F1 officials have opted to change the safety car rules after the 2021 season finale caused quite a stir.
Former Race Director, Michael Masi, caught hell for his to-ing and fro-ing over the team radio in the final laps of the Abu Dhabi GP. F1
After a last-minute decision to allow lapped drivers to overtake the safety car – brought on by Williams’ Nicholas Latifi has careered into the barriers – Hamilton ultimately lost out to Max Verstappen as he was lifted up the field – and on fresher tyres – on the final lap.
Over the winter break, there has been much debate over the situation, and Masi ultimately was demoted from his position and the rules have now been clarified – should a similar situation occur in 2022 and beyond.
F1 chiefs have now decided to revise the sport’s safety car rules ahead of the new season to address the way in which races can be restarted when lapped cars have been waved past the safety car.
FIA President, Mohammed Ben Sulayem, made a speech on February 17 and detailed his plans for structural changes and more clarity for F1 in 2022.
He explained: “Firstly, to assist the race director in the decision-making process, a Virtual Race Control Room will be created. Alike the Video Assistance Referee (VAR) in football, it will be positioned in one of the FIA Offices as a backup outside the circuit.
“In real-time connection with the FIA F1 race director, it will help to apply the sporting regulations using the most modern technological tools.
“Secondly, direct radio communications during the race, currently broadcast live by all TVs, will be removed in order to protect the race director from any pressure and allow him to take decisions peacefully.
“It will still be possible to ask questions to the race director, according to a well-defined and non-intrusive process.
“Thirdly, unlapping procedures behind safety car will be reassessed by the F1 Sporting Advisory Committee and presented to the next F1 Commission prior to the start of the season.
“And finally, I would like to inform you that a new race management team will be put in place starting in Barcelona for the test session.”