Vettel says F1 drivers exploiting VSC "loophole"

Sebastian Vettel has criticised Formula 1's virtual safety car system, claiming it is open to abuse from drivers.

Vettel says F1 drivers exploiting VSC "loophole"
Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF71H, Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG F1 W09
Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF71H, Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF71H and Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG F1 W09
Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF71H, Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG F1 W09
Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF71H, Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG F1 W09, Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF71H and Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB14
Kevin Magnussen, Haas F1 Team VF-18, Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF71H and Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG F1 W09
Start: Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W09, leads Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF71H, Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG F1 W09, Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF71H, Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB14 and the rest of the pack
Start: Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W09, leads Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF71H, Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG F1 W09, Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF71H, Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB14 and the rest of the pack

Vettel finished fourth in the Spanish Grand Prix, having lost two places to Mercedes' Valtteri Bottas and Max Verstappen's Red Bull after making a pitstop under the VSC.

Vettel admitted making a mistake in stopping his car in his pit on cold tyres that contributed to that loss of position, but he still criticised the VSC system because he feels it contains a weakness in the software that allows drivers to go faster than they should be able to.

"It's the same for everyone but the FIA is supplying us with a system that makes us follow a delta time, and everybody has to slow down by, I think, 40%, but I think everybody's aware you can have a faster way to go under VSC than just follow the delta – by saving distance," Vettel said.

"So, I think we should have a system that hasn't got this loophole, because it forces us to drive ridiculous lines around the track and everybody's doing it so I don't think it's a secret.

"Our sport should be in a better shape than supplying software that's just poor and allows us to find some extra performance that way."

This is the second time Vettel has criticised the FIA's safety car procedure, having described the timing of a real safety car period in April's Chinese GP as "not right".

FIA race director Charlie Whiting said he wasn't aware of any specific problem with the VSC system and disagreed it's possible to manipulate the system by driving a certain way.

"I don't know what he's talking about, honestly," Whiting said. "The VSC has a map in the ECU which is 30% slower than a quick lap. Drivers have to follow that lap.

"It's measured every 50m of travel along the track. It measures where it is relevant to the reference lap and gives you a plus or minus.

"Every 50m they are reminded if they are above or below.

"They are allowed to go negative [quicker than the reference time] but as long as they are positive once in each marshalling sector and at the safety car 1 line [it's OK].

"Even if someone does go slow, as long as they get to zero by that point it doesn't matter.

"If it's measured every 50m then any advantage you can get for taking a different line on the track is going to be absolutely minimal.

"I can sort of see what he's saying, but the racing line is the optimal one."

Additional reporting by Scott Mitchell and Roberto Chinchero 

shares
comments
Wolff "fully understands" Vettel pitstop decision

Previous article

Wolff "fully understands" Vettel pitstop decision

Next article

Spanish GP: Post-race press conference

Spanish GP: Post-race press conference
Load comments
Why the end is nigh for F1’s most dependable design tool Prime

Why the end is nigh for F1’s most dependable design tool

Wind tunnel work forms the bedrock of aerodynamic development in Formula 1. But as Pat Symonds explains, advances in virtual research are signalling the end of these expensive and complicated relics.

Formula 1
Jun 13, 2021
Why Mosley’s legacy amounts to far more than tabloid rumour Prime

Why Mosley’s legacy amounts to far more than tabloid rumour

The newspapers, naturally, lingered over Max Mosley’s tainted family history and niche sexual practices. But this is to trivialise the legacy of a big beast of motor racing politics. Stuart Codling weighs the life of a man whose work for safety on both road and track has saved hundreds of thousands of lives, but whose penchant for cruelty remains problematic and polarising.

Formula 1
Jun 12, 2021
Why pragmatic Perez isn't fazed by no-nonsense Red Bull F1 culture Prime

Why pragmatic Perez isn't fazed by no-nonsense Red Bull F1 culture

Sergio Perez has spent most of his career labouring in Formula 1’s midfield, wondering whether he’d ever get another shot at the big time. Red Bull has handed him that chance and, although life at the top is tough, the Baku winner is doing all the right things to get on terms with Max Verstappen, says BEN ANDERSON

Formula 1
Jun 11, 2021
What the data tells us about the F1 2021 title fight Prime

What the data tells us about the F1 2021 title fight

Formula 1 has been tracking car performance using timing loops mounted every 200m around each circuit – to the extent that it was able to anticipate Ferrari’s 'surprise’ pole in Monaco. PAT SYMONDS explains what this means for this season and beyond

Formula 1
Jun 10, 2021
The weighty issue F1 needs to find a balance with Prime

The weighty issue F1 needs to find a balance with

OPINION: After consecutive street races with contrasting highlights, one theme stood out which has become a prevalent issue with modern Formula 1 cars. But is there a way to solve it or, at least, reach a happy middle ground to help all parties?

Formula 1
Jun 10, 2021
The changes behind a 'feel-good' F1 result in Baku Prime

The changes behind a 'feel-good' F1 result in Baku

OPINION: The Azerbaijan Grand Prix had elements that make Formula 1 really exciting – unpredictability and shock results. This resulted in heartbreak for several of the championship’s regular contenders and joy for others who rarely reach the ultimate limelight. And one of those on the Baku podium is riding a wave of form he’s keen to continue

Formula 1
Jun 9, 2021
The human cost to replacing Formula 1's cancelled rounds Prime

The human cost to replacing Formula 1's cancelled rounds

OPINION: With the global pandemic still lingering, Singapore's grand prix has been cancelled for 2021, with more looking likely to follow. Although Formula 1 has TV deals and profits to chase, retaining a 23-race calendar could be most harmful to those who sacrifice the most for the championship.

Formula 1
Jun 8, 2021
Azerbaijan Grand Prix Driver Ratings Prime

Azerbaijan Grand Prix Driver Ratings

An eventful weekend in Baku full of incident and drama lent the race result an unusual feel, as three drivers scored their first podiums of the year. But it wasn't the eventual race winner who scored top marks in our driver ratings

Formula 1
Jun 7, 2021