Vettel calls for un-lapping software in F1

Date published: November 12 2020 - Jamie Woodhouse

Sebastian Vettel un-lapping software.

Rather than drivers physically un-lapping themselves behind the Safety Car, Sebastian Vettel says it’s “embarrassing” that software can’t do it.

A late Safety Car at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix presented the drivers who had been lapped with the opportunity to get themselves back on to the same lap as the leaders.

And as usual in this situation drivers were released by the Safety Car, allowing them to overtake it and ultimately approach the back of the pack for the race restart.

But in doing so Vettel was among a group of drivers also including Lance Stroll and Romain Grosjean who had a near miss with several marshals on the approach to Acque Minerale.

And Vettel feels it’s quite “embarrassing” that race control don’t have the software simply to put these lapped drivers back on the same lap as the leaders, eliminating the need to physically do it and create such dangerous situations.

“I think we should probably focus more on the solution,” he told reporters at Istanbul Park ahead of the Turkish Grand Prix.

“I think the reason why we are physically un-lapping ourselves is because we can’t work out a software which actually just resets us.

“So we have to do the extra lap, which sounds quite embarrassing, but I believe it’s the truth. So I guess going forward we would just probably put some effort into a software that the lapped cars are not forced to physically un-lap themselves but you can just reset the lap on the screen and put them in the place that they are. I think that would be the solution.

“Obviously as a consequence in the past you had people trying to catch the field, also in other categories, crashing and that can’t be safe under full course yellow to go out and crash.

“Plus, as you’ve witnessed in Imola, people working on the track trying to do a favour for us, recovering the car that was stranded there, cleaning the track. They work in the contrary to these two things.

“I think we should just focus on the solution which I believe is purely software-related and given that it’s 2020 I think it should be possible.”

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Of course in an ideal world Vettel wouldn’t be worrying about un-lapping himself, but 2020 has been the most difficult season of his career by far.

At the other end of the scale Mercedes have just secured their seventh Constructors’ Championship in a row, so does Vettel believe they can make it eight in 2021?

“We don’t know [about 2021], and I guess the reason why we are all going to try next year is to find out,” he told Sky F1.

“It’s not their fault – it’s everybody else’s fault. They are just better than us.”

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