Brawn criticises safety car rules

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

Ross Brawn believes a mis-application of the safety car rules cost Michael Schumacher a better finish in the European Grand Prix.

Schumacher had to wait at the pit lane exit after taking his pit stop during the safety car period. Brawn said:

As the leaders had not been picked up, Michael was waved through and that gave us a golden opportunity to make his pit stop as our predictions were that the option tyre would hold up for the remainder of the race.

However, when Michael came to exit the pits, the red light was showing which cost him a significant amount of time. In our view, the regulations are clear that the exit light should not go red until the line of cars has formed behind the safety car, and we would like the FIA to look into this. There was no line formed and over 18 seconds between Hamilton and Kobayashi when Michael came in.

It was a good effort from Michael to try and recover from there but ultimately a very frustrating afternoon.
Ross Brawn

When Schumacher pitted he was 10.5s behind Hamilton and 5.7s ahead of Kobayashi. But behind Kobayashi were 11 more cars covered by 19s.

Article 40.10 of the Sporting Regulations says:

Whilst 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 .

Schumacher ended the race 15th, the worst classified finish of his F1 career.

2010 European Grand Prix

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26 comments on “Brawn criticises safety car rules”

  1. Next joke please Ross.
    It was Mercedes’ crappy pit strategy that screwed up his race. Of course the pit incident contributed. But they are to blame.

  2. I guess Brawn didn’t see the SC and a line of cars drive past MSC as he waited behind the red light?

    The line had formed, at it was passing the pit exit when Michael was trying to leave :|

  3. Merc screwed the pooch on this one. They should have brought Schumacher in a lap earlier. Maybe the red light was on correctly, maybe it wasn’t. Merc has not made very good strategy calls on pitting with Schumacher this year. Something, or someone, needs to be changed. Whether it is Schumacher’s race engineer or someone else, they have to get on top of their strategy

    1. Dont forget his race engineer, Shovlin, won the championship with Button last year

      1. True. But they hardly had to do any subtle strategy, did they? At first glance, it seems to me that, strategy-wise, everything was pretty straightforward last year for Brawn GP and Red Bull Racing; I mean: always pitting when expected and same kind of strategies… I may be wrong, though… You see the quality when unexpected situations (where you have to react fast) come in, or when you do need a different strategy to pass your opponents.

  4. Mercedes is to blame here. Although I am not sure if red light was really correct. The place where he was standing was after finish line and he was 12 seconds behind Vettel, Kobayashi was 18 seconds behind at that point.

  5. Alonso is a great driver, a sore loser and a sore winner. And a sore whinner.

    I’m not sure about the first one though.

    1. Ehhm, you got me puzzled where the reference to Alonso is in this thread!

      Brawn is not complaining of race control being quite late on handing Hamilton a penalty but on the light at the end of the pits being red when he thought it should have turned green.

  6. May be Michael should have restarted all the same.
    He would have been penalized of five seconds after the race and would have been fifth or something…
    Today it has been the most ridicolous race I’ve ever seen. The reasons:

    1) F1 is “overrruled”: the rules about safety car deployment aren’t clear.
    2) Mandatory pit stop is crap. It is mandatory pit stop that make the strategy be so important.
    3) Valencia track is ridicolous. No overtaking, never ever!
    4) How long does it take to watch a video and decide a penalty for Hamilton? 25 minutes??? Come on…!!! May be they needed to find Emeron Fittipaldi on the phone and ask him for advice?
    5) Why only five seconds penalty for the “too fast” cars? Why only after the race? Who decides how many seconds of penalty such a mistake deserves?

    No overtakes, stupid tracks and overruled races decided by “Charlie” team (with reasons nobody can comprehend) will lead Formula 1 to death.

    1. In regard to point 5 I’m in total agreement with you. Remember Schumacher was given a 25 second penalty at Monaco, and we were told this was the minimum time penalty that could be applied after the race!

      1. He would have given a MUCH worse penalty than 5 seconds and with good reason too. If the light is red, you don’t go. end of story.

        Why it was red is another matter.
        I agree about the mandatory pit stops. Most teams would still elect to pt due to tyre wear. Hell, Kamui would probably have been standing on the podium if it wasn’t for that stupid rule.

        3 is obvious.

        4 is equally obvious.

        5 I think your wrong, So many people did it they obviously didn’t realise, that is was such a no-no. If they had of done 25 seconds, as much as I would have liked Kamui gain places, it would be excessive. This is a wise move. It’s a warning shot, “do it again and your toast” type of move.

        1. I said Monaco! The penalty at Monaco is what I was referring to.

    2. Could not agree more.
      This race really did make F1 look bad.
      First time I even, has been sitting after a race and thinking *** just happend there

    3. if he had gone through the red light, he probably would have been disqualified, like Montoya, Massa, Fisichella and Barrichello were

  7. I too noticed this, Im not sure if it was Mercs fault, but the actions of the stewards today effectively took 1 Merc and 2 Ferrari’s out of any decent placings….

    This race was a sham….

    And what does Alonso have to do with this thread? He got screwed worse the Shue did..

    1. I don’t understand why we need a safety car at all any more (other than to improve the show /sarcasm). A full course speed limit with no overtaking is easy to implement with the current technology, simpler to understand, doesn’t randomly jumble positions, doesn’t bunch cars to make another accident and is easy to enforce as well with the current technology.

      1. That’s an excellent point.
        However, I think a different approach could be: Simply close the pit lane during SC.
        Any cars which are in pit lane when SC is deployed can leave the pit lane and merge in.

        1. We had that rule for a few years until last year. It didn’t work at all!

          1. That was when the cars had to re-fuel. Now they don’t need to.

      2. Good idea but its riddled with problems.
        First it is necessary to slow the cars down a lot, where the incident occurred. second, would you have the drivers go at max pace? or stop and start to warm the tyres and breaks, and what it something happens that can’t be expected, like a tree falls on the track? a safety car is necessary.

        1. If a tree falls on the track then the track is blocked and the race is stopped. The regulation already exists for this.

          Driver’s wouldn’t weave because if they did that they would lose time on the driver in front. A straight line at constant speed is faster than a wiggly line at the same speed.

          The pit lane speed limit should be slow enough. There are people walking across the pit lane all the time and no one has been hit yet. Plus, on the corner where the actual incident is you have double waved yellows, which means marshals on track. Further, (in addition) instruction could be issued by race control on the radio, i.e. “Debris on turn 13, keep left on approach.”

  8. “Schumacher ended the race 15th, the worst classified finish of his F1 career.”

    Sums up his season really

  9. wong chin kong
    28th June 2010, 3:37

    Ross Brawn is just finding excuses for his team’s poor performance this race and all the previous races. Just analyse Kobayashi race strategy, his tyre strategy, his late pit stops and that should shame all the Mercedes GP team.

    1. MacademiaNut
      28th June 2010, 18:40

      Agreed. Since Michael started on the hard tyre, there’s really no excuse for this pit stop mishap.

  10. So why did so many teams and drivers get it wrong? Is this the start of a ‘lets ignore the rules’ season of F1? Is this down to the competitiveness of the teams or the idiocy of the mandatory pit stop?
    I do agree the penalty on Hammy took way too long to be set, but I wonder if there is a minimum amount of time the FIA scroungers are allowed to make a decision, and being the freeloaders they are, they use that to the maximum – think of all the possible ‘instant’ decisions there have been in the past that took all race long to impose the penalty, or had to wait until after the race.
    I still say instant penalties for the drivers in the race, within about 4 laps of whatever the problem was would soon get everybody obeying the rules, and driving sensibly.
    Also, I am surprised Hammy only got a meagre drive-through, I was expecting a stop-go at least!

    1. Ooops, went slightly off-topic without meaning too….
      (Please ignore/move/destroy as necessary)

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