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30th Oct 2014

Formula 1 is set to trial ‘virtual safety car’ at US Grand Prix

This weekend will see a trial run of the 'virtual safety car'.

Darragh Murphy

Formula 1 have started taking measures after Jules Bianchi’s crash at the Japanese Grand Prix earlier this month.

The US Grand Prix gets underway tomorrow and teams will trial the new technology after the practice sessions. The new system is an attempt to force drivers to slow down in an accident zone.

The way the system works is that, in the event of a crash, drivers must slow their vehicle to a speed of about 35% of their normal dry lap time and any drivers who fail to do so will be met with penalties. A dashboard display will be put in place for the drivers to monitor this percentage.

A system already exists requiring drivers to slow to a pre-determined lap time “delta” when a safety car is in the process of picking up the leader.

Pressure has been put on the FIA to make a decision after the accident that left Jules Bianchi with severe head injuries.

After the Russian Grand Prix, race director Charlie Whiting said: “One of the most important things to learn here is that it is probably better to take the decision to slow down away from the drivers and have a system where it is clearer to everyone how much we think drivers should slow down.”