F1 drivers back speed limit proposals

Sat Oct 11, 2014 2:14pm EDT
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By Alan Baldwin

SOCHI Russia (Reuters) - Formula One drivers have backed proposals to introduce a 'virtual safety car' or automatic speed limiter that would force the entire field to slow when yellow warning flags are waved.

The idea was raised by race director Charlie Whiting at the Russian Grand Prix on Saturday as one of the measures being considered following Jules Bianchi's horrific crash in Japan last weekend.

French driver Bianchi suffered severe brain injuries and remains 'critical but stable' after aquaplaning off a wet track while yellow warning flags were being waved and hitting a recovery tractor that was removing a crashed Sauber.

The 'virtual safety car' idea would mean drivers would respond to automatic GPS controls as if a safety car was deployed, but without it appearing on the track.

Some indoor go-kart circuits already use a system that cuts speeds at the push of a command from race control.

"We had a drivers' meeting with (FIA president) Jean Todt on Friday and one of the ideas that came out is in electric karts when a flag comes out and all the engines die or limiters are put on, which is quite good," said championship leader Lewis Hamilton.

"What's good is the FIA are reacting to it, they're trying to find the best solution," the Mercedes driver told reporters.

"The problem with flags is that you want to be safe, but you want to lose as little time as possible, so you're on a knife edge with it."   Continued...

Marussia Formula One driver Jules Bianchi of France drives during the Japanese F1 Grand Prix at the Suzuka Circuit October 5, 2014.  REUTERS/Toru Hanai