Formula 1’s procedure for standing restarts following a red flag has been amended at the Azerbaijan Grand Prixб with a permanent change to be discussed for the future.
If there is a red flag in Baku, when the race is set to resume the safety car will still leave the pitlane before all the competitors – but it will not dictate the pace of the formation lap.
Instead, the safety car lights will be turned off immediately, and when the field leaves the pitlane 30 seconds after the safety car, the lead car will dictate the pace.
This has been done to allow the drivers to manage their tyre temperatures more effectively before the standing restart, according to the FIA.
There were three red flags in the previous race in Australia with the last of those prompted by the final full standing restart, which was chaotic.
Several drivers complained of low tyre temperatures and simply not having enough grip, while McLaren driver Lando Norris went as far as criticising tyre supplier Pirelli.
There is a suggestion that while surface temperature can be generated easily enough on a lap to the grid behind the safety car, getting that temperature into the bulk of the compound is harder.
The rule tweak for Baku comes after feedback from the drivers’ briefing on Friday and indicates that the FIA accepts that a change is necessary for safety reasons.
For this weekend the change has been implemented via a modification to the specific Baku ‘event notes’ from the race director.
But this is only a temporary measure and the FIA says potential options will be discussed with the teams and FOM “to update the regulations related to this topic as a permanent solution to this issue”.