F1’s governing body has defended itself against criticism that confusion over its virtual safety car messaging system cost Sergio Perez a podium finish in the French Grand Prix.
Perez claimed he lost third place to George Russell when a hold-station VSC period was ended late in the race, stating he had prepared for a re-start that never came and was on the back foot when racing eventually resumed.
An original message had stated the VSC period would be ending at turns five-six but that failed to materialise and it was not cleared until much later in the lap at turn 13-14.
Perez had prepared for the former and was left a sitting duck as Mercedes' Russell, whom the Red Bull driver claimed had better knowledge of the proceedings, accelerated at the right moment and made the pass.
The FIA later sent out a clarification stating: “A second VSC-ending message was sent due to a hardware issue, which led to an automated switch-to-backup-systems that worked exactly as they should in that scenario.
“The same information is supplied to all teams concurrently. The VSC ending countdown time to the green light being displayed on the trackside panels is always random.”