Race control is at the heart of Formula 1 races. Race control is responsible for monitoring and supervising the practice sessions, the qualifying sessions and the race itself.
Race control has screens which show all parts of the circuit so that problems can be flagged quickly and dealt with.
They have a timing data feed that they can watch – this is the same feed that is given to the teams. They will also have access to other racing information such as information from the pit lane speed trap so that they can check that all cars are running a fair race and adhering to all the FIA’s rules and regulations.
Race control are in constant contact with the principal marshals, the safety car, the medical response car and the medical centre, both via telephone and radio. This means that if any major unexpected event occurs, the Race Director can deploy any one of these safety teams to the scene quickly and safely.
The Race Director has a whole support team behind him – both FIA personnel and local circuit personnel. Race control have the responsibility for ensuring all driver’s abide by the rules and they will punish any drivers who break these rules – the most common punishment is a ‘drive-through’ where the drivers have to drive through the pit-lane instead of going down the main straight. For more complex disciplinary issues such as someone causing an accident, the penalties will be decided at the end of the race to give teams chance to review footage and to defend their drivers.
If a serious event happens or if the conditions become too poor to race, the Race Director is able to stop the race.