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Page last updated at 11:15 GMT, Sunday, 11 July 2010 12:15 UK

British Grand Prix: Safety car regulations change

F1 safety car in Valencia
The deployment of the safety car lead to controversy at the European GP

The safety car regulations have been changed following the furore caused by the European Grand Prix two weeks ago.

The new rules come into force with immediate effect, starting with Sunday's British Grand Prix.

The safety car will now attempt to pick up the leader and wave through other cars that come up behind it first.

Ferrari and Fernando Alonso were left fuming in Valencia when Lewis Hamilton passed the safety car while Alonso was delayed and lost seven places.

Ferrari subsequently claimed the race had damaged the sport's reputation.

Having been running in third position directly behind Hamilton at the time the safety car was deployed after Mark Webber's Red Bull crashed into the back of the Lotus of Heikki Kovalainen, Alonso eventually finished eighth, sparking suggestions from the Spaniard of "manipulation".

Mercedes driver Michael Schumacher was also caught out by a red light at the end of the pit lane just as he was about to emerge on track at the end of a stop for fresh tyres.

After the race nine other drivers were handed five-second penalties for failing to stay above the minimum time set by the FIA when the safety car was deployed.

In an FIA statement, motor sport's world governing body has made it clear that when it is required to be deployed, the safety car will "not necessarily join the track straight away".

The statement added: "An assessment will be made to determine when the safety car should join the track in order to try and ensure that no drivers will be unnecessarily disadvantaged.

"In all cases we will attempt to pick up the leader. However, if this proves unfeasible for any reason, cars between the safety car and the leader will be waved through immediately."

Regarding the lights at the end of the pit lane, they will now operate in such a way to ensure there is no repeat of what happened to Schumacher.

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see also
Dominant Red Bulls take front row
10 Jul 10 |  Formula 1
Red Bull deny Vettel favouritism
10 Jul 10 |  Formula 1
Hamilton v Alonso fight reignites
29 Jun 10 |  Formula 1
Valencia GP damages F1 - Ferrari
28 Jun 10 |  Formula 1
Alonso angry at 'unfair' result
27 Jun 10 |  Formula 1

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