FIA to introduce new ‘strictly enforceable’ speed limits at Monaco GP

Sam Cooper
Max Verstappen under Safety Car conditions. Melbourne, April 2023.

Max Verstappen under Safety Car conditions. Melbourne, April 2023.

The FIA have announced stricter speed limits will be in place for this weekend’s Monaco Grand Prix in a bid to boost safety.

The FIA International Sporting Code had previously stated drivers must “reduce your speed significantly, do not overtake and be prepared to change direction or stop” when double yellow flags were shown but that ruling has become stricter with drivers now required to meet a maximum speed limit.

The rule will be enforced while under the Safety Car or Virtual Safety Car and will only apply to areas of the track where the double yellow flags are shown.

“What we want to do is to provide drivers with a tool to help them during incidents and to make races even safer,” FIA technical director Tim Goss said.

“For some years with the Safety Car and Virtual Safety Car we have used delta times, a reference to a speed limit that we have around the track. So, when there is a physical or virtual safety car, the drivers are informed of that delta time on their dashboard display and by radio tones and they have to maintain a positive value, meaning they are slower than the reference time for the lap. However, there are occasions where cars can legitimately temporarily increase their speed to recover any time they have lost relative to this reference time.

“What we want to do now is to extend the use of the delta time concept to ensure that cars are strictly slowed to the required delta time when double waved yellow flags are shown under a Virtual Safety Car or Safety Car, so we are introducing a dedicated reference speed limit in the area where those flags are displayed.” recommends

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The limit will be conveyed to the drivers on their wheel with a delta time informing them if they are above or below the maximum speed. Drivers will also hear a radio tone to signal an upcoming area of double yellow flags.
FIA head of F1 electronics Olivier Hulot said: “Under a Virtual Safety Car, when a driver enters the double yellow, what he sees on the dashboard is zero, so the delta time resets, and he then has to drive below the new speed limit. And he again gets a positive or negative delta relative to that speed limit. So it’s the same principle as before, except that it’s specific to a double yellow zone.”

Hulot did admit that some drivers may suffer performance loss as a result but said safety is “paramount.”

“Loss of performance relative to others – if a car goes through a double yellow, but not another one and that car has to slow down, it is losing time relative to rivals. However, for the FIA safety is paramount and when there is a hazard on the track or marshals on track then we have to minimise the risks no matter what.”

The new measure has been put in place after FIA testing at various venues earlier this year.