Here’s How F1’s ‘VAR’ Is Going To Work – WTF1
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Here’s How F1’s ‘VAR’ Is Going To Work

The fallout of the controversial final laps of the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix has left F1 with plenty of problems to solve. One of the biggest changes being celebrated is the introduction of a Virtual Race Control, similar to VAR in football and now the FIA have revealed exactly how it’s going to work.

Renamed as the Remote Operations Centre (ROC), it’ll provide additional support to Race Control by looking into issues passed over to them by the two new alternating Race Directors, Niels Wittich and Eduardo Freitas, and their team.

Most importantly, ROC won’t be able to make any decisions themselves and can’t be used to change any past decisions, so it shouldn’t delay any decisions being made. Phew!

Making use of the extensive coverage of all the on-track action, it will allow the FIA to replay and review the races and any decisions made so they can make improvements going forward.

Already online at the FIA’s Geneva Headquarters, ROC will have access to data which it’s claimed is to be close to “more than ten simultaneous football matches, including over 140 video and audio sources”. Now that would have been handy in Brazil last year!

This comes after the FIA’s investigation decided that ‘human error‘ led to the incorrect application of the Safety Car rules in Abu Dhabi and that the Race Director needed additional outside support due to the pressures they were under.

If successful, the FIA plans to extend it to other championships in the future.

Are you happy to see F1 introduce a VAR-style system? Let us know in the comments below.

11 thoughts on “Here’s How F1’s ‘VAR’ Is Going To Work

  • Masi was crazy by handling all this pressure by himself, this is a step in the right direction for F1

  • Funny how – after all the wailing and gnashing of teeth, after all the meetings, after all the talking, after all the head chopping, after all the Mercedes hand-picking their preferred Race Director – on the VERY FIRST safety car of the 2022 season, the Race Director BLEW IT and didn’t follow the very rule the FIA passed so as to minimize the controversy.

      • According to the FIA Formula 1 Sporting Regulations, when lapped cars are permitted to pass the safety car, it is the intent and purpose of the rule that they are to rejoin the line behind the safety car.

        In this debacle, the cars unlapping themselves were not given that opportunity. The race was restarted before the unlapping cars rejoined the line behind the safety car.

        Either the black letter rules matter…or they don’t. Which is it?

        • If anyone is to lazy to go look for the full regulations and comb through it til page 54, here’s the full text of the rules in use during said grand prix:

          55.9 When ordered to do so by the clerk of the course the observer in the car will use a green light to signal to any cars between it and the leader that they should pass. These cars will continue at reduced speed and without overtaking until they reach the line of cars behind the safety car.

          55.10 Except under Article 55.12 below, the safety car shall be used at least until the leader is behind it and all remaining cars are lined up behind him.
          Once behind the safety car, the leader must keep within ten (10) car lengths of it (except under Article 55.13 below).

          55.12 If the clerk of the course considers track conditions are unsuitable for overtaking the message “OVERTAKING WILL NOT BE PERMITTED” will be sent to all Competitors using the official messaging system.

          55.13 If the clerk of the course considers it safe to do so, and the message “LAPPED CARS MAY NOW OVERTAKE” has been sent to all Competitors using the official messaging system, all cars that have been lapped by the leader will be required to pass the cars on the lead lap and the safety car.
          This will only apply to cars that were lapped at the time they crossed the Line at the end of the lap during which they crossed the first Safety Car line for the second time after the safety car was deployed.
          Having overtaken the cars on the lead lap and the safety car these cars should then proceed around the track at an appropriate speed, without overtaking, and make every effort to take up position at the back of the line of cars behind the safety car. Whilst they are overtaking, and in order to ensure this may be carried out safely, the cars on the lead lap must always stay on the racing line unless deviating from it is unavoidable.
          Unless the clerk of the course considers the presence of the safety car is still necessary, once the message “LAPPED CARS MAY NOW OVERTAKE” has been sent to all Competitors using the official messaging system, the safety car will return to the pits at the end of the following lap.

        • I’m sorry to tell you that you are mistaken. Under article 55.13 of the FIA Formula One Sporting Regulations:
          “[…] Unless the clerk of the course considers the presence of the safety car is still necessary, once the message “LAPPED CARS MAY NOW OVERTAKE” has been sent to all Competitors using the official messaging system, the safety car will return to the pits at the end of the following lap.”

          If lapped cars are allowed to overtake the safety car, the safety car MUST return to the pits at the end of the following lap. Cars in the process of unlapping themselves are not considered.

          • So, you think the intent of rule is satisfied the instant the last lapped car merely passes the safety car?

            That the purpose of the rule is to – what – create a series of rolling roadblocks to the leaders after the safety car departs the track so the leaders can then demonstrate their finesse and skill by threading through the cars they’ve already lapped during the race by immediately lapping them again?…while the rest of the pack respectfully waits while the leaders negotiate the rolling landmines that are the previously lapped cars?

            With all of the focus on safety in F1, you believe that the safety car/lapped car(s) rule is intended to create LESS safety for all concerned?

            Do you REALLY believe that is the intent of that rule?

          • I cannot speak on what the intent of the rule is, that’s a matter of interpretation of the race directors.
            I can however tell you what the rules say, and to me it’s clear as night and day;
            “[…]once the message “LAPPED CARS MAY NOW OVERTAKE” has been sent[…], the safety car will return to the pits at the end of the following lap.”

            To me, it leaves no room for interpretation. “If X, then Y.”
            “If lapped cars can pass, then racing will resume a lap from then.”

            As to your concern about safety; do you think having the safety car stay out 1-3 laps longer than now is the best thing for the sport? To limit racing? Hell, why do we even have green flag running? Would be much safer if the safety car was deployed all laps.
            Racing is inherently a bit dangerous. Thankfully we’re making improvements to safety, but it won’t be totally risk-free.
            As to lapping cars; I see no huge problem with waving blue flags (that is, if the leaders even get close to catching up in the first place).

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