Safety Car, Bahrain International Circuit, 2017

F1 to reinstate standing starts after red flags

2017 F1 season

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The FIA intends to revive the practice of using standing starts after races are suspended due to a red flag.

Under the current rules the Safety Car used whenever a race is restarted. However new proposals agreed at a meeting of major F1 stakeholders today could see standing starts used for race restarts again.

Start, Spa-Francorchamps, 2001
Belgium 2001: F1’s last ‘standing restart’
The FIA announced on Tuesday that new rules had been drawn up so that “in the event of a red flag period during a race, the race will be resumed from a standing start”. The rules change will now go before the World Motor Sports Council for approval.

The 2001 Belgian Grand Prix was the last occasion when a race was red-flagged and later restarted using a standing start. The Safety Car has been used for all restarts since then.

New rules already introduced for 2017 allow for standing starts to be used after a race has begun behind the Safety Car in wet conditions. The new procedure has not yet been used.

Other technical changes proposed for approval by the WMSC include measures to prevent the use of oil as fuel. Teams will also be required to use only one specification of oil in a power unit during an event.

F1’s official tyre supplier Pirelli is to be given the opportunity to develop wet weather tyres for next season “using previous specifications of cars and wheel dimensions”.

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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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  • 44 comments on “F1 to reinstate standing starts after red flags”

    1. Clearly to address the absolute nightmare Brazil was last year, wasting precious laps and patience.

    2. I don’t really see the point of stuff like this, We have a standing start at the start of the race & adding more for the rare occasions we see a red flag just seems unnecessary, Especially when it’s likely only been done for spectacle/entertainment purposes.

      It’s the same with the change to have standing starts in the wet. If it’s judged to be too wet to have a standing start then tough we have a SC start, To ‘start’ the race behind the SC & then x number of laps later have basically another start with a standing start just because people deem standing starts to be more spectacular, entertaining or whatever is a bit silly to me.

    3. Ferrari, Seb fan
      25th April 2017, 20:30

      Fine by me

    4. Will be horrible for the even-placed cars after 50% distance, marbles will make the “dirty” side of the track virtually undriveable.

      1. There are far fewer marbles now

      2. there are way fewer marbles with these new tires. We’ve seen in China, in past years, that on the straight marbles were visible with the nakes eye. Not this year though.

        1. but even so the racing line will be a lot cleaner and more rubbered in. it’s not a terrible idea but the old rules were complex with the gaps being preserved from before the race was stopped (hence the aggregate time win in suzuka 1994 – it wasn’t confusing exactly but it would have looked odd).

          it feels gimmicky to me. there aren’t many red flags so i doubt it will come up that often.

      3. In case of rain the soaked dirty side will be a massive disadvantage.

        1. Either way it seems like it will be a big, arbitrary advantage to one half of the grid, open to exploitation (see Singapore 2008). I’m calling it now the first time this is used there will be massive arguments on this site over how X only won because of the unfair restart :)

        2. In case of rain they won’t use the standing restart.

      4. During a full course caution this past weekend at the Grand Prix of Alabama, race control sent a street sweeper around the track to clear the worst of the marbles.

        If it’s already a red flag, might be something for race control to think about.

    5. Im looking forward to the policing of oil. I wonder when this goes into effect if Mercedes will loose some of their one lap qualifying pace.

      1. They have enough oil to burn in quali. But atleast now they have to burn same oil in quali and race.

        1. This will be combined with a restriction on the allowable oil usage.

      2. What is happening currently with the oil?

        1. @tobyl There’s a conspiracy theory according to which Mercedes (and only team Mercedes) are injecting motor oil in the combustion chambers (only in Q3) to boost their one-lap performance.

      3. I think its just one of the many things that’s sets factory engines and customer engines apart. Good decision FIA.

    6. Is the oil thingy to stop merc having the famous quali mode or are they all doing it?

    7. I am currently indifferent about this. I can see why it would be wrong, however on the other hand it is less artificial than doing them after every safety car. Personally I’d like to see them restarting races after if it happens in the first few laps. Nevertheless, I’d like to hear more sides of the argument before forming an opinion.

      Of course, if they stopped because of the rain then they’d still need a safety car restart.

      1. Nop. If they stop due to rain they will start behind the SC until it is considered safe enough to continue the race, in order to do so they will form the grid again and do a standing start

    8. I’m fine with this so long as the race parts are aggregated like it used to be for reasons of fairness.

      1. Won’t happen. Aggregated times were gone before 15+ years ago. 2001 Belgian GP which is mentioned in the article saw only 2nd part of the race count for overall result (thus the race was just 36 laps instead of 44 as originally planned)

      2. Why? The aggregated system used in the past was awful. I kind of get the fairer argument but still it was really just awful & shouldn’t come back ever.

        Having to pay attention to the timing screens/data more than normal with the actual on-track/on-screen action been pretty much irrelevant was confusing. Even as somebody that was a more diehard/knowledgeable fan who understood what was going on with the aggregate system I found it confusing at times so I dread to think how a more casual/less knowledgeable fan would have managed with it.

    9. Double-file restarts behind safety car is my favorite answer after a red flag situation.
      Imagine if there is a heavy crash bringing in the red flag, who would want a dangerous standing restart after such an accident?

      1. @jeff1s Indycar tried to do double file rolling re-starts a few years back but found that on the road/street circuits it tended to result in more accidents (Especially later in a race as drivers mid-pack were open to going for more risky ‘desperate’ moves) so ended up scrapping it & going back to single file.

    10. Oh Lord… might as well rename red flags ‘yippee ki-yay let’s spice up the action’ flags.

      This is almost as horrible an idea as the old ‘standing start after safety car’ thing they came up with – only less horrible because red flags are very uncommon. Anyone who has built a gap over the car behind is already screwed over by red flags, and this potentially makes that screwing over far greater.

      And there’s zero sporting reason for it. It’s a totally artificial attempt to create mid- or late-race drama by chucking out an extra dose of the most chaotic part of the race. And because they’ve decided red flag = no tyre changes, we could end up with huge variation in grip levels… so the most dangerous part of the race would be even more dangerous. Unless they decide to change that.


      1. “Zero sporting reason yada yada”

        @neilosjames There Is though: the race has been stopped. Like stop-stop. Not neutralized-stop. So Why Not restart Properly?

        1. Neil (@neilosjames)
          26th April 2017, 9:23

          That’s a procedural, not a sporting, consideration. And I’d say that red flags do neutralise the race – the race is suspended, not stopped. A race being ‘stop-stopped’ to me means that everything stops (including the four-hour timer) and it isn’t going to get going again.

          And safety car restart is no less ‘proper’ than a grid restart.

          A red flag already damages the ‘purity’ of the result and creates opportunities and risks which would otherwise not have been present. It already screws over drivers through no fault of their own, and benefits others who did nothing to deserve their good fortune. That’s unavoidable, but as I maintain, there is no sporting reason – by that I mean no reason which benefits the fairness of the competition – for pushing that to an even greater extreme by adding in the lottery of a restart. It’s purely to create entertainment and drama.

      2. I largely agree. My opinion is both red and rain restarts increase the potential for wrecks. I don’t want to see a driver injured. Or cars taken out of the race.

        And like others have pointed out, the fifty side of the track will translate to lose of a position. Image a thrilling 1-2 battle. The leader gets another p1 with clear track. 2nd place gets shuffled to p3 on the restart.

    11. So its a standing start on whatever tyres your on at the red then!! Or did they ditch the no free tyres rule??

      1. @rick1984 They will all be on new tyres, as a red flag permits tyre changes.

        1. @mashiat ! Aye but Im pretty sure a tyre change puts you to the back of what was the safety car cue now, its not a free change of tyres at a stoppage anymore

          1. @rick1984 Are you sure? Because up until last year you could have a free change of tyres during a red flag. Not sure if they changed the rules.

            1. @mashiat. That was ma original question!!! Lol!! I remember the rule change getting talked about but don’t know if it happened!!!

    12. Alex Vitrani
      26th April 2017, 2:12

      Was there not a Standing Start in Nurburgring 2007 ?

      1. Don’t think there was.

      2. Alex the first time was a standing start, as the rain didn’t arrive till they had reformed on the grid (minus a winklehock who had made his way in for rain tyres) the restart was safety car – rolling!!

    13. maybe belgium 2001 was the last time. i feel like there has been one since then.

    14. Fukobayashi (@)
      26th April 2017, 10:20

      I have no issue with this. Rolling restarts are rarely conducive to action.

    15. An interesting but artificial way to increase excitement.

      1. wait until they introduce rolling pit stops ;)

    16. In my opinion there should be ONE standing stand per Grand Prix – when the race begins. Anything else seems cheap and contrived.

      1. I agree. The race has started, some competitors gained, some lost, some failed, then suddenly, for whatever reason, the race has stopped. Skill, planning, tactical decisions, chance, etc all played their part in how the cars came to be in that order. The restart should reward those that gained places and punish those that lost places, and the best way to do that is to have a rolling start with the cars in the order they were when the race stopped. A standing start means the order of the cars crossing the start line isn’t necessarily that prior to the race stopping, some cars will gain when they shouldn’t have, some will loose places when they shouldn’t have. A rolling start minimises that effect.

    17. Finally.

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