Debate: Will the safety car decide the title?

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

Safety car, Monte-Carlo, 2005, 2 | AllianzSuch a finely poised world championship battle – with four drivers still in close contention with five races left – comes along only once a generation.

The slightest misfortune could easily tip the balance in favour of one driver. We saw at Montreal how the dubious safety car rules can easily compromise an unlucky driver.

Fernando Alonso and Nico Rosberg can justly claim they were robbed of a better points finish at that race. Might we get a repeat in the final races?

Adrian Sutil’s crash on lap 21 of the Canadian Grand Prix could not have come at a better time for Lewis Hamilton – or a worse time for Alonso and the rest of Hamilton’s title rivals.

Hamilton had just made his pit stop, and the appearance of the safety car as Alonso (and Rosberg) was heading to the pits doomed the Spaniard. For the first time this year drivers are not allowed to pit under safety car conditions, and are punished with a drive-through penalty if they do.

There hasn’t been a similar re-appearance of the safety car yet. But if it were called for at a crucial stage of a race late in the championship, and ruin one of the title contenders’ races, the F1 rule makers would have some awkward explaining to do.

Is it a realistic concern? Is the rule fair?

Photo: Allianz

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