The controversial final at the last Italian Grand Prix, which ended behind the safety car amid the whistles of the audience and the complaints of several team managers and drivers, has once again brought the debate back to center stage. The precise role of the safety car in F1. The safety car was officially introduced at the start of the 1993 season, after some ineffective testing in previous decades, and has become a staple of Grand Prix racing over the years. Originally questioned rather rarely, his role has changed over the course of the seasons.
It is clear that the priority remained to ensure safety on the track after accidents that might require special commitment from men and the means to solve them, but without a doubt Its use has also grown exponentially for show reasons. Not infrequently, in fact, Race Direction has received criticism for too accidental use of the safety car, which has been called to race neutral even in cases of no particular danger.
In 2015, after the tragic accident of Jules Bianchi at the Japanese Grand Prix the previous year, he appeared virtual safety car, borrowed – albeit with important differences – from the Slow Endurance Zone. To demonstrate the increasing “strategic” value of Formula 1 safety cars, it is good to remember that I Many changes in the organization Over the years to manage the race neutralization stages. Contrary to what is happening now, in fact, in some seasons it was forbidden to enter the pits under the safety car system. A trick, for example, that would drastically alter the controversial 2021 Abu Dhabi GP final, which decided the race for the world title last season.
An interesting statistical analysis published by the page Twitter F1_charts Highlight how the current season is Second in Formula 1 history to increase the use of VSC or safety car. In fact, 9.6% of the rolls played occurred in a tie. The absolute record goes back to the 2020 championship when he crossed 10%. However, that year, the data was slightly “distorted” due to a lower number of GPs played, which may have contributed to the average value being raised slightly compared to a season with more than 20 GPs, such as the traditional season in recent years .
It should also be noted that, as of 2010, average vehicle use has increased in terms of safety especially compared to the past. A trend that grew even more with the introduction of Virtual in 2015. From that season onwards Equivalent courses have never fallen below the 6% mark of the total. In the hybrid era of F1, the slightly lower number stands out for the 2021 season: last year, however, the absolute record for red flags was reached, and he waved in six different GPs.
Brief history of # F1 Safety car and its use over the years!
First seen in 73, but officially introduced and used regularly since 1993. Since 1996 the main supplier to Mercedes, with Aston Marion joining in 2021
This season 9.6% of laps are behind SC/VSC, the second most in history 📈 pic.twitter.com/PHI3R21XVX
– F1_charts (@F1_charts) September 20 2022