Safety Car Procedure MSA Standard Regulations
2010 Competitors and Officials Yearbook
Section Q Appendix 2 : Operation of Safety Car
1.1. The Safety Car will be brought into operation to neutralise a race upon the sole decision of the Clerk of the Course. The Safety Car will be driven by an experienced circuit driver and will carry an observer capable of recognising all competing cars and who is in permanent radio contact with race control.
1.2. The Safety Car, yellow/amber lights illuminated, will normally join and exit the circuit from the pit lane and the Safety Car boards will be shown initially from the start/finish line. If these locations are to be varied specific written instructions and verbal briefings will be issued detailing the exact locations to be used.
1.3. On the order from the Clerk of the Course, the Safety Car will join the circuit with its flashing lights on, regardless of where the race leader is.
1.4. When the order is given to deploy the Safety Car a waved yellow flag and SC board will be displayed at the start/finish line. The waved yellow flags and SC boards will flow around the circuit in both directions, as an adjacent post displays both their waved yellow flag and SC board. This system may be supplemented by a message being simultaneously broadcast to all
marshals posts if such a communication system is available.
1.5. Flashing yellow lights may also be used at the startline and at other points around the circuit.
1.6. All competing cars, when notified of the Safety Car intervention (by the flag signals, SC boards, or by any other means) will reduce speed and line up behind the Safety Car, no more than 5 car lengths apart, and maintaining the same speed as it. Overtaking or overlapping of any other competing car during a Safety Car intervention is forbidden. Overtaking of a Safety Car is forbidden unless the particular competitor concerned is signalled to overtake the Safety Car by the observer in the Safety Car.
1.7. When ordered to do so by the Clerk of the Course, the observer in the Safety Car will wave past any cars between the Safety Car and the race leader. These cars will continue at reduced speed and without overtaking until they reach the line of cars behind the Safety Car.
1.8. While the safety car is in operation, competing cars may enter the pit lane, but may only rejoin the track when signalled to do so and not when the safety car and the line of cars following it are about to pass or are passing the pit exit. A car re-joining the track must proceed at an appropriate speed until it reaches the end of the line of cars behind the Safety Car.
1.9. The Safety Car will remain in operation until at least the majority of competing cars on the circuit are lined up behind it.
1.10. When the Clerk of the Course calls in the Safety Car it will extinguish the yellow/amber flashing lights prior to exiting the circuit. This would normally be such that a minimum of 25% of a lap for circuits over 2 miles and 50% of a lap for circuits under 2 miles should be completed by the Safety Car with its lights extinguished.
1.11. Following the safety car extinguishing its lights, and prior to passing the green flag, the race leader will dictate the pace and, if necessary, fall more than five car lengths behind the Safety Car. In order to avoid the likelihood of accidents before the safety car returns to the pits, from the point at which the lights on the car are extinguished drivers must proceed at a pace which involves no erratic acceleration or braking nor any other manoeuvre which is likely to endanger other drivers or impede the restart.
1.12. As the Safety Car is approaching the pit entry, the green flag will be displayed at the start/finish line and the SC board withdrawn. Following this display of the start signal yellow flags and SC boards at the marshals posts will be withdrawn and be replaced with a waved green flag for one lap. The waved green flag will flow around the circuit in both directions, as an adjacent post displays their waved green flag. This system may be supplemented by a message being simultaneously broadcast to all marshals posts if such a communication system is available. Overtaking remains strictly forbidden until the start signal at the start/finish line is passed.
1.13. Each lap covered while the Safety Car is in service will be counted as a race lap unless specified to the contrary in Championship regulations.
1.14. Under certain circumstances the Clerk of the Course may ask the Safety Car to use the pit lane. In this case, and provided its yellow/amber lights remain illuminated, all cars must follow it into the pit lane without overtaking. Any car entering the pit lane under these circumstances may stop at its designated garage area.
1.15. Should it be necessary to stop a race during a Safety Car deployment the Safety Car, with all competing vehicles following, will pass through the red flag at the start/finish line, complete one further lap at reduced speed and then, once the Safety Car comes to a stop at a position indicated by the Safety Car observer (which will usually be either the grid or Parc Ferme), all competing cars must stop behind it unless otherwise directed.
1.16. In exceptional circumstances the following may apply:
(i) The race may be started behind the Safety Car. In this case its flashing yellow/amber lights will be turned on at the two minute signal. This is the signal to the Entrants/Drivers that the race will be started behind the Safety Car and it will remain at the front of the grid during the remainder of the countdown.
When the Green Flag is shown at the Start/Finish Line, the Safety Car will leave the grid and all cars will follow in single file in grid order no more than 5 (five) car lengths apart. The race will be deemed to have started when the Safety Car leaves the grid and the Green Flag is displayed.
(ii) Cars will leave the grid in single file grid order behind the Safety Car under the instruction of the
Chief Start/Finish Line Marshal. Cars will remain in single file without overtaking, except that a car
that falls behind may regain its grid position if the cars behind it could not avoid passing without unduly delaying the remainder of the field. In this case, Drivers may carefully overtake to re-establish their original starting grid order. If a car falls to the back of the grid, it must remain at the back of the grid.
(iii)Any car(s) delayed leaving the grid may not overtake another moving car if stationary after the
remainder of the cars had crossed the line. In this case the car(s) shall remain at the back of the
grid, in the order they left the grid.
(iv) A time penalty or Drive Through Penalty may be imposed on any Driver who, in the opinion of the
Clerk of the Course, unnecessarily overtakes another Driver during these laps.
(v) The SC boards and Yellow Flags will be displayed at Marshals’ Signalling Posts around the
circuit until the Clerk of the Course withdraws the Safety Car from use in accordance with Regulation 1.10, 1.11. and 1.12.
(vi) All laps undertaken in this start procedure will be deemed to be counted as race laps
1.17. Any car being driven unnecessarily slowly, erratically or which is deemed potentially dangerous to other drivers at any time whilst the safety car is deployed will be reported to the Clerk of the Course. This will apply whether any such car is being driven on the track, the pit entry or the pit lane.
On the face of it this is a fairly simple procedure. SC board and waved yellow flag at the Startline. which is then repeated in both directions by all flag points.
Be aware that the train may be directed through the pit lane.
SC board and yellow withdrawn on the Startline followed by waved a green which is repeated around the circuit in both directions for one lap.
Generally speaking this is made easier because at the circuits that would run a race where a safety car would be used, it is fairly easy to “get wind” generally via scanners, of an impending deployment.
The things to be aware of are to put the board and flag out immediately you see another, but most importantly to make certain the green actually makes it all the way round.
(Very unprofessional when it doesn’t)
Much better than the old “advisory” regs issued to clubs, although I am still unconvinced of the advisability of the constant use of waved flags (you can’t wave a waved yellow), but that’s just silly old me.