Safety Car Debate

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by Cyberstig1, Feb 22, 2018.

  1. Cyberstig1

    Cyberstig1 Rookie

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    Chequered Flag Chat: The Safety Car/Code 60 Debate

    By Lachlan Mansell| February 19th, 2018



    Are Safety Cars actually that safe? Or are there alternatives that are both safer and fairer?

    It’s a topic I’ve written about before, but after watching a total of 47 laps under Safety Car conditions during this year’s Bathurst 12 Hour, witnessing a workable alternative (the Code 60 system) at the recent Dubai 24 Hour and engaging in some passionate debate with a few of my fellow motorsport commentators, I decided it was time to re-open the discussion.

    The Safety Car concept was introduced to the world at the 1973 Canadian Formula 1 Grand Prix, and made its first Australian appearance at the Bathurst 1000 in 1987.

    It’s undisputable its introduction was a massive leap forward in terms of minimising the risk to drivers of crashed or stranded vehicles, not to mention trackside marshalls attending to these vehicles. Before the advent of the Safety Car, racing either continued at full speed (historical vision of race cars tearing past recovery trucks would be enough to make any modern-day OH & S assessor break out in a cold sweat) or, if an incident was serious enough, the race would stop altogether.

    However, the Safety Car is certainly not perfect from either a safety or sporting perspective, and some of its imperfections were highlighted by renowned motorsport historian David Greenhalgh in an excellent analysis piece he wrote for the Chevron Great Race Bathurst 1000 preview magazine in 2014 – I actually caught up with David at the Bathurst 12 Hour and I was reminded of some of the key flaws he highlighted with Safety Cars.

    Firstly, when Safety Car conditions are announced by race control, it takes time for the Safety Car to actually enter the circuit, as the race director or clerk of course endeavours to send it out at a time when it will pick up the right car – i.e. the race leader. This means cars are often racing at unabated speed for quite some time before coming under control.

    Compounding this problem is the fact that, especially in long distance races, teams will choose to pit as soon as a Safety Car is called because there is a strategic benefit to be gained by doing so (doing a pit stop when the field is being slowed under Safety Car conditions costs less time relative to rivals than doing a pit stop when the field is travelling at full speed). This means cars exit the pits and drive at race pace to join the train of cars behind the Safety Car.

    This situation – cars continuing to travel at high speeds even when the race is technically under control – means there is a considerable risk to drivers of stricken cars and officials attending to those cars.

    Secondly, to reference a motorsport cliché, “Safety Cars breed Safety Cars” – i.e. because of the field compression, there is an increased propensity for other incidents to occur immediately after a restart, resulting in further Safety Car interventions.

    There are no Safety Cars at the Dubai 24 Hour. Instead, there’s a caution protocol known as Code 60. In the event of an incident, drivers are given a 20-second countdown by which time they must adhere to a speed limit of 60km/h, enforced by monitoring how long it takes each car to travel between sector timing loops.

    Code 60 neatly sidesteps the two safety issues described above. Firstly, because it can be activated within a 20 second window, it is a very quick process to bring the field under control, and because the speed limit applies to all vehicles at all times, the situation of having cars continuing at high speed is avoided.

    Secondly, as there is no bunching of the field, the risk of incidents at a restart is significantly reduced. Safety Cars may breed Safety Cars, but Code 60s use very effective contraception.

    Having seen Code 60 in effect at the Dubai 24 Hour, I have to say I’m a fan, and I didn’t mind extolling the virtues of the system to some of my commentary colleagues at the Bathurst 12 Hour.

    Said colleagues were somewhat less enthusiastic than myself about the idea of introducing Code 60 here in Australia.

    They pointed out that at a track like Mount Panorama, there are sections where 60 km/h may still be too fast, especially if a car is stopped at a blind corner like the Cutting or the Dipper.

    My counter argument is that cars travelling at 60 km/h are still safer than cars travelling at race speed past an incident in these parts of the track, while they catch up to the Safety Car.

    My esteemed colleagues also mentioned the entertainment factor of bunching up the field behind a Safety Car. This raises an issue that’s worthy of further discussion.

    There’s no doubt that some of the grandstand finishes we have been treated to in races like the Bathurst 1000 have been brought about due to the appearance of late-race Safety Cars, and I would be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy calling some amazing sprints to the finish in endurance races after late Safety Car interventions, especially the 2013 and ’14 Winton 300s.

    But do we really need this level of artificial intervention to create a spectacle? Or have we fallen so deeply into the trap of romanticising about exciting moments brought about by Safety Cars that we’ve forgotten to look at the big picture? Having reflected on these questions, I’m of the belief that those of us within the industry sometimes get so hung up on what we’re used to, and what we’re comfortable with, we forget about the wider sporting perspective.

    In AFL or NRL, there’s no situation where the leading team has points deducted to create a close finish. Same goes for cricket. In an Olympic marathon, they don’t have a “safety runner” who comes onto the course to bunch up the field to make it a more exciting spectacle. And in motorcycle circuit racing, there’s no such thing as a Safety Bike. So why do we accept such a disruption to a pure sporting contest in circuit racing for cars?

    It’s a pretty sad state of affairs if we lack that much confidence in our product to believe we need artificial intervention for the sake of entertainment. This is especially true in parity formula categories like Supercars, where the margins in qualifying are often unbelievably tight.

    For all the good finishes created by Safety Cars, we lose sight of races where the entertainment value has actually been lessened by a Safety Car appearing at a bad time. And in multi-class races like the Bathurst 12 Hour, while Safety Cars might tighten up the outright contest, they can actually spread apart cars in non-outright classes.

    Coming back to the Bathurst 1000 example, the propensity for a late-race Safety Car has become so frequent in recent years that teams have taken this into account in calculating their strategy. This has meant the opening stages of the race have often been quite dull, as teams have been focused on “buying a ticket” to the last hour, knowing that they just have to be somewhere in the lead bunch for the final sprint to the line.

    What if the Code 60 system was implemented instead? What if teams knew they had to race hard all day, because if they lost too much ground to the lead car early in the race, they wouldn’t be able to make it back under an artificial field compression? Wouldn’t this make the entire race more intriguing, rather than only the ending? These are the sorts of questions that need to be asked when assessing the merits of various caution systems from an entertainment standpoint.

    Safety Car Supercars

    The differences in opinion between myself and my colleagues saw quite a lot of emotion and passion rising to the surface, but the bottom line is this: we are commentators who are very fortunate enough to talk about, and therefore have the chance to publicly express our opinion about such matters, but at the end of the day we’re not much more than glorified spectators; we’re not the ones affected by whatever caution system is used. What really counts is the point of view of the people whose safety may be affected by the decision to use Safety Cars or Code 60s – the drivers and the officials – so I sought the opinion of people representing these groups.

    Caitlin Wood is a driver with experience racing under both Safety Cars and Code 60s, and she gave the Code 60 option the big thumbs-up.

    “In multi-class races, I think Code 60 is definitely a safer option, because there are big differences between speeds and this can be a big issue at a Safety Car restart,” she said.

    “Under a Code 60 there are more gaps between the cars, so when the race restarts it’s not so stressful for slower cars trying to get out of the way of faster cars.

    “In the Dubai 24 Hour it was really easy for the drivers – we were given a countdown on the radio and knew exactly when we had to reach the 60km/h speed limit. We were given plenty of notice for when the race was going green again as well.

    “They enforce the speed limit very strictly and the drivers are all very obedient because we know it’s a severe penalty for speeding.

    “In the KTM I was racing, we had to manage the speed ourselves but I know a lot of the GT3 cars have a setting in their speed limiter to maintain 60km/h.

    “For a big endurance race like the Dubai 24 Hour, I thought it worked a lot better than a Safety Car, and I think it would have worked well for the Bathurst 12 Hour – it might have even prevented some of the incidents we saw.”

    I also spoke to an experienced clerk of course who chose not to be named, but was still prepared to offer some great insight. While open to the Code 60 concept, he said there are some hurdles to overcome.

    Chief of these concerns is how the 60km/h speed limit would be enforced on Aussie tracks. For a circuit like Dubai, there are lots of micro-sector timing loops in the track, allowing each car’s speed can be measured at multiple points. Only measuring the cars once per lap is not good enough, because people would speed to the end of the lap when the Code 60 is first called.

    Another concern is the fact that on a track like Bathurst with tight sections and blind corners, the officials might be able to execute a recovery more safely and easily with the field bunched up in one part of the track, rather than spread out.

    I’m glad I had the conversation with the clerk of course as it opened my eyes to an alternative point of view, but here’s my response to his two concerns.

    In regards to measuring speed of cars, I totally agree that it needs to be enforced to ensure both safety and fairness. At Queensland Raceway and Lakeside, they have a “clampdown” system (fundamentally very similar to Code 60) but because the speed of cars is not measured that accurately, bunching still occurs as some drivers’ definition of 60km/h is different to others. It might be fine for the events at those circuits, which are predominately for recreational racers competing at club level, but it wouldn’t be satisfactory for higher-profile national events where there is more at stake.

    So my question is why, in this day and age, do we need to persist with timing loops to measure the speed of cars? Surely the technology exists to measure the speed of cars in closed-circuit competition with a GPS-based system? It would certainly be much cheaper than having to install thousands of dollars worth of timing loops in every racetrack.

    In terms of officials being able to execute a recovery, again the technology exists to communicate with drivers to advise them of the situation. At Queensland Raceway and Lakeside, and increasingly at Wakefield Park and Winton, drivers are required to wear race receivers for events, whereby the clerk of course can communicate directly with the drivers. And for larger events at Bathurst there is a race management channel that serves a similar purpose.

    So if a car was being recovered from a tricky position, the clerk of course could say over the race management channel: “Car stranded on driver’s left at the Cutting, all drivers keep far right”. And if the recovery is too hard to manage with any cars driving past, tell everyone to stop where they are on the circuit!

    A couple of other advantages of Code 60 for those I haven’t convinced yet:

    Racing can restart at any time, unlike a Safety Car where you have to wait until the end of a lap – this would be a significant time-saver on a long track like Bathurst and would result in an increase in green-flag racing.

    And Code 60 can be used during practice and qualifying as well as racing, which avoids disrupting the flow of those sessions with red flags, having to wait for cars to return to pit lane, and then drivers struggling to find clear track to set a time when the session restarts.

    Finally, for those like me who love the strategic variation created by endurance racing, Code 60 still presents a tactical element because there is an advantage to be gained by pitting under a Code 60, compared to green-flag conditions.

    In conclusion, introducing a Code 60-type protocol should be the aim of Australian motorsport sanctioning bodies, event promoters and race categories because it has significant safety advantages over Safety Cars while also making motor-racing much more of a pure sporting contest – and aren’t these two objectives we should always be striving towards?




  2. xlxy90

    xlxy90 Professional Gold Member

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    Great write up.

    For the record, are double waved yellow flags used in Supercars? I'm not an avid follower but do tend to watch parts of races on Sunday afternoons.
  3. stucar17

    stucar17 Moderator Team Raceonoz Gold Member Super ROOZ

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    yep, double waved yellows are there for sure.... @Nathancarhead could probably give some good insight to this as well...

    Need to change the rules around the safety car though IMO.... pits should close, and the whole track should go yellow with a limit of 60KPH till they pick up the stationary safety car on the track. Once all cars are lined up, then they can either sit of track needs to be cleared, or follow at safe speed till SC leaves....Its all about driver safety these days, and you cant get away from that. At the moment, cars are 'racing' to pick up the safety car so they dont lose any time to those around them. Its a no brainer. If the safety car is stationary, and the pits closed, there is no need for the drivers to race back to get in the que....they make any time difference up easily..... Once the safety car gets going, controlled speed, then the pits can open and teams can do what they want..

    The crash at the 12 Hr, same spot as Porter died 12 years ago, was absolutely avoidable. The fact that CAMS had done nothing in 12 years, and there was nearly a repeat is a disgrace IMO. They had done nothing to improve the safety at that part of the track, and trying to do something now is a bit like locking the gate after the horse has bolted. They need a light system, that once activated in the cars, drivers have 5 seconds to slow considerably...or what is considered a safe speed.....60/80/100......then after 20 sec all cars 60/80......with voice coms to control should be a pretty easy fix.......

    At the end of the day, its about safety first, entertainment second......whatever way they do it though, there will still be a hole in the system
    Cyberstig1 likes this.
  4. autech91

    autech91 Professional

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    Technology is there to slow cars down remotely. If indoor go kart tracks can do it so can race organisers.
    I'm thinking a big strobe light warning the driver they about to lose power (so it doesn't catch em out) then the car slows down. Leave the pits closed and let em lap at the same speed unless it calls for a complete stop in which they do what us bikers do and circulate around the track then park up on the dummy grid in pit lane ready to go out again.
    stucar17 and Cyberstig1 like this.
  5. nigegunz

    nigegunz Professional Gold Member

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    great article cyberstig
    all the money that goes into the gt3 class cars & that they dont have an onboard light system at Bathurst is just downright stupid... as Stu said, the accident at this months 12hr race was completely avoidable
    code 60 implementation might rob the crowd of SC generated grandstand finish, but it is endurance racing & i would rather see someone win by 3 laps for doing a better job on the day with better outright pace & strategy
    Cyberstig1 likes this.
  6. t_b_williams

    t_b_williams Tim Gold Member Super ROOZ

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    How about a combination of the two. Have a safety car for example pick up the leader and circulate at say 80KPH and the rest of the field is free to catch up to the lead pack but at a restricted speed limit of 100kph. Set those limits as you may but point being it still compresses the field just a lot slower. So a short safety car wouldnt see the field compress that much at all but a long one might see the whole field together at the restart.
    Cyberstig1 and stucar17 like this.
  7. stucar17

    stucar17 Moderator Team Raceonoz Gold Member Super ROOZ

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    A combination could work.....
    the main issue for me though is that with the way the flags work, there is still the human element and the lag time that comes with it....you cant avoid regardless of how good a job they do.

    The crash in the 12 hr was the same spot mark porter was killed 12 years ago.....
    The Audi was sitting prone on the same part of the track for 10 seconds before the Merc hit him....to me this says that the safety systems in place are still inadequate. Flick to 1 min in the vid and its not till 1:10 that the other car makes contact.
    Thats 8 seconds that drivers had to be made aware of a crash, and make a reaction. (less 2 sec for flaggie reaction)

    EVERY flaggies station should have a sector yellow switch that activates straight to the cars, or a full course yellow switch that does the same thing...The lights go on, cars slow to 80KPH (which they can do in about 3 sec)

    I just dont understand how it can be that hard
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  8. PaulCox

    PaulCox Team Driver Gold Member

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    if he wasnt in a left hand drive car he would be dead
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  9. stucar17

    stucar17 Moderator Team Raceonoz Gold Member Super ROOZ

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    agree....
  10. autech91

    autech91 Professional

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    Also add the human element of the drivers, even if the flag is out there is no guarantee that they see them.

    In bike racing a yellow that is held but not waved means that someones crashed but they're off the track, so take it a bit easy and don't overtake.
    A waved yellow means some poor bugger is about to get run over so take it real easy and don't overtake. Likewise red flags, stationary means get the back to the pits sharpish as someone is hurt but don't fall off doing it, waved means be prepared to come to a complete halt if necessary. All this you have a process at a sharp rate of knots. I'd say its harder to see a flag in a car too as you're in a big cage with limited visibility.

    From what I saw at the 12hr there's a fair few marshals at each point with one on the radio giving instructions, I wonder if they are allowed to throw a yellow autonomously or if the person with the radio has the authority?
  11. stucar17

    stucar17 Moderator Team Raceonoz Gold Member Super ROOZ

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    This is where there should be full time flaggies, paid for by supercars, at each station or flag point....Properly trained, they should be able to throw the yellows, and activate an in car warning light system for their sector, or the whole track....

    The volunteer flaggies do a great job, but there needs to be more accountability from the race organisations in terms of professionalism in all aspects.
  12. Nathancarhead

    Nathancarhead Team Driver

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    Stu's right, I do have a fair bit to add to this topic.

    For those who are unaware, I am a CAMS official and I regularly officiate at Barbagallo and Collie, and have been doing so for a couple of years now. At most race meets I'm generally a flag marshal, however, I have done a variety of roles including pit lane, grid and recovery whilst more recently have been moving into more senior roles doing event command (stewarding/CoC). It’s a great passion of mine, and something I always look forward to doing. (side note; anyone who’s ever thought about wanting to get closer to the action, but may not have the money to actually race, becoming an official is one of the best things you can do! Especially those aged between 12 and 25 as that falls into CAMS’s “Young Officials” program which has lots of added benefits (trust me on that))

    Firstly, an example of how things are done at our local state rounds. When I'm stationed at a Flag Point, I have my full range of flags, and also a radio to ensure I stay in contact with race control. Let’s say I'm at Flag Point 1 at Barbagallo (drivers left entry of turn 1), and a car out brakes themselves, and gets stuck in the sand. First things first I display a single waved yellow flag to communicate with the other competitors that there is an incident in my sector. Once the yellow flag is displayed, I radio through to race control. The message procedure generally goes like this:

    "Race control, this is Flag Point 1, car 10 in the sand drivers left in turn 1, dangerous (or safe position depending on how close the car is relative to the track. Generally, any car on the track, or within 5m of the track is considered to be in a dangerous position) position. Drivers condition unknown". At this point race control will acknowledge the call and get whoever is on CCTV to focus the camera and monitor the situation, whilst I continue to display the appropriate flag. Race control will then radio me back asking various questions such as was there any contact with another car? did the car go in on its own? did the car have any mechanical issues? what is the drivers condition? does the driver require any medical assistance? what type of tow does the car require? The answers to these questions can take some time, and it’s important that we as flag marshals provide clear information to race control and the stewards so that they can make a decision. At any point however, the CoC can use their priority radio to neutralise the field by deploying the SC. If the CoC decides that a SC is not necessary, then yellow flags are generally displayed until the driver is out of the car, and in a safe location (generally behind a concrete wall of some kind, before we are told to withdraw yellow flags, and instead display green flags for a short period of time to notify the drivers that the incident has been "cleared".

    With regards to Safety Car vs Code 60, I think it’s important firstly to remember that the Safety Car's role is to neutralise the racing field in the event of an incident to ensure the safety of the competitors, marshals and spectators. Whilst I agree that there are times where a SC comes out, it becomes more of an "entertainment car" as it bunches the field up and sometimes mixes up the pack making for a closer finish, but it's important to never compromise the safety of the competitors, marshals or spectators.

    I also agree that when a SC is called, it can take some time for the SC to pick up the leader, and we've all seen examples where the SC hasn't picked up the leader correctly, and has had to wave the whole field around before correctly picking up the leader the next time by. However, as soon as the SC is called, and the yellow flags and SC boards are displayed, the drivers should slow down to a pre-determined speed and slowly catch the back of the pack. I totally disagree with the idea of racing continuing until the field is completely neutralised behind the SC even when the SC boards and flags have been displayed for a significant period. I know that when a SC is called at our local state rounds, once a SC is called, and SC boards and flags are displayed, all drives must immediately raise their hand as they pass the next flag point to show they acknowledge the SC situation, as well as slow down to a safe speed. Same applies to Yellow flag zones. This is something that has long been said as part of the driver’s briefings and is something all competitors agree on to ensure the safety of themselves, other competitors, marshals and spectators.

    Unfortunately, the biggest contradiction to all of this is that the higher up the racing ranks you travel, the less the teams and drivers care about safety, and the more they want to win. In all the local state rounds, they all understand that its unlikely they are going to be the next Bathurst winner, and that Monday they're going to be back at their 9-5 job like the rest of us, and therefore the attitude tends to be that they want to ensure that they, their fellow competitors and most importantly, their race cars are OK. The reverse is being that those who race top tier Motorsport such as Supercars drivers, or F1 drivers all think that they could be the next Bathurst winner, or next F1 world champion, and also aren't paying the bills for damage to their race cars. Therefore, they aren't so interested in ensuring the safety of others during and incident, and they are the ones who race back to the pits to make sure they "stay in the race"

    As for the Code 60/Virtual Safety Car/Full Course Yellow, I think it’s a brilliant system, but only if used correctly. Personally, the FCY system works best when Incorporated with a SC. To me, I think the appropriate use of the FCY yellow system by itself is for small clean-ups where a car has just broken down and needs to be returned to the pits, and there is very minimal clean up. Anything after that, in my opinion needs the use of a SC or Red Flag to fully neutralise the field, and enable the recovery process to be done in the safest possible manner.

    With regards to restarts in multi class endurance racing (or multi class racing in general), personally, I think that unless you are willing the prolong a SC period to allow all lapped cars to return to their class order (e.g. a group of GT3 cars, followed by GT4 cars by allowing the displaced GT4 cars to overtake the SC to return to two separate groups, which is see as an issue in itself - being allowed to overtake the SC and the rest of the field to then run at race pace before returning to the back of the grid), having different class cars, racing at different speeds is just something we have to deal with. It's something I deal with at our state race meetings. Saloon car events for example are 2 classes. EA vs VN and AU vs VT, IPC races are split into 4 classes, O3L, U3L, U2L and U1600. Multi class racing is going to have multiple classes, all with varying speeds. It's just something that needs to be dealt with. I agree that in a multi class endurance race, especially late in the race when the classes are thoroughly mixed together, it becomes harder for the drivers on a restart to avoid accidents with faster/slower cars, but once again, its multi class racing, and that's just one of the things you have to deal with.

    In terms of being able to monitor cars for FCY's with micro sectors, it’s very easy to do yes, but it’s a cost. It’s a cost for the competitors and the track. The competitors would have to have a GPS receiver (probably other than a Dorian Timer which is generally what’s used Australia wide at State and National level events (Supercars are technically International, it’s a weird sub class from CAMS which means Supercars are always the highest tier as such. Same would likely apply to the ARC and Australian Superbikes). Personally, at state and national levels, the simplest and easiest thing to do is just use a SC. I'd also argue that it is just the safest thing. When you move up to events like Supercars or the B12hr, a FCY system could work for sure, but personally, the FCY system when Incorporated with a SC works best.

    An example of well a FCY system works with a SC is the Blancpain GT series. Generally, for most incidents, a FCY yellow is called. The voice of the Race Director or CoC (Race director is very different to CoC by the way. Whilst the Race Director may be responsible for deploying SC's and managing that sort of thing, ultimately the CoC has final say as it's their race track) is heard across all team radios and on the broadcast usually with a 10 second warning ("FCY in 10 seconds"), then at 5 seconds; "FCY in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, FCY Now! FCY Now!. Once the field is neutralised effectively, the CoC can talk to the track side marshals regarding the incident whilst the marshals work in a safer environment. If the CoC determines the incident big enough for a SC, a SC will be deployed, and can easily be deployed at the correct time to correctly pick up the leader first go. If the incident is not big enough for a SC, the a FCY can remain in place, and once the circuit is ready to resume racing the CoC comes over the radio once again as does his countdown, this time replacing FCY with Green Flag. Most GT3 cars also have an on-board lights system which will light up and flash the appropriate colour flag to the situation, and therefore should help the drivers with slowing down, and driving in a safe manner. Don't get me wrong, I'm not bagging the FCY system, I just think it works better with a SC, and only in top level events. A FCY system would just be too hard to implement into state and national level events.

    As for the Supercars events, and in particular the B12hr race ending crash, its really difficult. The B12hr event for those who don't know, is run by Supercars as the promoter, and they employ many of the same senior officials (Race director, stewards etc) at the B12hr, as they would for a normal Supercars event. Having done now 2 Supercars events as a Flaggie, I can tell you that we are not allowed to display any flag without it being confirmed by race control. An example being that we were not allowed to blue flag, until told to by race control. The same thing would likely have applied to the B12hr.

    The basic layout to any flag point at any major event is one that consists of many people. Starting from the top, there is what’s called a “Sector Marshal”. This sector marshal is responsible for a number of points (generally 3 or 4 points throughout the circuit). At the Adelaide 500 for example, the flag points are based off turn numbers and their decimal distance to the following turn. So, one of the sectors would be Flag Points 8, which would include FP8.0RH, FP8.2LH, and FP8.7RH (RH and LH dictating drivers left or right). At each flag point, you then have a communicator (person who is on the radio communicating with race control), and then generally 3 or 4 other marshals who can/will display flags or assist in recovery and clean-up of incidents.

    Going back to the B12hr incident, although I don’t know the full story, my understanding is that when the car hit the wall, the communicator would have called it through asap, and race control will have to confirm the incident before confirming to that flag point that they would need to display the appropriate flag. Basically, it’s a time-consuming process, and unfortunately in this example it ended poorly. I absolutely agree however, that a number of Flag Points at Bathurst are in difficult locations (and I know from experience at Barbagallo the difficulties of not being able to spot a flag point unless you really are looking for it, just ask any number of the drivers that have copped penalties for passing under yellows because they claim to have not seen any flags). The best solution would be to install some sort of trackside lighting panels that illuminate, and most importantly, flash to warn drivers ahead. The best example of this I have seen is the ones F1 use. A simple LED screen with glare reflectors that can illuminate and flash any colour and is bright enough to be seen by anyone, at any speeds, that can be placed at multiple locations around the track. The possible only downside to this however, is that because for 47 weekends a year, the Bathurst circuit is public roads, there’s no guarantee that the lights would be maintained, or not vandalised etc. Whilst most people in Bathurst are petrol heads, or at the very least respect that motor racing takes place on their roads for a few weekends every year, there are likely still some people who aren’t a fan of motor racing at all, and would consider the installed lighting to be “visual pollution”, and may make a fuss about it. However, that is just what happens in the world, you can’t please everyone.

    One final point about SC’s, is that I think IndyCar do SC’s best in terms of finding the right balance of entertainment and safety. Basically, in IndyCar, if a car has an accident, and a Caution (IndyCar equivalent of a SC period) period is called, then the pits will close immediately. Any cars already in the lane before the pits closed may continue to be serviced before re-joining the neutralised field at a slow, and most importantly, safe pace. Once the Pace Car has the whole field behind it, only then will the pits open, and cars can be serviced under a yellow flag period. Obviously, at tracks like Indianapolis for the 500, the lap times are quite short, and therefore it doesn’t take long for the field the be completely behind the SC and the pits to open, however tracks like Barber, Mid-Ohio or Detroit are much longer, and will therefore take much longer for the full field to join up behind the SC. There’s no doubt that those who make a pit stop under a SC will lose out less in terms of lap times as everyone is circulating at a much slower speed, however the risk is that you will drop to the back of the field (or near enough depending on how many cars pit at the one time)