Virtual Safety Car rule formalised

ESPN Staff
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The FIA has formalised its new safety measures using lessons learned from Jules Bianchi's accident at the Japanese Grand Prix last year.

Bianchi remains in hospital with severe head injuries after crashing under yellow flag conditions in the rain at Suzuka and colliding with a recovery vehicle. In the remaining races of the 2014 season, the FIA trialled a new system known as the Virtual Safety Car (VSC) aimed at significantly reducing the chances of a similar accident occurring in the future. The VSC has now been formally added to the 2014 Sporting Regulations.

Previously drivers were expected to moderate their own speed under yellow flag conditions, but under the VSC they will have to stick to a time determined by race control in each marshalling sector. If drivers go under the time they will be reported to the stewards in order to be penalised.

The new regulations add: "No car may be driven unnecessarily slowly, erratically or in a manner which could be deemed potentially dangerous to other drivers or any other person at any time whilst the VSC procedure is in use. This will apply whether any such car is being driven on the track, the pit entry or the pit lane." Cars will only be allowed to enter the pits if it is in order to change tyres

When the VSC period comes to an end, a message will be displayed on timing screens and the "VSC" message on trackside light panels will be replaced by green lights.

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