Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Monaco, 2019

Verstappen was stuck in ‘start’ throttle map for most of race

2019 Monaco Grand Prix

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Max Verstappen spent all of his second stint driving in his ‘start’ throttle map because he forgot to deactivate it after his pit stop.

The mode is used to optimise the car’s performance from a standing start at the beginning of the race or pit stops. Drivers usually switch back to a race mode when they return to the track.

“In the pit stop we forgot to go back on the torque map so I had my start map in it which was not ideal,” Verstappen explained.

“I had massive lag on the first couple – I can’t say the exact number – but quite a lot of percentage going on throttle. I had nothing, and then suddenly the power kicked in. It was not nice to drive. But I managed to drive around the problem.”

Verstappen forgot to deactivate his after his pit stop as he and the team were distracted by his collision with Valtteri Bottas in the pit lane.

“Normally I would go back on it but of course with the clutch and then looking in the mirror all the time, and the team was also a little bit shocked with the whole thing, they were also checking damaged. Normally they always remind me but anyway it’s always my job to still do it, but I also forgot with all the hectic scenarios.

Drivers cannot deactivate the mode once they are at racing speeds, and Verstappen didn’t return to the pits for the rest of the race.

Verstappen was given a five-second time penalty and penalty points on his licence for hitting Bottas as he left the pits. He said his team were right to send him out of his pit box when they did.

“I think as a team we did everything right. I was just unfortunate I didn’t know there was anyone next to me because they released me and I was just going and of course it’s all getting a bit tight. We were ahead, it was a shame that we touched, but I couldn’t see him.”

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
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22 comments on “Verstappen was stuck in ‘start’ throttle map for most of race”

  1. Surely there was something more reportable than Max forgetting to press a button that happened during the GP… maybe not, Liberty really is upping the excitement these days.

    1. I expected this of Ferrari …

      1. It pairs well with his pit stop release.
        All 3 teams managed to bungle at least one important thing during the weekend.
        Ferrari’s was the most costly (they ended up losing one car because of it), but both the others weren’t much better.

        PS: For the other two I’m thinking of Hamilton’s tyre strategy and Verstappen’s release coupled with this, probably as a consequence of the distraction.

  2. That has been a very stupid mistake for a professional driver .And unacceptable for a Formula 1 driver.

    1. Ohhh,perpetual Verstappen haten Lardone wants to make a point……guess you hated the last 60 laps of the best Monaco in 2 decades?
      Some people are so sad, it makes you wonder what trauma’s they endured; wanna talk about it?

      1. ‘The best Monaco in 2 decades’… I watched one car follow another car until he ran into him. I’m not sure what you were watching.

      2. Oconomo the word “hate” is not in my vocabulary so another time you are wrong. As ever.

    2. Yeah Jorge, they should replace him for next race..

    3. It is at least a less stupid mistake then the spin of Leclerc in Rascasse and the aftermath by driving too fast to the pitlane ruining his race completely. At least Max tried to challenge Hamilton even with wrong settings. Bottas and Vettel never challenged Vettel (Bottas) or Verstappen (Vettel) and they never came within 0,5 sec of the car in front. Also i think that the race engineer of Max is partly to blame here. It is not that Verstappen has made this mistake more often and is clearly a one-off! Verstappen has been flawless from Canada 2018 to Monaco 2019 in my book!

      1. And yet he ran into two people in Monaco 2019…

    4. Wow even a more astonishing performance of Ves. He scared Ham for 80% of the race even with a lesser car and a false throttle map. What a hero.

  3. That’s … outlandish.
    I mean, I can see how the unsafe release situation might’ve been enough of a distraction for Verstappen and his crew, so that the wrong engine mode went unnoticed at first.
    But how on earth was it possible for them to complete almost 70 laps with an inappropriate throttle map while fighting for the lead? Don’t they have a dedicated team of obsessive-compulsive engineers who perpetually stare at telemetry curves and sound the alarm at the slightest deviation from what the curves are supposed to look like?
    Did it never even once cross Verstappen’s mind to report those massive hesitations that may have cost him the race win?
    This kind of thing would’ve been excusable in early 2016, when silly radio rules forbade the teams of telling their drivers anything of interest. In 2019, there’s absolutely nothing stopping the teams from interfering with their drivers’ races. If they wanted, they could have an engineer voice command the driver by telling him exactly where to brake and when to go on the throttle. They could tell the driver to constantly play La Cucaracha on the steering wheel to unlock a special mode that makes the car go 0.001 seconds faster. And they could definitely tell the driver he’s being a donkey for not switching to a throttle map that doesn’t let the car think it’s stuck in an eternal first lap of a race, with all the undesirable implications this has.

    This is somewhat reminiscent of Mercedes’ 2015 pit stop blunder that cost Hamilton the win, which was caused by a combination of two or three instances of momentary human errors. The backlash was (deservedly) enormous. But, if true, the gaffe in question here was so monumental that it makes Mercedes’ past blunder look like a string of reasonable decisions that unfortunately did not result in success. 90 minutes of continued, baffling, human failure. Inexplicable.

    Well, either that, or it’s a cover up story for something even worse. However, my imagination is not creative enough to come up with anything that’s even more embarrassing than dragging a car around the track using a fundamentally wrong setting for 250 kilometers, with absolutely everyone in the team failing to recognise or report the issue.

    1. “Drivers cannot deactivate the mode once they are at racing speeds, and Verstappen didn’t return to the pits for the rest of the race.”

      1. @paeschli
        Yeah, I saw that. But it just doesn’t make sense to me. The very purpose of that start mode is to get the car up to ‘racing speeds’ as quickly as possible (in the case of a race start), and the drivers routinely switch it off once the engine map freeze period (was it the first minute or lap after the start?) is over.
        Something doesn’t add up here.

        1. @paeschli @nase: what surprises me, is that in Loews, the car is going at pit speed. Why not deactivate it there?

          1. @hahostolze
            Yeah, that too is a corollary of what I was getting at. If it was a tangible issue (hesitations upon applying the throttle, followed by a sudden burst of torque – I’m not an expert, but that sounds like the kind of issue you want to get rid of), this could’ve been a sensible approach to solve it.
            Especially considering how close Verstappen came to mugging Hamilton on the approach to the Harbour chicane. Just imagine how decisive a few extra centimetres, which he would’ve certainly gained with the improved drivability of, you know, not using the wrong throttle map, could’ve been …
            If the prerequisite for that would’ve been to activate the pit speed limiter while on the race track, this definitely sounds like something worth trying. Seeing as overtaking in the Loews section is virtually impossible unless you’re caught powernapping, anything short of stopping dead on the track would not have led to losing a place. Also, considering the ‘pace’ Hamilton was setting in his effort to make his tyres somehow survive the race, even a temporary loss of several seconds would’ve been recoverable within a small handful of laps.

            Long story short: Something definitely doesn’t add up.

    2. Apparently it wasn’t as horrific as you make it sound. He wasn’t saying much about it nor did it appear to be extremely detrimental to his race . If had been such a nightmare as you seem to assume then surely it wouldn’t have been forgotten.

  4. simondbarnes
    27th May 2019, 8:39

    “However, my imagination is not creative enough to come up with anything that’s even more embarrassing than dragging a car around the track using a fundamentally wrong setting for 250 kilometers, with absolutely everyone in the team failing to recognise or report the issue.”

    If you’d actually bothered to read the article you’d have seen that the mode can’t be deactivated once up to racing speed (I’m guessing once the pit lane speed limiter is deactivated)

    1. Congrats for having your comment unlocked. Your interpretation of the text beyond what is explicitly being said, however, is not quite as worthy of a congratulation.
      For more insight, please refer to the comment I wrote at 9:40.

  5. and people think current modern day F1 cars don’t have traction control. They have so many tools to aid traction it’s kind of a joke…

  6. Sooooo… max is an idiot for not turning off his start mode map, or Red Bull/Renault are idiots for designing an engine mode that can’t be turned off over a certain speed?

    I don’t believe this garbage about not being able to turn off a start engine mode above X mph. That would be s terrible design. Tin foil hats on!

  7. ^^^ read “Red Bull/Honda”; Red Bull left Renault to go for the greener pastures of Honda

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