The FIA has made further tweaks to the safety car procedures for the British Grand Prix after tests of a new speed limit did not get the support of drivers.
In the wake of the controversy at the European Grand Prix caused when Lewis Hamilton overtook the safety car, the FIA agreed to introduce a new speed limit for the lap when cars join up behind the lead vehicle. The initial plan was for the cars to tour around at the same speed as the safety car, to guarantee there was no chance of the drivers passing it while they formed up on track.
Tests of the new speed limit were tried out after practice sessions at Silverstone on Friday, but drivers were not happy with the target lap time – because it meant certain sections of the track were far too slow. Rubens Barrichello reckoned there were safety implications for drivers slowing so quickly, too.
"Yesterday I got to a point where I had to put it in first gear - having been flat out," he said. "In my opinion if somebody is not paying attention to the message then 'bang!' It is going to be a mega-shunt."
The FIA has agreed to increase the speed limit in the event of a safety car at Silverstone to approximately 80 percent of a flat-out lap time – which will include the final 200 meters of the circuit being left with no limit to ensure that drivers are not caught out should there be a late safety car call.
Furthermore, the FIA will also reserve the right to delay sending out the safety car itself on to track during a caution period, so there is no chance of it splitting up a leading group of cars. This should prevent a repeat of what happened in Valencia, when the immediate dispatch of the safety car meant it split race leader Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton – and cost the pursuing Ferraris valuable lap time.
The FIA will also ensure teams are aware of when the pit lane exit lights will be left green during a safety car phase, to try and avoid a repeat of what happened to Michael Schumacher when he was stuck behind a red light in the pits when he expected it to be green because of a gap to Kamui Kobayashi.
Robert Kubica reckoned the higher-speed delta time that will be in place for the race, tried out after Saturday's final free practice session, was much better than the slower one evaluated on Friday.
"Yesterday we tested a very slow one, which was pretty difficult, but today we tested a usual one which was more similar, and I think reasonable," he said.