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FIA Raises the Safety Bar in Formula 1 with New Speed Limit Rule



F1 yellow flag safety New Speed Limits

Embracing a new era of safety in Formula 1, the FIA is enforcing a stringent and specific speed limit during double-waved yellow flags, starting with the Monaco Grand Prix.

Starting from the upcoming Monaco Grand Prix, Formula 1 drivers will be mandated to adhere to a more stringent and actionable speed limit target during double-waved yellow flags.

The International Automobile Federation (FIA) is introducing this regulation following an examination and analysis of past events as well as discussions with Formula 1 teams and drivers, all aimed at increasing safety during on-track incidents.

This new rule will be applicable in situations where double-waved yellow flags are shown, which according to the international sporting code, are typically used when a track is partially or wholly obstructed, or when marshals are operating on or near the track, specifically under safety car and virtual safety car scenarios.

FIA’s technical director, Tim Goss, who also served in the same capacity at McLaren between 2014 and 2018, clarified that the FIA aims to broaden the usage of the “delta time concept”. This concept mandates drivers to maintain a speed slower than a predetermined reference lap time under safety car or virtual safety car situations, especially in areas where double-waved yellow flags are flown.

The goal is to prevent instances where cars might be allowed to temporarily increase their speed in order to regain lost time relative to the reference time.

The previous directive for drivers under the sporting code merely gave a general advice to “significantly reduce speed” and included a directive to refrain from overtaking and to be ready to change course or halt.


Goss further added, “Our intention now is to expand the delta time concept application to ensure that cars strictly adhere to the required delta time when double waved yellow flags are displayed under a virtual safety car or safety car. Hence, we are setting a specific reference speed limit in areas where those flags are displayed.”

Drivers will be notified of an approaching double-waved yellow flag zone through alerts on their dashboard and via radio signals, with the delta time resetting at the start of these zones.

The FIA conducted research that included on-track testing at several undisclosed locations. Based on this research, it was concluded that the speed limit under wet safety car conditions would be an appropriate speed to enforce.

Olivier Hulot, FIA’s head of F1 electronics, recognized that some drivers might face a disadvantage if they encounter a double-waved yellow flag that others do not, but emphasized that safety is the top priority.

“There may be a loss of competitive advantage – if one car passes through a double yellow flag zone and has to slow down, while another car doesn’t, the first car will lose time compared to its rivals,” explained Hulot.

“Nevertheless, the FIA considers safety of paramount importance, and when there is a hazard or marshals on the track, we must minimize the risks regardless of any competitive implications.”

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