Safety car is deployed when there is a dangerous situation on the track and it is not necessary to suspend the race.
In addition to the procedure for deployment and removal of safety car and the prohibited actions during safety car, the operation of Virtual Safety Car (VSC) in Formula 1 and Full Course Yellow (FCY) in WEC has started, and it is difficult to understand regulations.
Therefore we would like to explain the regulations clearly.
When the safety car is deployed
In case there is a dangerous situation on the course and it is not necessary to suspend the race, the safety car is deployed and overtaking to other cars in the entire course is prohibited.
Removing the dangers on the course is conducted during deployment of the safety car. After safety on the course is confirmed, and the race is resumed. Race director determines deployment of the safety car.
Specific examples of the deployment of the safety car are follow.
- Cars stopped on the course due to accident or mechanical trouble
- Cars that cannot restart due to an engine stall or spin stopped on the course.
- Occurrence of car fire
- It has risks continuation of race due to heavy rain
- Even if the stopped car is not on the course, it was judged that it is dangerous for course marshall to remove the stopped car.
- There is a large falling object on the course and it is considered difficult for the course marshal to remove
In 2015 Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix, the safety car was deployed in consideration of safety because an intruder appeared on the course.
When the safety car is deployed
When the safety car is deployed, yellow flag is waved and SC board is displayed at all observation posts.
Overtaking the other cars is prohibited throughout the course.
When the safety car is deployed, it waves yellow flag and displays SC board at all observation posts.
Following the safety car, the car car runs.
Overtaking is prohibited throughout the course.
During the deployment of the safety car, the entire course is treated in the same way as the yellow flag zone. For this reason, it may be penalized for spinning or leaving the course.
If passing on the main straight is difficult due to an accident, the safety car may runs the pit road instead of the main straight.
The position does not change, but the time gap disappears
If the safety car is deployed, overtaking on the course is prohibited. However, as the safety car takes the lead, the car speed becomes slower, so time gap disappears with the car behind .
Therefore, after the safety car is removed, the race will be close.
Virtual Safety Car (VSC) in Formula 1 and Full Course Yellow (FCY) in WEC are not the lead run by the safety car. By limiting the sector time and car speed of all cars on the course, it succeeded in letting the cars down speed while keeping the time gap of each cars without suspending the race.
In case of being permitted to pass the safety car
During the deployment of the safety car, cars run under the leading by the safety car.
However, there are cases that are permitted to pass the safety car.
- When instructed by the safety car
- In case the safety car that pit out does not exceed the safety car line 2, when the safety car was deployment.
- In case the safety car that pit in exceed the safety car line 1 when restarting the race.
If the car behind the safety car is not the top, the safety car may instruct the car to go ahead.
If the race resumes as it is, there would be cars that are lapped down in front of the top car. So this is a response considering the race development.
The safety car may turn on a green rotating light. This is a signal that it is permitted to pass the safety car.
At this time, cars running behind the safety car can pass the safety car.
In case that overtake is permitted during safety car
During the safety car deployment, it is prohibited overtaking. But there are cases that it is permitted to overtake.
- In case the car that pit in exceed the safety car line 1.
- At the safety car start, cars that are a little late when leaving the own grid can overtake and return to their previous positions.
Safety Car Line
The safety car line 1 is set near the pit road entrance, and the safety car line 2 is set near the pit road exit
The safety car line is not operated in Japanese JAF-approved races. So some circuits that do not hold FIA-approved races may not have a safety car line.
(2016 Fuji Speedway General Supplemental Regulations)
Safety Car Line 1
The safety car line 1 is set near the pit road entrance.
It is no problem to overtake the car that tries to enter the pit and exceeds the safety car line 1. Similarly, it is no problem to overtake the safety car that tries to enter the pit and exceeds the safety car line 1 at the end of safety car deployment.
At the restart of the race, if the safety car crosses the safety car line 1, the cars can overtake the safety car.
(10 December 2019)
2.10 SAFETY CAR PROCEDURES
2.10.2 － Safety Car Line 1：
at the point at which it is deemed reasonable to allow a car entering the pits to overtake the safety car or another competing car remaining on the track. It is also the point at which competing cars can pass the safety car as it enters the pits at the end of the intervention.
Safety car line 2
Safety car line 2 is set neat the pit road exit. If the driver crosses the safety car line 2, it is not permitted to overtake the other cars.
Also, if the car that is about to pit out crosses the safety car line 2, it is not permitted to overtake the other cars.
As long as the car that is about to pit out does not cross the safety car line 2, it is permitted for the car running through the main stright could overtake the car.
(10 December 2019)
2.10 SAFETY CAR PROCEDURES
2.10.2 － Safety Car Line 2：
at the point at which cars leaving the pits are likely to be travelling at a similar speed to competing cars on the track. A car on the track may therefore overtake another leaving the pits before reaching this line but no overtaking may take place after it.
Operation of the safety car line in SUPER FORMULA.
As described in Appendix H of the Japanese version issued by JAF, there is no safety car line operation in races certified by JAF, but there is a safety car line operation in SUPER FORMULA.
In 2015 SUPER FORMULA held at Fuji Speedway, when the safety car was deployed, the car passed the safety car before safety car crossed the safety car line 1 at the removing the safety car. Therefore, it is said that it was specified to clarify the regulations.
Pit in during the safety car deployment
In the International Sporting Code Appendix H, it is permitted to pit in during the safety car deployment. In some race categories, such as SUPER GT, it is prohibited pitting in during the safety car deployment. At that time it is described in the supplementary regulations.
When the line leaded by the safety car through the main straight, the pit road exit signal turns red. During that time, it is not able to pit out. After the line leaded by the safety car passes, the signal turns green. And, it is permitted to pit out.
Safety car removing procedure
Race control determines removing safety car
After removing the danger on the course, the race control determines the restart of the race. Even if it is determines to remove the safety car, it is necessary to form the line of the cars and run while the safety car’s rotating roof light is on as in the safety car deployment.
Turns the safety car’s rotating light off
Turning off the safety car’s rotating light means that safety car will pit in at the end of the lap and the race will restart. After turning safety car’s rotating light off, the pace of line of the cars can be controlled by the leading car, leaving a sufficient distance from the safety car. The safety car runs faster to separate the line of the cars.
The safety car pits in
After the safety car pits in, yellow flag and SC board are removed at all observation posts, then green flag is waved and the race resumes.
Restart the race (It is prohibited overtaking until crossing the control line.)
The leading car accelerates to the racing speed at own timing and the race restarts.
Green flags are removed when all cars have crossed the control line. It is prohibited overtaking until crossing the control line.
In case two safety cars are deployed
On circuits where the distance of one lap exceeds 7km, two safety car may be permitted to deploy on the course. The second safety car enter from not the pit road exit, but predetermined middle point of the course.
When the safety car is removed, second safety car does not enter the pit road. The second safety car outs the course from intermediate point. There is a safety car line at this point. This line is called intermediate safety car line.
(10 December 2019)
2.10 SAFETY CAR PROCEDURES
NEUTRALISING THE RACE
2.10.8 When the order is given to deploy the safety car, all marshal posts will display waved yellow flags and “SC” boards and the orange lights at the Line will be illuminated, for the duration of the intervention.
2.10.9 The safety car will start from the pit lane with its orange lights illuminated and will join the track regardless of where the race leader is.
2.10.10 All the competing cars must then form up in line behind the safety car no more than five car lengths apart, and overtaking, with the following exceptions, is forbidden until the cars reach the Line (or the next race neutralisation end point) after the safety car has returned to the pit lane. Overtaking will be permitted under the following circumstances:
– if a car is signalled to do so from the safety car;
– under Article 2.10.18;
– any car entering the pits may pass another car or the safety car after it has crossed the first safety car line, as defined under Article 2.10.2;
– any car leaving the pits may be overtaken by another car on the track before it crosses the second safety car line, as defined under Article 2.10.2;
– when the safety car is returning to the pit lane or its intermediate position, it may be overtaken by cars on the track once it has crossed the safety car line;
– any car stopping in its designated garage area whilst the safety car is using the pit lane (see Article 2.10.14) may be overtaken;
– if any car slows with an obvious problem.
2.10.11 Any car being driven unnecessarily slowly, erratically or in a manner deemed potentially dangerous to other drivers at any time whilst the safety car is deployed will be reported to the stewards. This will apply whether any such car is being driven on the track, the pit entry the pit lane, or the pit exit.
2.10.12 When ordered to do so by the Clerk of the Course, the observer in the safety car will use a green light to signal to any cars between it and the race leader that they should pass.
These cars will continue at reduced speed and without overtaking until they reach the line of cars behind the safety car.
The safety car may also have an electrically controlled rear panel which will show the race leader’s number. When it is illuminated, cars up to but excluding the race leader, whose number is displayed, will pass the safety car.
2.9.13 The safety car shall be used at least until the car in the lead is behind it and all remaining cars are lined up behind the leader (or, when there is more than one safety car, all the cars in that safety car’s sector).
Once behind the safety car, the race leader (or leader of that sector) must keep within 5 car lengths of it (except as under Article 2.10.15) and all remaining cars must keep the formation as tight as possible.
2.9.14 While the safety car is in operation, competing cars may enter the pit lane, but may only rejoin the track when the green light at the end of the pit lane is on. It will be on at all times except when the safety car and the line of cars following it are about to pass or are passing the pit exit. A car rejoining the track must proceed at an appropriate speed until it reaches the end of the line of cars behind the safety car.
Under certain circumstances, the Clerk of the Course may ask the safety car to use the pit lane. In this case, and provided its orange lights remain illuminated, all cars must follow it into the pit lane without overtaking. Any car entering the pit lane under these circumstances may stop at its designated garage area.
2.9.15 When the Clerk of the Course calls in the safety car, its orange lights will be extinguished; this will be the signal that it will be entering the pit lane at the end of that lap.
At this point, the first car in line behind the safety car may dictate the pace and, if necessary, fall more than five car lengths behind it.
In order to avoid the likelihood of accidents before the safety car returns to the pit lane, from the point at which the lights on the car are extinguished, drivers must proceed at a pace which involves no erratic acceleration, braking, or any other manoeuvre which is likely to endanger other drivers or impede the restart.
As the safety car is approaching the pit entry, the yellow flags and SC boards at the marshal posts will be withdrawn and replaced by waved green flags with green lights at the Line and at the Intermediate race neutralisation end point(s).
These will be displayed until the last car crosses the Line.
In the case of more than one safety car, their withdrawal must be precisely synchronised.
2.10.16 Each lap completed while the safety car is deployed will be counted as a race lap.
2.10.17 If the safety car is still deployed at the beginning of the last lap, or is deployed during the last lap, it will enter the pit lane at the end of the lap and the cars will take the chequered flag as normal without overtaking.
Staring the race behind the safety car
In case it is judged that the normal starting method could be dangerous due to the effects of heavy rain or other factors, race control determines to start the race using safety car in consideration of safety.
In addition, the restart method after race is suspended by the red flag is also a starting the race behind the safety car.
The safety car turns orange rotating light on
The signal to start the race behind the safety car is that the safety car at the lead of the grid turns orange rotating light on one minute before the formation lap.
In the normal start procedure, the safety car at the lead of the grid starts running 5 minutes before the start of the formation lap and reaches the end of the grid after running one lap of the course.
Therefore, in case the safety car stays at lead of the grid even though it is less than 5 minutes before the start of the formation lap, it is highly likely that start procedure could be starting the race behind the safety car.
No formation lap
In case of starting the race behind the safety car, formation lap is not performed. At the timing of the starting the safety car, and the race starts.
After the line of cars leaded by the safety car passes near the pit road exit, the signal at the pit road exit turns green, and car starting from the pit road could enter the course and join the end of the line of the cars.
After the race start, operation is the same as a normal safety car
After the race start, the operation regulations are the same as those for the safety car, but the restarting the race is determined based on the situations. It may lead by the safety car for many laps, or it may be restarted immediately.
In Formula 1, due to the regulations change in 2017, after the starting the race behind the safety car, the race is restarted by standing start.
(10 December 2019)
2.10 SAFETY CAR PROCEDURES
STARTING THE RACE BEHIND THE SAFETY CAR
2.10.18 In exceptional circumstances, the race may be started behind the safety car. In this case, at any time before the one-minute signal, its orange lights will be turned on. This is the signal to the drivers that the race will be started behind the safety car. When the green lights are illuminated, the safety car will leave the grid with all cars following in grid order no more than 5 car lengths apart. There will be no formation lap and the race will start when the green lights are illuminated.
Overtaking, during the first lap only, is permitted if a car is delayed when leaving its grid position and cars behind cannot avoid passing it without unduly delaying the remainder of the field. In this case, drivers may only overtake to re-establish the original starting order.
Soon after the last car in line behind the safety car passes the end of the pit exit, the pit exit light will turn green; any car in the pit lane may then enter the track and join the line of cars behind the safety car.
Any driver who is delayed leaving the grid may not overtake another moving car if he was stationary after the remainder of the cars had crossed the Line, and must form up at the back of the line of cars behind the safety car.
If more than one driver is affected, they must form up at the back of the field in the order in which they left the grid.
A penalty will be imposed on any driver who, in the opinion of the Stewards, unnecessarily overtook another car during the first lap.
2.9.19 A safety car may be used as the official car for a rolling start in conformity with Article 8.3 of the Code; in this case, the Supplementary Regulations governing the start will apply to it until it resumes its safety car function after the start has been given.
Virtual Safety Car (VSC)
Virtual Safety Car (VSC) is regulations that has been adopted in Formula 1 since 2015.
In case it is not enough to deoploy the safety car, but it is necessary to slow down significantly at certain point on the course, VSC is deployed.
In case it is determined to deploy the Virtual Safety Car (VSC), FIA lighting panels equipped at various locations on the course displays “VSC”. In addition, race control send to each team the message of “VSC DEPLOYED”. It is also displayed a similar message on official TV.
During the VSC all car must slow down and it is not permitted to overtake. The drivers need to drive in the marshall sector later than the sector time that is determined by FIA in advance.
The car speed is calculated from the time required for each 15-meter trip by GPS and monitored as needed. The steward can penalize the driver that violates it.
The marshall sector means the section from the FIA light panel (digital flag displayed as VSC) equipped on the course to the following FIA light panel.
During the race, it is not permitted to pit in except for the purpose of changing tires. Like the safety car, even during the deployment of the virtual safety car, it is counted as the number of race laps.
The procedure for ending the virtual safety car is as follow.
First, race control send to each team the message of “VSC ENDING”. After 10 to 15 seconds, FIA light panel changes from “VSC” to green and the VSC is ended.
The virtual safety car was considered for introduction after the accident of Jules Bianchi in 2014 Formula 1 Round 15 Japanese Grand Prix. The test for introduction of “VSC” was conducted on a trial basis in the free practice in Round 17 United States Grand Prix, and the operation of virtual safety car has started from 2015 season in Formula 1.
In the Appendix H International Sporting Code, it is necessary to sufficiently decelerate in the double yellow zone, but in fact, it is not thoroughly enforced, the purpose of VSC is to slow down all cars.
40) VIRTUAL SAFETY CAR (VSC)
40.1 The VSC procedure may be initiated to neutralise a practice session or a race upon the order of the clerk of the course.
It will normally be used when double waved yellow flags are needed on any section of track and competitors or officials may be in danger, but the circumstances are not such as to warrant use of the safety car itself.
40.2 When the order is given to initiate the VSC procedure a message “VSC DEPLOYED” will be sent to all teams via the official messaging system and all FIA light panels will display “VSC”.
40.3 No car may be driven unnecessarily slowly, erratically or in a manner which could be deemed potentially dangerous to other drivers or any other person at any time whilst the VSC procedure is in use. This will apply whether any such car is being driven on the track, the pit entry or the pit lane.
40.4 When initiated during a race, no car may enter the pits whilst the VSC procedure is in use unless it is for the purpose of changing tyres.
40.5 All competing cars must reduce speed and stay above the minimum time set by the FIA ECU at least once in each marshalling sector and at both the first and second safety car lines (a marshalling sector is defined as the section of track between each of the FIA light panels).
All cars must also be above this minimum time when the FIA light panels change to green (see 40.7 below).
When initiated during a race, the stewards may impose either of the penalties under Article 38.3a), b), c) or d) on any driver who fails to stay above the minimum time as required by the above.
40.6 With the exception of the cases listed under a) to d) below, no driver may overtake another car on the track whilst the VSC procedure is in use.
The exceptions are :
a) When entering the pits a driver may pass another car remaining on the track after he has reached the first safety car line.
b) When leaving the pits a driver may overtake, or be overtaken by, another car on the track before he reaches the second safety car line.
c) Whilst in the pit entry, pit lane or pit exit a driver may overtake another car which is also in one of these three areas.
d) If any car slows with an obvious problem.
40.7 When the clerk of the course decides it is safe to end the VSC procedure the message “VSC ENDING” will be sent to all teams via the official messaging system and, at any time between 10 and 15 seconds later, “VSC” on the FIA light panels will change to green and drivers may continue the session or continue racing immediately. After 30 seconds the green lights will be extinguished.
40.8 Each lap completed whist the VSC procedure is in use during a race will be counted as a race lap.
Full Course Yellow (FCY)
In WEC (World Endurance Championship), in case it is not necessary to deploy the safety car, but it is judged that it is necessary for safety reason, full course yellow (FCY) is deployed.
If full course yellow is deployed, a message is displayed on the timing monitor, and yellow flag is waved and FCY board is displayed at the all observation posts.
The car speed is limited to 80km/h, and the driver must from a single row without overtaking.
During full course yellow is permitted to pit in, but it is not permitted to digest the drive-through penalties or penalty stops.
The end of the full course yellow is notified to the driver and a message is sent to each team by timing monitor. At observation posts, yellow flag and FCY board is removed and green flag is waved.
14.5 Neutralisation of the race: Full Course Yellow (FCY)
14.5.1 Placing the race under FCY
The Race Director may declare a Full Course Yellow period if he decides that this is necessary for safety reasons.
Once under FCY, cars will slow down to 80kph, in single file, and maintain their distance to the car in front and the car behind.
Overtaking is strictly prohibited under the FCY.
All marshal posts will display a waved yellow flag and a board with the indication FCY.
Any car being driven unnecessarily slowly, erratically or in a manner deemed potentially dangerous to other drivers at any time whilst the FCY is in use, will be reported to the stewards. This will apply whether any such car is being driven on the track, the pit entry road or the pit lane exit road.
14.5.2 Access to the pit lane under the FCY
The pit lane entry and exit remain open and cars are free to pit.
Cars going into the pit lane may overtake cars that are on the track once they cross Safety Car Line 1.
Cars exiting the pit lane may overtake other cars until they reach Safety Car Line 2.
On the pit lane entry and exit roads, the maximum speed is also limited to 80kph.
14.5.3 End of the FCY period
Once the problem(s) is/are solved, the Race Director will return the track to green; this is done by posting a message on the monitors.
At this stage, all marshal posts will replace the yellow flags and FCY boards with waved green flags. Racing and overtaking will normally resume without restrictions, regardless of the positions of the cars relative to one another and to the Line.
14.5.4 FCY and Safety Car
A FCY period may be followed by a Safety Car intervention if the problem remains unsolved and safety may be at risk.
14.5.5 Stop & Go, penalty in the pit lane under the FCY
Unless the driver was already in the pit entry for the purpose of serving his drive through and/or Stop & Go penalty when the FCY procedure was deployed, he may not serve the penalty until the race has been resumed.
14.5.6 Lap count under the FCY
The number of times the driver crosses the Line during the FCY procedure will be added to the maximum number of times he may cross the Line on the track.
Car speed of the safety car
When watching TV, the car speed of the safety car seems to be much slower than the racing car, but it actually runs at a speed of approximately 100km/h. In Formula 1, the safety car need to run at very high speed.
The driver of the safety car need to have high driving skills because he must keep running without having to spin or over run even in heavy rain.
The car speed of the safety car is not always constant, immediately after the safety car is deployed, the safety car reduces the speed to form the line of the cars. When the restart of the race is approaching, the safety car ups the speed to warm the temperature of the tires of the race cars. Like this, the safety car runs at different car speed according to the condition.
In particular, after the safety car turns orange rotating light off to restart the race, the safety car is necessary to drive fully open to broad the distance between the race cars.
Safety car of each series
Normally, the safety car is used the car of the organizer holds the race, but in some cases like Formula 1, there are race categories that use a dedicated official safety car. The safety car is supplied by automakers to appeal to race fans in order to enhance their brand image.
In Formula 1, when the running leaded by the safety car, the car speed of the safety car that is permanently equipped on the circuit is too slow and the temperature of the tires cools down of Formula 1 machines, which may affect the safety aspect. It is said that the official safety car was equipped.
Formula 1 : Mercedes-AMG GT R
MotoGP : BMW M2 Coupe
SUPER GT : Honda NSX出典：supergt.net