FIA race director Charlie Whiting has backed up Sebastian Vettel’s claim that drivers can save time by using clever lines under a virtual safety car.
However, he says the potential gains are very small, and the FIA will now act to rectify the loophole.
Vettel made his comments after the Spanish GP, saying that it was possible for drivers to “beat” the system by driving lines that cut distance, and that they wouldn’t use in normal racing conditions.
“It’s the same for everyone but the FIA is supplying us with a system that makes us follow a delta time,” he said.
“And everybody has to slow down by, I think, 40 percent, but I think everybody’s aware you can have a faster way to go under VSC than just follow the delta – by saving distance.
“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.”
At the time, Whiting disagreed with Vettel’s claim but after some research he admits there is something to it.
“Yes, I’ve worked it out now,” he explained in Montreal. “The calculation that the system does every 50 metres is based on the distance from the timing line.
“So if you can shorten that, you can gain tiny fractions. The way we’ve calculated it with our software guys is you can possibly gain about 150 milliseconds [per lap].
“But in Formula 1 that’s worth having. But that’s the extent of it, as far as it was explained to be me by our software people. We can rectify it, and make it a bit more bulletproof.”