The Virtual Safety Car (VSC) has split opinion since its introduction last season but according to Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz, the system is useless.
The Spaniard isn’t a fan of it and doesn’t think it contributes to F1. He believes it would be better with a full safety car.
Under the VSC system, which was deployed three times at Sepang, drivers have to keep to a set delta time from when it is called to when it comes to an end and must not exceed or dip below that time.
It’s been brought in as an alternative system to the safety car, which is now only used for larger incidents and trickier car recovery jobs.
The VSC will usually be called if there are double waved yellows in a particular section of track, to slow the speed of the cars down without bunching up the field with a safety car.
But Sainz isn’t convinced by the system, which can see a driver gain or lose time during a VSC period, and feels it is a “useless” addition to F1.
“In my opinion, they [VSC periods] are a bit useless, I don’t like it, it is not something that I enjoy,” he said. “Because when you are a midfielder, you prefer safety cars all the time, proper safety cars to regroup the field.
“It works as it should, but obviously people play a lot with it to warm their tyres, to create their own gaps before the pitstops.
“You can play a lot with it to your advantage or disadvantage of the others, so I don’t really enjoy it. I don’t think that it is something that is contributing in F1, that’s my personal opinion.”
“If I am a race leader, I probably like it, if I am a midfielder, I probably don’t like it. I have been in many racing series where you have a 10-second lead, suddenly a safety car comes out and you have to battle again.
“But looking [at it], maybe it’s a bit more fair, but I don’t think it’s what Formula 1 needs, especially for a midfielder.”