So the Safety Car in F1 2012 was temperamental; a large number of users complained about never seeing it during the single player campaign, with crashed AI vehicles instead just disappearing, rather than provoking what Codemaster announced as a "game changing event". Curious as to how the Safety Car would be improved (or not) in F1 2013, I took out the infamous Marrusia in an attempt to provoke Bernd Mayländer onto the track. These are my findings Ghosted Crashes Locking up my brakes into turn 1 in Melbourne, I "accidentally" went hard into the side of a Williams, sending Bottas spinning across the track. I looked back, to find Bottas had ghosted, and the rest of the pack was simply driving through. I found this disappointing, as in real life, this Grosjean like incident would have resulted in significant damage for the cars behind. The 4-Lap Rule Despite the high chance of a crash in the first couple of laps of a Grand Prix, Codemasters has once again prohibited a Safety Car deployment until the lead car starts the 4th lap. Any significant crash prior to the 4th lap will result in ghosted / disappearing cars, or a red flag. Safety Car Deployments after 4 laps Credit where it's due, a first corner crash on the 4th lap meant Vettel ended up stopped off the racing line, on the inside of Turn 1. Despite not being on the track, the car was in a vulnerable position, and sure enough "Safety Car deployed, Safety Car deployed." This is a welcome change to last year; whilst creating the Safety Car Mod, some found that the maps had varying qualities of Safety Car Activation Zones - that being, the area in which, if a car were to stop, a Safety Car would likely be deployed. It was found that Singapore had at least half of the map missing any activation zones, and that the Circuit of the Americas had no SC Activation Zones at all - read: No Safety Car in America. I hope that they've fixed that this year, although if not, I'm sure the creators of the Safety Car Mod could reuse parts of their fantastic mod from last year. DigiFlags F1 2012 saw the first functional introduction of the DigiFlags; the multi-function LED boards which act as relays for the flag marshals, lighting up the colour of the appropriate flags. Although only working during a Safety Car period, the DigiFlags in 2012 were very bright, and much more visible than the flags - replicating the almost unmissable nature of the lighted LED boards regularly seen throughout a Formula 1 weekend. In F1 2013, the digiflags again only work during the Safety Car period; a shame, as it would be awesome to see them flashing blue for the cars ahead, or flashing green after you've passed a spun car. However, they simply sit their, blank, eagerly anticipating a Safety Car. And this year, instead of the highly luminous boards we saw in F1 2012, they seem to have a matte appearance, and look like they were created in Microsoft Paint, despite running the game at Ultra High Graphics. I know it seems like a small point, but Codemasters has made a very engaging series of Formula 1 games; and seeing the boards flash yellow, glowing bright through the heavy rain in Malaysia felt so realistic; it's disappointing that they've apparently gone backwards in 2013. Pitting Under the Safety Car One thing that struck me was, whilst coming down the pit straight in the train of cars following the Safety Car, cars were joining from within the pitlane. Unsure whether to pass or not, I eased off and let the cars merge in ahead, which then resulted in me getting ghosted and passed by another 3 cars. Of course, in reality, the pit exit is closed when the Safety Car train is passing the pit exit, so this would never happen; it seems like a disappointing oversight that this isn't replicated in the game. Additionally, at least once have I came out the pit whilst the red pit exit light was on. Not sure why the light was red, as it was not during a SC period. Safety Car Strategy Perhaps one of the most bizzare things was that, after causing a Safety Car as Max Chilton, the safety car came out for 3 laps or so. At the end of the Safety Car period, over half the grid pitted during the SC restart; despite being at the back of the grid, I got in the top 10 whilst the rest of the pack made a strange pit stop. It seems that cars will make their pitstops at their scheduled times, regardless of any Safety Car intervention. Restarts Now, credit where it's due, I was impressed by my first Safety Car restart. Whilst F1 2013 still - frustratingly - has autobraking, whether you'd like it or not, the autobrakes do allow you to get right on the gearbox - and even slightly alongside - of the car ahead, once it's announced the Safety Car is coming in. And, sure enough, once you cross that first safety-car line, it's green flag and go go go! For the first time, I was able to make up a place on the main straight, then a couple of more passes going into Turn 1. In conclusion, it's good that the Safety Car will make more appearances, and that restarts have been improved. However, dodgy strategy, and silly rules like keeping the pitlane open, no SC until the 4th lap and ghosting cars involved in a crash, somewhat take away from this key Formula 1 event. I look forward to realistic damage mods and Safety Car mods for F1 2013.