Formula 1 Can Fix Its Safety Car Problem Today

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Formula 1 Can Fix Its Safety Car Problem Today

When Nicholas Latifi crashed in the closing laps of Sunday’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, the implication was obvious. Whether the race re-started or not, the winner would be dictated by the timing of the safety car. This is the way racing has gone since safety cars were introduced, every race comes with a constant knowledge that one ill-timed wreck could alter the outcome of a whole season drastically. In NASCAR, this is a feature. That kind of chaos is encouraged, it’s part of the show. In F1, it has always been considered a bug. Safety car timing and enforcement should not decide full seasons. This one did.

Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton have seemingly accepted this. The team has dropped its intent to appeal a Sunday ruling that the race director can more or less do whatever they want regardless of what safety car rules officially say, removing the asterisk on Max Verstappen’s first world driver’s championship. But they did so only after the FIA announced a “detailed analysis and clarification exercise” over the incident, effectively an official review of the rules that allowed such a catastrophe to happen. In other words, the focus has shifted from wallowing in the knowledge that F1 race director Michael Masi’s decision handed a championship to Max Verstappen in an instant to asking how it happened. From there, the logical next step is to ask how to keep it from happening again.

That solution should be very easy.

For the full story, check out this article from Road & Track.

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