In an effort to avoid the tyre-related chaos seen during restarts at the Australian Grand Prix, the FIA is looking to allow more time to warm up tyres. Drivers complained about how difficult it was to get their tyres up to temperature during restarts following the safety car procedure. The FIA is unable to change its own regulations during a race weekend, so Fernando Alonso‘s suggestion to allow the safety car to leave 30 seconds early has been proposed. The procedure would allow the race leader to dictate the pace, creating a gap that gives everyone more freedom to warm up their tyres. The FIA has asked for feedback on the possibility of this change, but no actual rule change is required.
The rules state that “the sprint session or the race will be resumed behind the safety car when the green lights are illuminated, and the safety car leaves the pit lane. Drivers must follow the safety car no more than ten car lengths apart.” This regulation means that drivers have limited time to warm up their tyres, leading to concerns about wheel spin and accidents. Alonso‘s suggestion would allow for a gap to be created, which would give drivers more time to get their tyres up to temperature.
The FIA has said that if the safety car switches off its lights earlier than previously permitted, it will create more flexibility for drivers to warm their tyres. This option could also be available for today’s race in Baku. The FIA has acknowledged that tyre temperature issues could lead to crashes, and that the safety of drivers is of utmost importance.
This issue was discussed at length during Friday evening’s drivers’ briefing, where concerns about red flag stoppages at the Baku track were raised. The FIA wrote to teams this morning to ask for feedback on the tyre temperature issue and the new procedure. The FIA wants to ensure that drivers have a fair chance of warming up their tyres after safety car periods, and that accidents are avoided as much as possible.
The FIA‘s proposed change will not require an actual rule change, which means it could be implemented immediately. A final decision will be made after the FIA has studied feedback from teams. The FIA has stressed that safety is their top priority and that any changes made are to ensure the safety of the drivers.