McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl says changes to Safety Car rules were discussed after the Abu Dhabi fiasco, but “in the end we voted that the regulations should stay as they have been”.
After the Italian Grand Prix, there is again a lot of talk about how a Safety Car should be handled if it has to come out in the final lap of the race.
The issue became increasingly relevant after the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, when race director Michael Masi broke the rules which govern the use of the Safety Car and basically gifted the world title to Max Verstappen.
The FIA and Formula 1 management then wanted to find a way to make sure that races can end under green flag conditions (without rules having to be broken), but according to McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl, the teams could not agree on a solution.
“After what happened last year in Abu Dhabi, there were a lot of discussions between FIA, Formula 1 and all the teams involved in order to see how the rules could be modified to make sure that races never end under a safety car,” Seidl said.
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“But despite the FIA and Formula 1 really pushing us all to find solutions, it was down to the teams, and pretty much all teams we couldn’t agree on any better solution which is then also still a fair solution in terms of the sporting outcome.
“That’s why I guess we simply have to accept that unfortunately, situations like this can happen.”
The German then explained that just red flagging the race is not that simple, although he did not go into details.
“In the end we voted that the regulations should stay as they have been, as far as I remember every single team voted like that.
“And even if it might sound easy to create something like ‘throw out always a red flag’ and so on. It’s actually not that straightforward.
“We discussed it in length. We didn’t come up with any better solution.”
Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff also agreed the issue is not that straightforward.
“You red flag the race if someone is in the wall, if the track is blocked,” the Austrian said.
“You red flag a race because you can’t pass anymore, something has happened. Why do you red flag a race just because you want to have a show of one lap or two?
“Discuss it with the FIA, [say] ‘let’s change the regulations, we want to have some really top last lap of racing’ – I’m lifting my hand for that. But it’s not what’s in the regulations today.
“Do we want to have a race finishing under green? And then we reverse-engineer it from there?
“So, you can say it’s five or 10 laps to the end, we have a safety car, let’s red flag it, and make sure that we are racing at the end.
“If that’s in the regs, good!” concluded Wolff.