One round into the 2014 V8 Supercars Championship season and there are already calls from a number of drivers for the new restart rules to be rolled back, following the spectacular crash for Jason Bright in Sunday’s feature race at the Clipsal 500.
Bright was extremely lucky to escape injury in the shunt, which saw his Team BOC Holden tipped into a barrel roll into the tyre barriers and catch fencing at the Adelaide street circuit’s Senna Chicane.
Series organisers announced a number of regulations changes ahead of the 2014 season, one of which was a change in the race restart period following a safety car interruption.
The new rules require the leader to maintain a speed between 50-60km/h heading onto the start/finish straight, before planting their foot to the floor in the middle of a designated ‘acceleration zone’.
That prompts the rest of the chasing field to get on the gas before the acceleration zone, and the subsequent increased speed meant that cars were running three or four abreast on the approach to the chicane.
The accident saw Bright sustain the greatest damage, although the Ford Falcons of Scott Pye and Chaz Mostert both suffered major damage in the pile-up and were out on the spot.
Bright and Mostert will both contest next weekend’s Australian Grand Prix support races in rebuilt spare cars, after the damage to both drivers’ cars proved too significant to repair – Bright’s Holden chassis is likely to be written off entirely.
The former series champion was particularly critical of the new restart rules, claiming that series organisers were “asking for trouble” in their attempts to try and add more spice to the show.
“We are being treated like school children. The leader should get to control the race,” he told the Speed Café website.
“In other categories the advantage gets paid back to whoever is in front. I can’t say I’m a fan of it (the new rules).”
“It’s not really a Safety Car restart it’s more a Crash Car restart,” Mostert added.
“I don’t really know what the go is with the new rules but it’s shocking. It should just go back to the old way.”
Pye was also critical of the new regulations, and urged officials to consider the safety of the drivers in rethinking the wisdom of the rules change.
“When you’ve got 25 cars trying to go through the same corner within a few seconds, it’s going to be disastrous no matter what,” he said.
“When you’re three or four wide it’s obviously going to end up in disaster. It’s pure luck whether you get through.
“Crashing comes with the job but when it’s caused by someone who has decided that this is going to make the racing more interesting then that’s disappointing.”
Even Formula 1 driver Jenson Button chimed in, after squeezing in time to watch the Adelaide race during last weekend’s final pre-season F1 test in Bahrain.
“The racing in V8 Supercars is some of the best but the restart rules need a little bit of work!” he wrote on his Twitter feed.
“[It’s] unnecessary danger [and] unfair penalties. I think the lead car at a restart should be able to control the speed from the entry to the last corner.
“You don’t need to anymore action to a category that is packed full of it.”
images via Fox Sports, Speed Café and Sydney Morning Herald