Formula 1: Safety car rules changed to avoid Abu Dhabi repeat
The FIA has clarified in a revised edition of the 2022 sporting regulations that “all”, rather than “all”, more ambiguous run-in cars must strip before a restart; Watch the season-opening Bahrain GP live only on Sky Sports F1 this weekend
Last update: 03/16/22 07:20
Formula 1’s governing body, the FIA, has changed safety car rules to try to avoid a repeat of the controversial title finale in Abu Dhabi last year.
The FIA clarified in a revised edition of the 2022 sporting regulations on Tuesday that “all”, rather than “all”, the more ambiguous run-in cars, must strip themselves before a restart.
The change comes ahead of the start of the new season, which begins with the Bahrain GP, live on Sky Sports F1 this weekend.
Following a review of the Abu Dhabi GP last year, Michael Masi has been replaced as F1 race director.
Masi had been under intense pressure due to his handling of the final, including safety car decisions which opened the door for Max Verstappen to overtake Lewis Hamilton for a race and a title victory.
In the final stages on December 12, Masi – who has been F1 race director since 2019 – ordered only the run-in cars between Hamilton and second-placed Verstappen under the safety car, providing the Dutchman, with fresh tyres, a chance to pass Hamilton. – who was on old tires – on the very last lap.
While Masi’s actions were vindicated by FIA stewards following an appeal from the Mercedes team, F1’s governing body filed a full review of the process and admitted that Masi’s image F1 was tarnished.
Following the review, it was announced that Masi would be replaced as race director for the 2022 season among a number of structural changes ahead of the 2022 season.
Niels Wittich, former DTM race director, and Eduardo Freitas, WEC race director, will now act alternately as F1 race director.
Wittich and Freitas will be assisted by Herbie Blash as permanent senior advisers, with Blash returning to F1 five seasons after stepping down as assistant race director to the late Charlie Whiting.
A virtual race control room has also been created, assimilated to football’s VAR, while direct radio communications between the teams and the race director have been removed.
Follow the Bahrain GP live on Sky Sports F1
Sky Sports F1 is your home for every race this season, and it all starts with the Bahrain GP this weekend.
We’ll have a set-up throughout the week before covering all the live action from the Bahrain International Circuit, from Friday’s first practice session to Sunday’s season-opening Grand Prix.
Sky Sports F1 experts Martin Brundle, David Croft, Damon Hill, Ted Kravitz, Simon Lazenby, Natalie Pinkham and Naomi Schiff will all be in Bahrain to bring you unparalleled analysis and expert knowledge.
In a 2022 twist, the drivers’ press conference will take place on the Friday morning before the two practice sessions and our live F1 show, recapping the action.
Saturday qualifying and Sunday race – both live at 3 p.m. – will be followed by Ted’s Notebook, as the Formula 2 and Formula 3 championships begin in Bahrain.
As always, you can also follow the action online and on the Sky Sports app.
A new era begins here. F1 is finally back.
The Formula 1 season kicks off on Sky Sports F1 on Friday with the Bahrain GP. Sunday’s race starts at 3 p.m. Learn more & subscribe.