FIA president Jean Todt says that Jules Bianchi’s accident should never be allowed to happen again, and the governing body will use race director Charlie Whiting’s report on Suzuka as a springboard for safety improvements.
One key element will be to address the perennial problem of drivers not slowing down sufficiently for waved yellow flags, which mean slow down and be prepared to stop.
“There are some things to learn,” said Whiting today. “And we want to engage with all the teams and drivers to make sure that we come up with good, sound and well thought through ideas. One of the most important things that we learned here is it’s probably better to take the decision to slow down away from the drivers.
“I think it’s better to try and put in place a system where it’s much clearer to everybody how much we think cars should slow down under similar circumstances, starting tomorrow morning with a meeting with all the teams to discuss exactly that – a way of trying to impose, for want of a better expression, a speed limit. It probably won’t be a speed limit as such, but there will be a way of controlling the speed with complete certainty and complete clarity.
“It would have the same effect as a safety car almost, because if you slowed everyone down to a certain pace, they would hold position relative to one another, so it would be almost the same as the first two laps whenever you deploy a safety car. And if it’s a short intervention you can probably do exactly the same thing, but without a safety car itself.
“I think what we really want drivers to do is to slow down to a given and well known speed in the relevant place. You need to give drivers warning of what’s going to come, and then they need time to make the necessary adjustments.”
One likely idea is to use the ‘delta’ time system which is already used when the safety car first goes out, but limit it to the sector where the incident is.
“What we could do is to effectively deploy the safety car, but not send the safety car out,. You’d do exactly what you’d do now. The drivers will all see the safety car delta display on their dashboard, and they will follow that. Normally what happens now is they have to follow that, keep positive to the safety car delta, and the Safety Car 1 line, which is before the pit entrance. As long as they are positive by that point, then they are legal.
“What we are thinking of doing is to extend that requirement so that the driver has to be positive all the way through the double yellow sector. Taking Suzuka as an example from Turn 6 you’d have to be positive all the way through those two yellow sectors. That’s one of a number of ways we are considering – there are a few ideas coming in from various sources at the moment. We want to try and make it clear to the drivers what sort of speed they need to drive through that sector.”