Racing Track Safety


During all Formula One history, regulations have changed drastically, always to increase the safety of the drivers and spectators. The following table give an overview of the most important changes in the official FIA regulations from the very beginning of F1 until today.


The Full list of Formula 1drivers who died during some racing event is here.
Check my article about improvement in racing car safety year by year
Check my article about improvement in driver safety year by year
Article abour general safety in Formula 1 you can find here



Racing Tracks

1963 - 1967: FIA begins to organize circuit safety inspections (previously done by national authorities).
After Lorenzo Bandini tragic death during Monaco GP, hay bales sidetrack protection was banned from Grand Prix racing.
Considerations on circuit design published: track verges minimum 3m.;double guardrails; spectators at least 3m. behind fencing; barrier between pitlane and track; track width, surface, and gradient change regulations; straw bales banned; mandatory FIA inspections.
1972: Circuit Safety Criteria published; debris fence specifications.
1973: Catch fences; rescue equipment; fire regulations (after Roger Williamson died), starting grid dimensions.
1974: Catch fences + sand.
1975: Marshal posts and service roads
1977: Gravel arrester beds defined.
1980: Obligatory permanent medical centre.
1981: Tire barriers; pitlane minimum width 10m.
1984: Concrete wall may replace guardrails.
1985: Catch fences banned.
1987: Criteria for temporary circuits.
1989: Track side barrier min. height 1m.; pit wall min. 1m35.
1992: Kerbs lowered; pitlane min. width 12m.; pit entry chicane obligatory.
1994: Pits spectator gallery fire shield obligatory. Identification of 27 "very high risk" corners by computer analysis: 15 removed from list by 1994 performance reductions.
Tire wall deceleration tests, analysed relative to human tolerance levels, produce a standard by which to judge new barriers.
Use of conveyor belting in front of tire walls recommended.
1995: Smooth raised kerbs recommended for F1. Gravel bed waves and furrows deleted.
First pit wall debris shields installed.
1996: Corners classified "high risk" reduced to 2 through circuit safety improvements and track modifications. Temporary circuit wall and debris fence specification guidelines. FIA test requirement for 'thin' energy absorbing barriers.
1997: FIA circuit approval required for F1 testing. Kerb types and heights standardised after year of investigation. Bolted tire wall construction obligatory. Analysis of the performance of safety measures with data recorded on the cars' ADR's.
1998: High performance tire barrier test specification established.
Pit lane should be straight 100m before pits.
Increased use of full light sets to supplement flag signals.
1999: Pit wall debris fences becoming generalised. Recomended to widen the signalling platform by 50cm, for circulation, (obligatory for new circuits). Asphalt used on some run-off locations.
2000: FIA Standard for tire barrier inserts to increase energy absorption.
2001: Improved access point protection. Clarification of safety requirements for structures over the track. Specification of tools to cut carbon fibre for rescue teams. Guidelines issued for paved run-off area installations. Computer aided accident risk assessment system introduced.
2004: Pit lane speed limited to 100km/h



1963: Flag signalling code
1971: Personnel, equipment and duties specified in race supervision, marshalling, signals.
1973: Fire service regs. The pace car was used for first time during the Canadian Grand Prix.
1975: Medical service; resuscitation centre; obligatory rescue exercise.
1974: 2x2 staggered starting grid with 12m length per car.
1978: Grid 14m per car.
1979: FIA-appointed permanent race starter.
1980: FIA approval of medic. service obligatory; fast rescue car regulations.
1981: Grid 1x1x1.
1986: Permanent FIA medical service inspector. Medical helicopter obligatory.
1987: Grid 16m per car.
1988: Permanent FIA race director
1990: Driver extrication exercise obligatory.
1992 The first appearance of the safety car at the British Grand Prix.
1993: Pit lane speed limited to 50km/h in practices.
1994: Pit lane speed limited to 80km/h in practice, 120 km/h in the race. Fire-protective clothing for all refuelling crews Burns treatment material in each pit obligatory.
Pit lane access new restrictions. Creation of the Advisory Expert Group, to apply new technology to safety in F1.
1995: Minimum safety services recommended for private testing. Clarification of blue, yellow, and white flags rules. FIA Doctor given Tech. Assistant.
1996: Standardization of FIA medical and safety cars. Improved Safety Car procedure. Fire exercises with Teams. Transformation of starting lights and procedure.
1997: FIA approval for all Chief Medical Officers and medical centres. Revised accident intervention plan. Safety Car: more powerful; may be used for wet race starts; permanent professional race driver engaged.
1999: At least 4 medical intervention cars, + FIA Doctor car, obligatory. Pit lane exit control by red and green lights and blue warning flag, practice and race.
2000: Minimum Chief Medical Officers' qualifications.
2001: Redefinition of intervention car movements in Safety Car and red flag situations.
2003: Changed points system: 10-8-6-5-4-3-2-1
Cars may not be refuelled between qualifying and race. Team orders are prohibited.
2004: each driver must select his wet- and dry-weather compound before second qualifying.
2005: Tire switching during the race forbidden, except for safety reasons. Engines must last 2 complete race weekends.
2006: Tire changes allowed again.
2009: Changed point system: 25-20-15-10-8-6-5-3-2-1, experienced former F1 drivers to assist stewards, return of slick tires
2010: Changed point system: 25-18-15-10-8-6-4-2-1 point
2013: pitlane speed reduced to 80kmh
2014: Four two-day track tests will be allowed in season in place of the current eight one-day promotional days and the three-day young driver test. For safety reasons all team personnel working on a car in a race pit stop will be required to wear head protection.
2017. A new procedure regarding wet weather starts. Safety Car is deemed to be required for the beginning of a race due to wet weather, a normal standing start will occur once the track is deemed safe to race. The process will see the safety car return to the pit lane and the cars assemble on the grid for the start.


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Books to read

Some useful links:

- f1technical.net, a great site with a lot of technical information’s and explanations. Site is updated daily with news from F1 word.

 - autosport.com, This site is a legend. A bible for racing lovers. News from all around the word. Unfortunately, to get access to all news, interviews and to open the site completely you should be subscribed to Autosport magazine. Anyway, great read.

James Allen on F1
- JA.F1 site (or blog) ovned by ITV Sport’s lead commentator on Formula 1 James Allen

Joe Saward blog
- joesaward is the Joe Saward official blog about Formula 1 world. Joe is an journalist, who write primarily about politics in and around motorsport, specifically on the FIA Formula 1 World Championship

Vital F1
 - vitalf1.com/ is another great site for Motor Sports fan’s like me. Site is relatively new, but great fun, with great discussion forum, Formula 1 news and forum.

 GP update
- f1.gpupdate.net, Site with fresh news from Formula 1

Planet F1
 - planetf1, another site with many different articles, news and statistics. Biased toward British teams, but anyway good read.

Gurney flap
 - gurneyflap.com, Great history site. You can learn a lot from this site. Pictures, cars and many many more. Great.

4ormula1 is a database of Formula 1 history and statistics of drivers, teams, grand prix, and all results since 1950

Racecar engineering
-Racecar Engineering, an online magazine with a lot to learn from, a lot of technical information’s and explanations

 - fia.com, La Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile, representing the interests of motoring organisations and motor car users. Head organisation and ruler in auto sport.

 - wikipedia.org, I don’t believe that I have to tell you anything about this site. It’s not about Formula 1 technology, but you can learn a lot about that too.

Sutton Images

grandprix photo

 - carbibles.com, a great site for normal car users. Here you can find explanations of almost everything about your car and how it works. Technical reviews and explanations of some in-car gadgets.

Dare To Be Different
- Daretobedifferent.org Susie Wolff and UK governing body of UK motorsport have joined forces to launch Dare To Be Different, a high-profile new initiative which is about increasing female participation, not just on the track but in all aspects of the sport.