Cars on the grid, Circuit de Catalunya, 2018

Drivers and FIA downplay fears new restart procedure will cause “carnage”

2018 F1 season

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Concerns Formula One’s new restarts procedure for 2018 may cause “carnage” have been downplayed by drivers and the FIA.

Following a trial of the new procedure, under which races which have been red-flagged can have standing restarts, Romain Grosjean warned low tyre temperatures could lead to crashes.

However Valtteri Bottas believes the cool conditions of testing exaggerated the problem.

“We tested in the evening the start practice with an aborted start and another formation lap,” he explained. “Definitely these conditions at that time of day the tyres do get really cold. And it gets tricky and very difficult to get temperature in the tyres.”

“But here in Barcelona for the winter tests it’s always the same case. And it’s easier during the year so I’m less concerned for many other places, other circuits but I guess we will find out.”

Nico Hulkenberg admitted a drop in tyre temperatures “could be” a concern if drivers have to do several laps at low speed before the start. “The formation lap is also not racing speed but the more laps you do, could be a bit like that,” he said.

Grosjean predicted drivers would pit to put on warmer tyres instead of taking a standing start on tyres which had cooled. However FIA race director Charlie Whiting doubts this will happen and said “no driver’s spoken to me” with concerns about the new system.

“It seems a bit of an odd comment to me because they all put new tyres on whenever there’s a red flag,” said Whiting.

“The grip was quite low in Barcelona anyway. They didn’t put new tyres on because it was a quick procedure. So I’m not overly concerned about that.”

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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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22 comments on “Drivers and FIA downplay fears new restart procedure will cause “carnage””

  1. ”However Valtteri Bottas believes the cool conditions of testing exaggerated the podium.” – LOL.

  2. Not that I’m an expert of course but I’ve been downplaying the fears over this all along. I recall when this was first presented a few years ago they clarified that they would not do a standing restart in every condition, such as in the rain. I believe they will only do this when it is safest to do so, and I also believe that the majority of the time when there’s a red flag, even a yellow in many cases, they pit for fresh tires anyway because it is considered a freeby pit stop that doesn’t risk losing spots.

    There would only be ‘carnage’ if the drivers do not adapt to the conditions and create carnage. Race starts themselves always have drivers on less than optimum temp tires. They go into the first turn understanding that while trying to do their best they’re also trying to keep it clean so they finish the race…it is not won in the first corner.

    Sometimes the most excitement we see in a race is the start and the first few turns. So I certainly think it is well worth trying at least. If they find that carnage ensues because the drivers simply can’t drive to the situation, then they can always scrap it.

    1. Exactly. It is not as if the tyres are in perfect shape for the first corner at the start of the race. They are often much colder than they should be and possibly coated in dust due to being on the dirty side of the grid. The drivers know what they have to deal with and drive accordingly. These restarts ought to be similar.

    2. @robbie I made an enormous comment explaining why the concerns and possible implications, I read it again to me and at this moment I was induced in error by Grosjean, as he probably was thinking that a standing re-start was due every time there is a SC, and I was thinking like that while writing. looking at Hulk’s comments also seem like he thinks the same way, don’t know where this confusion comes from.
      This is only for red flag events and races that start under the safety car. And as Whiting mentions, after a red flag they are allowed to change tyres in the pitlane, and teams can comfortably service both of their cars without any problems

      The second of these two scenarios (racing started under safety car), I’m perfectly fine with it.
      The first one however I don’t see the logic in it. It is another gimmick to spice up the show, imagine a re-start with 10 laps to go, is it fair for those who lose positions at that point? After battling for a distance to the car behind, the rule nullifies that battle, it might not be interesting at times for us to see, but for drivers it is certainly a lot of work, just to see it taken away from them in the re-start lottery.

      This will still go ahead for this season, regardless of what we think of it, but I just hope they don’t start to throw red-flags at the slightest opportunity, just to have standing re-starts.

      1. Motogp has restart procedure similar scenario 1(watch moto3 LeMans 2017 and Moto2 Czech or German GP). And it becomes quite a bit of problem as riders low down on grid gamble with softest tyres and the rider in front has to play safe at restart. Sure for spectator it spices up the entertainment but for rider leasing the race it might rob them of victory. We might see something similar to these motogp races where driver in position 11-14 might gamble and go suicidal at restart in hopes of scoring points.

  3. Sigh. It’s just another tool that Charlie can use to shuffle the deck in predictable races.
    It’s like throwing on the showbiz car, sorry safety car, at any and every opportunity to bunch up the field. By ordering a standing restart, there’s more chance of the leader losing out, injecting uncertainty into the outcome etc. Let’s face it, race starts and the opening couple of laps are usually where most of the action takes place.
    It’s somewhat cynical, and not very sporting, but it gives Liberty a better shot at negating the effects of a dominant team, I guess. It’ll be interesting to get Valtteri’s opinion if, after leading at Melbourne by 20 secs for 50 odd laps, he ends up off the podium after botching the restart because his tyres are frozen. Still, that’s showbusiness!

    1. I think you need to watch a new sport if that’s how you feel about the decisions being made here.

  4. “It seems a bit of an odd comment to me because they all put new tyres on whenever there’s a red flag,” said Whiting.

    I thought they were preventing tyre changes under red-flag conditions this year, hence why Grosjean said he would come in to change them and start from the Pit Lane with nice hot tyres. Is this something they’ve changed their mind on, again?

    1. I thought so too but knowing F1…

    2. It’s just Charlie again showing that he’s on top of the rules.

      Comes a time…

  5. Of course it is a tool to make races less predictable. F1 is mutch more exciting when the final result is unpredictable until the end of the race.

    To see Lewis Hamilton’s much faster car overtake slower cars on every long straight is like watching Usain Bolt in spikeshoes, against his competitors wearing a pair of sneakers. It’s entertaining to watch for the conneseur, but the outcome is given and it’s not enlarging the fanbase.

    A start from standstill in the middle or the end of the race, gives every team a slightly better chance of a podium. And will be a lot more exciting for everybody who watch it expanding the global fanbase. Let Grojean change his tyres, but the bold and skillfull driver will take advantage of every opportunity to get a better result for his team and himself.

    1. Then distribute the wealth between the teams more fairly. Stop tweaking the sporting regulations to fix a problem that has its roots much deeper.

      1. Deep rooted problems can’t be changed overnight. Contracts have to see themselves through. They will get there as soon as they can.

  6. I like this in one way – it provides a convenient route to a standing start at a wet race which would otherwise have only been able to have a safety car start.

    But for races which have already had one start when the red flag is flown, it’s a horrible idea because it’s being done for no reason other than to try to create some drama. It’s also (entirely needlessly) recreating the most dangerous and contact-heavy part of a race, at a time when the FIA (apparently) thinks safety is the top priority.

    And it’s entirely discretionary, and left up to the race director. So Charlie’s going to open to all manner of accusations if he chooses it one time, but not the next time, and something happens…

    That said, it’s a thousand times better than the original idea that led us to this one – remember when they wanted to do standing restarts after every safety car period? Ugh. I think the revulsion people had towards that is increasing their dislike for this – it’s certainly making me feel a little more hostile, because this could potentially be a step towards going back to that idea.

  7. The bigger concern for me is how half the grid could end up been disadvantaged by it later in the race when half of the grid/track down to T1 is going to be covered in marbles, dirt & other bits of debris that builds up over the course of a race.

    And as for Charlie saying they will all change tyres, Is changing tyres under a red flag not banned now?

    My biggest problem with this is that it’s been done for the wrong reasons. This isn’t been done because it’s safer, better or was really needed, It’s been done purely because they think it will ‘spice things up’ & for me that is simply the wrong reasons to be implementing something like this given how there are concerns regarding the consequences from both a sporting & safety argument.

    1. They ‘Nascar things up’.

    2. Some have the privilege og having the fastest and most reliable car, some get a second chance by luck (accidents, weather conditions, others mechanical problems etc), some because there is a restart. No problem at all.

      1. Having the fastest car is not a ‘privilege’, it is earned, at least in part. Weather is not controlled by humans. Lining up on the grid with 10 laps to go with marbles all down one side is simply not fair on a driver that might have earnt 4th place, then gets blasted past by the 5th place driver on the clean side for no reason other than 4 is an even number.

        Honestly, I don’t see how you do not understand.

        1. Earned? You mean payed. The biggest budget to build the car wins every race. Honestly, I don’t see how you do not understand?

        2. I just don’t envision that if there was a scenario where half way through a race half the grid is covered in marbles, they would do a standing restart in that situation. They would simply not disadvantage the ones starting on such a dirty side that way. They would either do the normal rolling single file start, or during the caution they’d clean the grid up. I think likely they would just not do the standing restart.

  8. Where do crashes occur most often, by a large margin? At the first 2 corners after a standing start! Instituting standing starts during a race is a perfect way to artificially create unpredictable results. Or, to put it another way, to ruin a drivers otherwise very good race. Let’s see how Hamilton fans feel when his 5th championship is torpedoed by some stupid (or intentional?) 1st corner idiot move in the first corner in the last race of the season, during a standing restart.

  9. W (@vishnusxdx)
    20th March 2018, 18:38

    Do you hear that? No?
    That’s Alonso rubbing his hands together while chuckeling deviously.

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