Mark Webber Is a Joke, Not Formula One Safety Car Rules

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Mark Webber Is a Joke, Not Formula One Safety Car Rules

Mark Webber, writing for his column on the BBC website, has attacked the new 2008 safety car procedures, calling them "a joke".

He claims F1 is "more professional" than it is demonstrating this year with such "lucky" results as Nelson Piquet's recent second place for Renault in the German Grand Prix being a direct result of the new rules.

Personally, I occupy the polar opposite stance on the matter.

Before I reveal why I think the Aussie is misguided, let us be clear on what Webber is objecting to.

Under the new 2008 safety car rules, the pit lane is "closed" when the safety car is deployed. This prevents the drivers from rushing through the scene of an accident in a bid to get to pit lane as quickly as possible and gain an advantage over their rivals.

FIA discovered the fact that closing pit lane has a side effect of jumbling up the strategies, so you get slower cars in front of potentially faster ones, with more overtaking as a direct result.

Indeed, the same system has been used in American open wheel and stock car racing for years to great effect when it comes to generating excitement on track.

However, Mark Webber's mindset is not one of making the show better but instead how he can finish in the best possible position during the race. He feels the safety car rules are an unacceptable gamble.

To Mark and anyone else vocalising their displeasure about the "new" rules, I'll say this: These rules have been active since the start of the season, you cannot play the victim card any more.

It is now your responsibility to discuss with your race strategists if you want to risk running your car down to fumes before you come in to pit or you want to play it safe and pit with one lap of fuel remaining in the tank.

Please accept that if you decide to go for the optimum low fuel lap and then the safety car does happen to appear, that was your gamble and yours alone - not a fault with the rules, the FIA, or the sport in general.

Bottom line: the rules are the same for every team. They should now be able to plan around the safety car and be grown up about it if they roll the dice and lose.

And as a fan who has no vested interest except to see an exciting race, I think it is the best idea F1 has had (or copied!) in years!

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