How a new F1 setup inspired by the Abu Dhabi review will work
The new FIA Remote Race Control support setup will essentially remove the race director’s time-consuming and non-urgent tasks during Formula 1 races.
During the FIA’s review process of last year’s controversial Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, new chairman Mohammed Ben Sulayem announced that a new virtual system would be put in place to help F1 officials.
He compared it to video assistant referee (VAR) in football, although it was unclear at the time what that would mean given that FIA stewards are already reviewing video when taking of key decisions.
Details of the new setup have now been revealed with the FIA World Motor Sport Council revealing that the new ‘remote operations centre’ (ROC) is now in use at its Geneva headquarters.
It says “procedural and regulatory matters” can be referred to the ROC who will operate in an “advisory capacity and will not interrupt the workflow of the race management team on site or delay the decision-making process. decision”.
A statement from the FIA read: “While similar in principle to ‘VAR’ in football, the ROC will act as a support resource for the race management team with data comparable to over ten football matches. Simultaneous, including over 140 video and audio sources.
“The ROC provides an additional resource for the FIA to replay and thoroughly review aspects of competition and decisions made in order to refine and improve procedures for the future.
“It has no regulatory power and cannot be used to reassess or change past decisions.”
Concretely, the ROC will be used for more time-consuming questions if an incident requires the consultation of an element of the regulations or the International Sporting Code of the FIA.
A good example of its potential use would be when Sergio Perez crashed on a sighting lap before last year’s Belgian Grand Prix.
Perez’s Red Bull had to be recovered from the pit lane after crashing into the barriers. He couldn’t bring it back himself.
But as the start of the race was constantly delayed by bad weather, Red Bull had time to repair the car.
It sparked an awkward back-and-forth with then-race director Michael Masi, who initially said Perez couldn’t take the restart before relenting after reviewing the situation when challenged by Red Bull.
Going forward, these are the kinds of things the ROC could be tasked with clarifying while the race director takes care of an immediate and urgent task.
FIA stewards will still be responsible for reviewing and deciding racing incidents, but could also call on the ROC for additional support if needed.
As the ROC is developed, the FIA anticipates that it “will become a valuable training and education resource for the next generation of race control personnel and stewards”.
“Its benefits will later extend to other FIA championships and the wider international community of FIA National Sporting Authorities (ASNs),” the FIA said.
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