FIA hit back at Max’s ‘turtle’ Safety Car criticism

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The FIA has issued a statement in response to allegations that the Aston Martin Safety Car is too slow for Formula One cars to follow.

After complaining about not being able to sustain temperature in his tyres during two Safety Car periods in Australia, Max Verstappen dubbed the Aston Martin a “turtle,” citing Charles Leclerc’s understeer out of the penultimate corner on the restart as evidence of a lack of heat.

The FIA has already responded and defended its use of the Safety Car, claiming that the safety of everyone on the circuit must take precedence over the car’s overall speed – and that Race Control already determines the car’s pace.

The FIA statement read: “In light of recent comments regarding the pace of the FIA Formula 1 Safety Car, the FIA would like to reiterate the primary function of the FIA Formula 1 Safety Car is, of course, not outright speed but the safety of the drivers, marshals and officials.

“The Safety Car procedures take into account multiple objectives, depending upon the incident in question, including the requirement to ‘bunch up’ the field, negotiate an incident recovery or debris on track in a safe manner and adjust the pace depending on recovery activities that may be ongoing in a different part of the track.

Aston Martin Safety Car

“The speed of the Safety Car is therefore generally dictated by Race Control and not limited by the capabilities of the Safety Cars, which are bespoke high-performance vehicles prepared by two of the world’s top manufacturers, equipped to deal with changeable track conditions at all times and driven by a hugely experienced and capable driver and co-driver.

“The impact of the speed of the Safety Car on the performance of the cars following is a secondary consideration, as the impact is equal amongst all competitors who, as is always the case, are responsible for driving in a safe manner at all times according to the conditions of their car and the circuit.”

George Russell laughed about the Mercedes equivalent’s influence on the track, but noted that it adds up to a “quite significant” five seconds per lap faster than the Aston Martin.

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