Formula 1's safety car could become driverless, says FIA

Formula 1 could adopt a driverless safety car in the future as part of an effort to promote autonomous technology, the FIA has revealed.

Motorsport's governing body is determined to ensure that drivers remain a key element of F1's attraction, but have discussed how it could promote driverless cars through other elements of a grand prix weekend.

Marcin Budkowski, the head of the FIA's F1 technical department, has suggested that a driverless safety car would be a good way of proving automotive advances without detracting from the show.

"Let me give you an example, but it is not the only one: we have spoken about an unmanned safety car," Budkowski told Autosport.

"It would promote a technology about which there is a bit of scepticism and, instead, it could be shown that it works.

"The safety car driver would no longer be essential, because it would leave the controls to the computer.

"But we must be aware of the attraction of [F1] race cars without drivers: the engineers would love it, but not the fans."

Although Budkowski is sceptical about potential fan interest in a driverless F1, he does think that other series like Roborace do have a role to play in promoting autonomous developments.

Roborace, the world's first competition for driverless cars, was announced last year as part of a tie-up with electric series Formula E.

24. August 2017

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