New safety car rules catch teams out

Posted on Author Keith Collantine

The Canadian Grand Prix brought the first test of F1’s new Champ Car-style safety car rules. The result? Two ten second penalties, two disqualifications, and several drivers unhappy with ruined races.

Fernando Alonso and Nico Rosberg both pitted as the safety car came out for the first time. Their teams insisted they did not have enough fuel to wait any longer, but they were punished with ten second penalties that seriously hampered their races.

David Coulthard, formerly a drivers’ representative on the GPDA, was not impressed, citing Alonso’s situation as being clearly unfair.

Felipe Massa and Giancarlo Fisichella were both disqualified. They pitted in at the correct time – but left while the pit lane light was red. The rules were quite clear and they were both disqualified. Exactly the same happened to Juan Pablo Montoya at the Circuit Villeneuve two years ago.

Two weeks ago McLaren claimed they brought Hamilton into the pits early to avoid his race being ruined if the safety car came out. On the evidence of this, they did exactly the right thing.

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