Formula One racers also tested a new system of the so-called virtual safety car at the second free practice in Austin.
During the training, yellow flags were hung on a part of the track, as in the case of an accident of one of the race cars, and the racers had to drive that part reasonably slowly, within a certain time frame.
The move is the result of a serious accident of Jules Bianchi in a Suzuki, which did not slow down enough in the area of double yellow flags and flew off the track and collided with a mobile elevator, which was pulling the stuck car out of the excursion zone. Racers with a virtual safety car system slow down on their own, so there is no need to drive an actual safety car onto the track, which would slow down the racers in all parts of the track.
Although both racers and the leading men of the FIA are happy with the test of the system, they both agree that even minor changes will be needed before it can be used in racing.
Romain Grosjean explained that it will be necessary to clearly tell racers how slow they have to drive through the “yellow” area, as the orientation in terms of time is not the best. “It was very difficult to chase the set time, as the target time was constantly changing. It was once written that I was nine tenths too fast, then that I had to be six tenths slower, then three times faster and then again two slower, ”said the Frenchman.
Pastor Maldonado had much less trouble. “Instructions are displayed on the steering wheel. If the specified time is in the plus, you are driving well, if you hear an audible signal you have to slow down a bit. It can very well be all together. As long as your sector time is positive, it's okay to just slow down too fast, so it's very easy. ”
The FIA will evaluate the data and reactions of the racers and continue testing the system in future races.
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