The details surrounding Formula 1’s all-new Virtual Safety Car (VSC) rules being implemented for the 2015 season have been ratified and added to the F1 Sporting Regulations by the FIA.
After successful trials of variations to the system at the United States, Brazilian and Abu Dhabi Grands Prix, the teams have agreed to a final version of the concept, which was first discussed in the wake of Jules Bianchi’s horrific crash under double-waved yellow flags at last year’s Japanese Grand Prix.
The new rules are designed to significantly slow down the cars under double yellow flag conditions – a factor which the FIA-installed panel investigating Bianchi’s accident ruled was the major contributor to his crash – in situations when double waved yellow flags are required, but the situation itself does not warrant the use of the Safety Car.
Under Article 41 of the 2015 Formula 1 Sporting Regulations, marshal lights around the track will display ‘VSC’ when the system is in use, during which time all drivers will need to run above a minimum time at least once in each sector.
The drivers will not be allowed to enter the pit lane under VSC conditions, unless it is for the purpose of changing tyres – meaning that they cannot reduce the impact of any pit lane penalties by serving them at this time.
When Race Control deems it safe to return to racing, all teams will be officially notified that the VSC period will come to an end. Between 10-15 seconds after the message being transmitted, the marshal light panels will turn green, and switch off after another 30 seconds.
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