And I am not talking about general safety of drivers and spectators. That kind of safety I take for granted, given the incredible series of improvements introduced to our sport in the last couple of decades, especially after Senna’s death in Imola 24 years ago. I am actually talking about the use of safety car procedures in three out of four Formula One GP’s this year.
Inarguably, the deployment of the sporty silver Mercedes coupe, has contributed to making some of the races more exciting and it changed results which seemed already achieved on paper. We often criticized the adoption of the VSC in many occasions; yet that slow procession call gave Vettel and Ferrari the opportunity to show the Scuderia’s true pit wall colors, snatching an impossible victory in the opening round in Australia. In China and Azerbaijan, race director Charlie Whiting seemed to be changing a little his parameters for activating the safety car procedures, thus bringing a boring procession of open wheelers to a complete and fresh new race start.
Has this new attitude got anything to do with the way the new American F.1 owners see the future of the sport developing? In the US championships, safety cars are called in action at every possible opportunity, often giving the audience more suspense and fun. If that is the case, should we still think of it as a safety car or should we start to call it… excitement car?