesting at times. The only change I think it might possibly make sense to implement is to activate the VSC only in the sector where it is needed, but it is not such an urgently needed change.

Matt Gretton - GPblog UK

Luck is a huge part of sport an element that should remain within Formula 1. But I think the rules regarding the VSC could be improved. For example at Spa, the circuit is 4.4 miles long and the incident only stretches a very small percentage of that. Let the drivers give it full beans for most of the circuit and have a couple of marshal posts flagged out that cover the VSC requirements. The fans are still entertained on TV and trackside by seeing cars at full speed. And the frequency of getting a lucky VSC pitstop is reduced whilst maintaining safety.

Rubén Gómez - GPblog Spain

In my opinion, the VSC is fine, but some changes should be made. I think they should have a green flag in the other sectors and where the incident is, have the VSC and reduce the speed. In my opinion, there are much more important changes in Formula 1, like finishing under the safety car, than this. It's not a problem with the VSC, I think luck is part of racing, and you have to deal with it as well. Finally, I don't think the pits should be closed either, and if the VSC stays like this, I think there is not much of a problem.

Let us know who you agree with in the poll and comments!

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