Safety Car, Silverstone, 2016

Standing starts for wet races confirmed for 2017

2017 F1 rules

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The FIA has confirmed it will attempt to use standing starts more often in wet races from next year.

The World Motor Sport Council confirmed “a new procedure regarding wet weather starts” has been accepted for introduction next year.

“From 2017, if a Safety Car is deemed to be required for the beginning of a race due to wet weather, a normal standing start will occur once the track is deemed safe to race,” it said in a statement. “The process will see the Safety Car return to the pit lane and the cars assemble on the grid for the start.”

This year’s races at Monaco and Silverstone started behind the Safety Car due to wet weather. Last year a standing start was used at every race.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 27 comments on “Standing starts for wet races confirmed for 2017”

    1. And if next time the situation arises there’s a horrible accident due to the lack of visibility from the spray off the start? Just saying there doesn’t need to be a hard and fast rule on this, it should be up to the race director and stewards on the day. At Silverstone for example the sun came back out aiding visibility and it would have been quite safe, but if drizzle and overcast remains further hindering visibility, there should be nothing wrong with a rolling start.

      1. Via, I think, Motorsport.com I also read a bit where cars that had to start from pitlane also had to go back into the pitlane for this standing start. Sigh, it seems all so cumbersome, slowing down any action we might have hoped for.

      2. spafrancorchamps
        28th September 2016, 22:10

        And next time there is a fatal accident in the MotoGP? We will force them to use trainingwheels?

        There are dangers in this sport! f you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.

      3. The idea is presumably for the cars to do a few laps to clear excess water and then restart from the grid, right? No idea how effective that would be, but seems a reasonable solution.

        1. Makes sense to me. They usually drive around until it’s pretty dry anyway so it makes that when the safety car comes in, they line up on the grid instead of doing a rolling start.

          Have they confirmed whether the laps behind the safety car will count as laps of the race? Always annoys me when you see a 5th of the race disappear but I suppose without refuelling, it’s necessary.

      4. the spray is a factor regardless of a standing start or safety car start. even more dangerous when they are going at 100 mph. so your point is moot.

    2. Then it’s “standing restarts in wet weather conditions” rather than pure standing starts, is it?

    3. Why not delay the start as much as possible to allow a standing start rather than driving round behind a safety car?

      If its to clear the track then just have a demo run with a grid of v12’s and v10 classic f1 cars driven by ex drivers until the track is ready for a wet standing start.

      1. Why not delay the start as much as possible to allow a standing start rather than driving round behind a Safety Car?

        Television.

        I’m not saying it’s a good reason, but that’s the reason.

        1. @keithcollantine. Isn’t daylight another factor. I know some of these races start late enough in the day where, the four hour total time limit would end under near darkness. Couple that with a possible overcast sky and lighting would certainly be an issue.

        2. Is not just television. The cars going round the track is the best water cleaning machine you can find.

    4. They go round so long under the SC now the circuit is mostly dry anyway. And if you wanted to be critical they’ll happily take all day to get a qualifying session done if the weather’s not right, so similar principles should be applied to the race.

      Still, I think it will be progress for the spectacle to have a standing start rather than an SC-release anticlimax.

      1. It’ll be an interesting sight to see the 11 drivers who are starting off the racing line sweep onto their side of the grid every time they come past during the Safety Car period to make sure the water gets cleared away from their side as well.

    5. I think the intent is basically using few laps behind safety cars to “drain” the tracks because nothing better clearing the water off the tracks than F1 cars. Could also be seen as extended warm-up laps. The biggest problem is fuel of course, since every car is fueled just enough (and often less) to complete normal race distance, so the race must be officially started to be able to practically reducing the race distance.

      1. @sonicslv it’s not warm ups. It’ll work the same as an aborted start. They’ll just reduce the number of race laps by the amount of laps done behind the Safety Car. They’ll always complete the normal race distance, so fuel won’t be a problem.

        1. @sonicslv @fer-no65 Of course they burn off far less fuel at Safety Car speeds than at full racing speeds, and they’ll still have a damp track when the race proper begins and therefore save more fuel, leaving them well in credit.

        2. @fer-no65 Yes they technically already racing but what I mean is with restarting on the grid and no overtaking under safety car condition, it’s essentially an extended warm up lap. The racing but is done for the purpose of ensuring each car will not be under fueled after the restart. I know it’s very unlikely if the SC laps only 1-2 lap because reasons @keithcollantine stated above, but if the rain suddenly getting heavier or pour down again and they need to run couple more laps, fuel will become a problem if the “real” race laps is not reduced.

          1. It won’t – the slower the F1 cars must proceed (due to the Safety Car slowing due to increased rain), the less fuel is used. Fuel use is predicated on the amount of time accelerating (to put it in an over-simplified form). Safety Car laps require less acceleration than standard ones (thus less fuel), and the same number of laps will be done overall. The total distance is still required to be the same regardless of how many of those laps were done under the Safety Car (because although the laps are not racing laps, they will still count towards the total laps).

            1. @alianora-la-canta Uhh, and that’s what I said in my comments on why they need to reduce the lap count…

            2. @sonicslv What I am telling you was that the “real” race laps was always going to be reduced, as there’s no system to have it otherwise. I realise the FIA doesn’t usually put that much forethought into its regulation changes, but happily on this occasion they have.

      2. +1 exactly. Although I imagine like when they have aborted starts, they can just dock a lap off the race lap count, although have obviously it would be more than one lap depending on how many laps they do.

    6. Well much was said about this.

      Perfectly resonable solution, that many fans wanted to see.

      Now then finally it will be introduced. F1 seems to be working really hard on bringing in common sense.

    7. Jonathan Parkin
      29th September 2016, 5:06

      No, no, no. What they need to do is a) Bring back Morning Warm-Up, b) Allow the teams to change the cars in the event of a change in weather, c) Bring back acclimatisation session as a back-up in case weather changes after warm up.

      This will mean that all drivers are familiar with the conditions and even better the cars are fully set up for wet conditions. In this way the only reason you would need a SC start is if the heaven’s opened a few minutes prior to the start just like Belgium 97 and Silverstone this year. That would reduce SC starts

      1. Unfortunately the lucrative GP2 and GP3 series prevent this from being done at some tracks.

        1. The acclimatisation session idea is still possible though. When they ran it previously it was 15mins. If time allows they could change it to 30 mins and give the mechanics time to change the cars to the necessary set up

    8. What they should do is do wet standing starts only if the track is damp. the formation lap and/or have the safety car do a few laps

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