A few times this season I’ve heard people saying that someone pitted because there was a chance of safety car due to a crash or a retirement.
And it made me think – why would you do that? A few years ago it was an advantage to pit before the safety car, as you weren’t allowed to pit under the safety car conditions until everyone lined up (Singapore 2008?).
But now, with the delta times, I reckon it’s even better to pit under safety car. For example, if two drivers are very close to each other, each with one stop to go. Driver A stops, and is around 20 seconds behind in the next lap. Safety car arrives, Driver B pits, and because they’re all driving slower while a pit stop still takes as much time, he comes out well ahead Driver A. The difference was 20 seconds, for example 25% of the lap, and that 25% became 40 seconds under delta times.
That is, of course, if Driver B pitted right away, before the safety car would pick up everybody.
Therefore I don’t get why someone would pit expecting the safety car, as it would actually lose you time. Perhaps it’s better to delay a pit stop if you’re expecting the safety car.