New SC Rule To Take The Casino Out Of F1?

Andrew FletcherCorrespondent IJune 14, 2008

By Andrew Fletcher

Critics among the Formula One  circus have been very active in their complaints during the past year.

These people have had multiple field days with Max Mosley's sex scandal and more recently Lewis Hamilton's clash with Kimi Räikkönen.

In the past year, there has been questions about the new pit lane ruling, when the safety car (SC) is deployed.

When race director, Charlie Whiting calls for the SC, the pit lane gets closed, forcing drivers to face a difficult decision.

If their car is running low on gas, they have to come in and refuel, but will suffer a 10 second stop and go penalty after the SC returns to the pit lane. The other choice is to stay on the track and pray that the car does not run out of fuel.

The rule was introduced to stop cars from speeding pass accident zones and rushing to pit

The new ruling to be practiced during the Friday practice sessions at the French GP on June 20th, sees an electronic way of slowing the car.

Within seconds of the SC being deployed, drivers will get a time appearing on the dashboard on their steering wheels. The time displayed show the minimum sector time they must stay within the time while going back to the pit lane to avoid a penalty.

The downside is the reliability of the system and if the drivers will really be able to judge how slow they are going. Also the fact is that they are paid to go fast, so slowing down on a lap is the opposite to their mentality.

Another option, is to limit the speed of the cars when the SC comes out by creating a SC limiter.

Just like the pit lane limiter, drivers instructed that the SC has been deployed will press the SC button on their steering wheel, which will then force the car to travel at a maximum speed as if it were following a pace car.

The limiter would then be turned off, once the cars have gathered behind the pace car.

This would be easier to install into the cars and would be more comfortable for the drivers on track.

The current rules created by the FIA have been heavy criticized by teams and drivers alike, since Fernando Alonzo and Nico Rosberg were penalized at the 2007 Canadian Grand Prix.