Start, Suzuka, 2019

Stewards explain why Vettel avoided a jump start penalty

2019 Japanese Grand Prix

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The Japanese Grand Prix stewards have explained how Sebastian Vettel was able to avoid a penalty for a suspected jump start.

Vettel’s car moved before the red lights went out, but the Ferrari driver stopped his car before the start was given. According to the stewards he did not infringe the rules because he was not moving at the moment the lights went out.

“The stewards reviewed video evidence and the jump-start report based on the information from the FIA approved and supplied transponder fitted to each car,” they explained.

“Whilst the video shows some movement that movement was within the acceptable tolerance of the F1 jump start system which formerly defines a jump start per Article 36.13(a) of the FIA Formula One Sporting Regulations.”

The relevant regulation states a driver will receive a drive-through penalty or 10-second stop-and-go penalty if they “move before the start signal is given, such judgement being made by an FIA approved and supplied transponder fitted to each car”.

Kimi Raikkonen was given a drive-through penalty in the Russian Grand Prix when he was judged to have jumped the start, despite the stewards ruling he did not gain an advantage from it. However Raikkonen’s car was observed to have been moving as the red lights went out.

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Keith Collantine
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82 comments on “Stewards explain why Vettel avoided a jump start penalty”

  1. As a Ferrari fan even I can say this is a joke. Should have been penalised. Clear move on video.

    1. As a non-Ferrari fan (and even more a non-Vettel), I don’t agree. As long as he didn’t leave his box, and wasn’t moving at the moment of the start signal, I don’t see a problem.

      1. He was moving:
        If you slow down the speed to 0.25x you can see the red lights go off before he stops. And then starts again.

        1. That video is very interesting, they appear to throw a yellow flag/light at the start of the race if you watch Hamilton’s onboard, so Bottas overtake was illegal as there’s no green flags.

      2. As long as he didn’t leave his box

        That’s just part of the rule [36.13b)]

        and wasn’t moving at the moment of the start signal

        That’s not the rule (rule 36.13a) states: “Moved before the start signal is given”

        I don’t see a problem

        That’s your prerogative, @losd.

      3. The Stewart made-up out whole cloth “not moving when the red lights go off”. The rule states“Moved before the start signal is given”. I am surprised that no other team did not appeal the decision. Clearly shows the the stewards are amateur. Shame.

        1. Pretty sure I saw a feature about this some years ago. Might have been Brundle. Sensors on the car can tell how far the car is moving. There is a tollerance within the box that the cars can actually be moving and still be considered stationary. Something like a half or quarter revolution of the wheel I believe.

          1. The feature may have been after the hoopla surrounding Hamilton’s false-start being ignored by stewards, which had exactly the same situation. Sort of. I believe Hamilton actually moved forward, stopped, then reversed back into his box… ALL of which define “moved” but there was no penalty.

        2. Well Merc certainly couldn’t complain since Hamilton got off on exactly the same technicality a few years ago.

    2. That’s not the rule. Bottas clearly moved before the lights went out at Austria in 2017, but it was clarified that he wasn’t out of the box yet so it doesn’t count. Everyone accepted that it’s the rule and moved on.

      Are you 2 and a half years behind?

      1. Maybe. Hard to tell with all my Ferrari tears clouding my vision. :)

      2. F1oSaurus (@)
        13th October 2019, 18:52

        @ho3n3r That’s not true though. Bottas did not move BEFORE the lights went out. He moved 2 tenths AFTER the lights went out and that’s just clear of the minimum limit for a false start.

        So they actually need to be stationary for 2 tenths after the lights go out, or else it’s considered a false start since a human cannot react faster than that.

        Although clearly they are allowed to move before the lights go out, as long as they are stationary and inside the box before the lights ho out (clutch engagement or what

        1. nope, there was video that showed he moved before the start…. but we get into the definition of moved, and F1 does not consider moving to be actually moving.

          1. F1oSaurus (@)
            20th October 2019, 16:49

            Yes, he clearly didn’t jump the start

      3. Bottas did not jump the start in Austria. It was very close, however.

  2. Well, good that they explain it, because the video showed didn’t quite make that clear, and several commentators (and the studio team at Ziggo sport, but what do they know apart from ‘Verstappen is great but here he was screwed, and FIA Ferrari International Assistance’, save for Robert Doornbos) were confused about it. I’m fine with that, bc. he caught himself, certainly didn’t profit and the race didn’t need him being taken out by a penalty, as that would have made it an unchallenged Mercedes 1-2.

    (And likely a drone with team orders to HAM to save the tyres, PU etc. to ‘keep the position, and WCC’, and maybe to pay back Bottas for Singapore which he was supposed to get back from Vowles, but I might be wrong about that).

    1. Kimi fell to last place despite jumping the start at russia and got a penalty.

      He moved. But to avoid penalyzing a Ferrari, now they have levels in which a driver can jump the start. It is a yoke. A yoke!

      1. Kimi left his box, Vettel didn’t (and wasn’t moving at the start signal)

        1. Moving at the start signal is not the rule. It is “Moved before the start signal is given”. Amateur Stewarts need to be replaced by professionals.

      2. Have to agree with you.
        And isn’t it stupid the way every rule in F1 is complicated out of all common sense!!!

        They should penalise any move before lights out. Period.

    2. @bosyber
      Really; the ziggo studio blabla….tell us, compared to those guys; what have you achieved in f1, or racing in general? (And why do you even watch ziggo if they bother you that much.)
      It was a false start, just like Kimi a few races ago, who also didn’t gain anything but was properly penalised.
      You come across as a rather double standard person, just like the stewards!
      And btw, Verstappen is that good, just ask anyone, and I literally mean ANYONE, professionally involved in this sport.
      (It’s only clueless clowns and fake fans who question this.)

      1. And btw, the english and german commentators all agree with “those guys from ziggo”…!

  3. Hm, but he also didn’t move far enough to cross whatever border/sensor line there is.

    1. That is not the rule. It is “Moved before the start signal is given”

      1. Yes, but how do they determine if the car is moving? The sensors tell them. And the tollerance of the sensors allow some movement before the car is determined to be ‘moving’.

        1. Trevor Marron
          13th October 2019, 17:18

          How could they tell he was moving? You did not need a sensor in the car to see it moved!

      2. It was clarified as precisely the rule when Bottas did it at the Red Bull Ring in 2017.

        1. you mean this one?

          he moves with the light not before the light! it has been examined frame by frame billion times, no fault found
          maybe ferrari red blinkers is clouding your judgement…
          vettel did clearly move before the light came out, and moved before the start signal is given… this is travesty at best!

          because what is there to stop someone starting and moving all the way to front and stop before the light goes out completely then start again? how do you draw the line?

          let me remind you that spa 08, rule said give the position back, not after two corners or 10 corners, it simply stated give the position back… and driver complied and given a penalty what i call the worst of all time, because they made up a clarification after the penalty given!

          this time they made up another stupid rule to not give a penalty….

          i hope next race, hamilton move all the way until just his rear wheels are still in the box, and start from there… lets see how many race bans they will hand out to make a ferrari driver win…

          it is not once, not twice, now third or fourth time ferrari is being forgiven! literally twice for both cars!
          lec is beyond reasonable aggression which we used to attribute to max before! i dont understand what happened since australia, maybe todt renewed his ferrari contract after that? that seems to be the only logical explanation

          1. F1oSaurus (@)
            13th October 2019, 18:57

            @mysticus We also learned from that example that the drivers are required to be stationary after the lights go out to account for possible human reaction times.

            So how on earth is Vettel allowed to move before the lights go off. Regardless of how little he moved.

            Really bad call this one.

      3. In what language? That is English, I wonder what is the exact French translation?

  4. So Ferrari Internation assistance is active in full force thise year. Wondering how much dirt does mafia have to demand this level of complecancy?

    1. I’m not a big fan of Ferrari but I don’t its because theyre bias. I just think they screwed this one up because of the “threshold” thing.

      That said its still under investigation I think?

      1. Under “investigation” and at best he will get 5 sec time penalty. What does that penalty do after the fact that Max’s race has been ruined and also why wasnt he blackflagged for endangering lives of others on track and not even such a thing as warning flag and ignoring team orders to pit for repairs. Soon enough Leclerc is going to be involved in a major crash and I just hope for his sake it doesnt end his career.

  5. I’m pretty sure (no videos on youtube yet) vettel’s car was moving as the lights went out.

    1. Within limits like when Bottas did once

      1. No, Bottas moved ‘after’ the lights went off.
        It was just too fast and could not be explained by human reaction time (plus speed of light).

        1. VETTEL : Moved before the start signal is given

          BOTTAS : Moved with the start signal give

          nothing cloudy to shade shadow of doubt.

          RULES IS CLEAR: “Move before the start signal is given!” It doesnt say an inch move or a mile move!!! Might as well move until just your rears are in the box! and start that way… Lets see who is gonna challenge this?

  6. Who cares more should be made of the fact leclerc could have easily killed Lewis Hamilton today, they did not even notice it at first what a swerve Hamilton had to do it and it still knocked his mirror off, if that hit his head could of been a Justin Wilson. Worst driving i have ever seen and also feel for Max big time. Yet another choke by Vettel one step forwards 3 back with him.

    1. +1 Insane that Leclerc wasn’t flagged down.

    2. Yes his visor would not be as strong as the mirror. Disaster closely averted by Hamilton quick reflexes. Also, if the wing failed more substantially Leclerc could have been in the wall at 200 mph. Recall Alonso doing something similar and driving over his wing in a Ferrari.

    3. Now to mention the breaking ferrari spread sharp carbon fiber bits all around the straight before the fastest corner on the track. Stuff doesn’t just vanish once it comes off the car. That being said it is fia’s job to flag down cars if they are dangerous. Not ferrari’s job. And today the stewards were worst I remember seeing in long time. Total incompetence on all fronts.

      1. Totally agree, I thought that was needlessly dangerous. Carbon fibre may be light, but its sharp and strong and Lewis (and others) were driving into a spray of it at 190mph, it’s the kind of thing the Halo does little for. Obviously, Ferrari didn’t know it when it was going to disintegrate, but they must have known it would (it was sparking for a good while). I was surprised the FIA weren’t onto it sooner.

        1. Ferrari told Leclerc to pit twice, but Leclerc replied he wanted to continue since the behaviour of the car wasn’t affected too much. And Seb should’ve been penalized for the jumpstart… There is/was no need for a grey zone.

          1. guenther steiner should really demand his money back, because he was right after all!

  7. What about Bottas his start was to perfect

  8. Absolute farce of stewarding.

  9. It’s interesting that you can start the race with a roll, aka a but if your reaction time is too low it’s a penalty. F1 should not allow a “street start” where you roll off before the clock starts. It’s unfair and also dangerous.

  10. As Dan posted above, the question the stewards have to answer is why Leclerc was allowed to continue racing with bits flying off his car and into Hamilton, including taking out his wing mirror, having ignored Ferrari instructing him to pit to replace the damaged front wing.

  11. Maybe they took all Vettel’s penalty points into consideration. Kimi got 2 points for jumping the start. That would give Vettel 11 points. Really close to a race ban.

    Not a good reason, but he drives a Ferrari!

  12. .. and the acceptable tolerance is..? whatever they need it to be ;)

    1. “and the acceptable tolerance is”

      todt is open to offers :) it seems he is setting a higher bar every race for ferrari to match the bids

  13. The FIA have been awfully kind to Ferrari since the summer break. They let Leclerc off the hook with a dodgy defensive move in Monza (by inventing a new warning system called the black and white flag). Today they invented a new jump start rule for Vettel, mentioning that it’s ok to jump a start as long as long as you’re not moving when the lights go off. They also avoided giving Leclerc an obvious penalty for contact with Max.. And an even more obvious penalty for not putting when parts of his car were flying around.

    1. The FIA want to get the casual viewer the impression that this year isn’t a bore due to Mercedes dominance…
      The regression in the performance of the Mercedes isn’t explainable otherwise. Mercedes should win with the smallest possible margin, to protect the “sport”.

  14. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
    13th October 2019, 8:45

    Do not understand the reason why some don’t seem to be able to accept that Vettel got away with it

    He moved – ever so slightly, but not out of the starting box. He stopped in time and had a quick enough reaction that it didn’t that badly effect his start. I don’t understand the issue. Last race, Kimi moved well out of his box, explaining the difference as to why Kimi got a penalty and Vettel didn’t.#

    Pretty simple really. You can notice that verstappen often parks his car in very different positions on the grid soemtimes. Right on the limit with what you can get away with. Often infact slightly further ahead in the box than the others. I’m guessing that if you move before the lights, but are still within that limit, you will be fine. This is what Vettel will have done.

    It was lucky, but he managed it well and had a solid race after that.

    1. GtisBetter (@)
      13th October 2019, 9:04

      Pretty much. Race cars often move a bit before start, but you hardly notice. That is why they have a margin. The other thing they have is the combination of throttle at the time when the lights go out and the sensor at the front. Those are the main indicators of a false start.

      He’s clearly ahead of the white box line before starting. Don’t listen to Croft and forget about the tyre shadow.

      1. Indeed. Even if the stewards think he did not jump the start (by misreading the rules), then Vettel started the race ahead of his grid box, which is unfair. I don’t think Vettel didn’t position his car at the edge of the box before the start, they try to maximize to the last centimeter/inch.

    3. F1oSaurus (@)
      13th October 2019, 19:02


      Do not understand the reason why some don’t seem think it’s accept that Vettel got away with it

      Fixd that for ya.

      Vettel moved BEFORE the lights went out and CONTINUED moving after they went out.

      When Bottas had a perfectly legal start in Austria 2017 (and Vettel complained!) it was actually said that the drivers cannot move within 2 tenths of a second after the lights go out. They need to leave time for a humanly possible reaction time.

      Now Vettel has a 100% clear false start and they simply invent new interpretations for the rule.

      This type of favoritism is disgusting

      1. GtisBetter (@)
        13th October 2019, 19:42

        I hope they release the data just like with Bottas his start

      2. I’m new to F1, but I can clearly see Ferrari doing some mafia deals with FIA. The way their car suddenly turned into a superpower, enough to prevent Hamilton overtaking Vettel in DRS as well as newer soft tyres, enough to possibly affording Ferrari to overcool Leclerc’s tyres while still being fast enough to complete 2nd in Quali, so that they have that shameless dud with fat contract and huge fan following to be at top.

        This should also go well with FIA, considering that there is nothing more at the moment that can increase viewership than a repeat of Ferrari’s glory days. What is your thought on this. Irrespective whatever you think of the cooled tyres, I strongly believe it and also can see that Leclerc knows it too. Sabotaging Ferrari’s plans is the only justifiable act from him.

  15. NeverElectric
    13th October 2019, 9:07

    The relevant regulation states a driver will receive a drive-through penalty or 10-second stop-and-go penalty if they “move before the start signal is given, such judgement being made by an FIA approved and supplied transponder fitted to each car”.

    I’m sorry – Vettel moved BEFORE the start signal was given.
    Open and shut case, I’m afraid the stewards have yet again bottled a clear penalty where Ferrari are concerned. Their “explanation” is a joke!
    What a farce!

    1. indeeed.

      36.13 Either of the penalties under Articles 38.3c) or d) will be imposed on any driver who is judged
      to have :
      a) Moved before the start signal is given, such judgement being made by an FIA approved
      and supplied transponder fitted to each car, or ;
      b) Positioned his car on the starting grid in such a way that the transponder is unable to
      detect the moment at which the car first moved from its grid position after the start
      signal is given.

      (emphasis mine)

      1. and the quote lost the bold ‘before’ which I added :(

  16. Well we might as well test these “he didn’t move when the lights went out” rule even more. Next race Hamilton should try to jump-start before the lights go out for about 2-3 meters, then stop, let the lights go green and start the race. This shouldn’t breach the rules, right? The race after that, Bottas should try this and go a little further, 5-6 meters, and so on… By 2021 when the lights go out, half the field would start after the first couple corners.

    Look i understand that not everything in F1 is black/white and sometimes in a race, mostly when two cars fight each other, there is a grey area because not every incident is the same. But some rules, like jump-starts or unsafe releases (Leclerc in Germany for instance) cannot be open to interpretation to the stewards like the start is a painting in a gallery.

    1. If he moved 2-3 meters, he would have been out of his box. THEN it would have been a clear penalty.

      1. The penalty was clear as the light of day as soon as he jumped the start. It doesn’t matter whether he crossed some line.. Whether he stopped his car to a grinding halt within a millisecond or whether he lost a whole lot more positions because of it.

        There are some rules in Motorsport that are simple… A jump start is one of them. It’s a farce that the stewards have to explain to us why they didn’t penalize a jump start.

        Just ridiculous.

  17. Ferrari International Assistance strikes after a little while.

  18. Willing to take bets that if HAMILTON had jumped the start he would’ve received a PENALTY…!!!

  19. He’s ahead of his starting position when the lights go out. What rubbish is this.

    We’re returning to some kind of 90s style stewarding here.

    We miss you Charlie.

  20. Is it not true that they can not race with no mirrors on left side

  21. I though it was regulation that a driver had to have mirrors on the car at all time. What if there was safety car restart.he could not see behind him on left side.

  22. How many times are the goalposts going to be moved for Ferrari? This is a joke!

    Not only that but the amount of time taken to make a decision about LeClerc as well. It is clear conversations were going on behind the scenes with Ferrari and these influenced their decision.

    The next time these instances happen with any other teams we will continue to see the standard penalty applied.

    I could list historically all the way that the Ferraris have been ‘penalised with advantage’, instead I will simply add today’s to the list:
    – Car 5 jumped the start, black and white rule. You either jumped it or you didn’t regardless of whether your stopped and started again.
    – Car 16 crashed into Car 33 at the apex of turn 2. Clear change in direction mid-corner, no attempt to avoid the collision. Hence ‘causing a collision’ that ended somebody’s race – 5 second penalty applied post-race. This is the smallest penalty that can be applied and it was applied with a delay meaning it was less effective that applying it at the first round of stops, where he would have come out of the pits further down the field and had to overtake.
    – Car 16 carried on driving with dangerous damage. No ‘meatball’ (black and orange) flag shown. Allowed to pit at own choosing – 10 second penalty applied post-race. This caused a disadvantage to the car following as they had to be tentative following due to the debris and potential for a catastrophic failure happening. This delay allowed him to hold up Hamilton for Vettel’s advantage. Again applying this penalty at a pitstop during the race would have had more impact than applying it post race.

    The outcome is that Ferrari get a plastic fine and finish higher in the race with their offending car than they should have and this also impacts the chances of overtaking their other car. Ferrari are treated more favourably and this was obvious in this race.

    1. This caused a disadvantage to the car following as they had to be tentative following due to the debris and potential for a catastrophic failure happening.

      Good point @djdaveyp87 . Hamilton was clearly backing off rather than risk trying to pass Leclerc and chase after Vettel.

      1. Regardless of that it was downright dangerous, if that bit of debris that took out Hamilton’s mirror had hit him on the helmet, then what?

        I thought we were supposed to care about safety nowadays?

        FIA you are so inconsistent, sort it out!

  23. My take is the stewards didn’t want to penalise either Ferrari as they were doing their best to keept the WCC alive for the next race. F1 management know that once titles are decided viewing figures drop.

  24. So, dear stewards, we have a double standard. What a shame to have penalised Kimi for the same manoeuvre. If I were an Alfa official, I would certainly file a formal complaint. No guts to penalise the Ferraris, but after the race (Leclerc)? What about Verstappen’ s race? Clearly a disappointment for the sport these decisions.

  25. Interesting, look how quick Bottas reacted to the lights, was that also “within tolerance”?

    1. Having seen Bottas’ on-board, I’m convinced he reacted not to the lights but to Vettel’s initial move.

      Vettel got away with it – perhaps justifiably so, but let’s not get into that, there’s plenty of debate on that above and it’s not my point. Bottas got away with it too – also clearly/perhaps justifiably so. Result: Vettel lost the lead and Bottas gained it. One happy Bottas.

      1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
        14th October 2019, 9:30

        I don’t think drivers will ever try to react to those around them. They can see the lights above them and on their steering wheel. So I seriously doubt Bottas will have set of as a reaction to vettel moving.

  26. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
    13th October 2019, 22:40

    Still don’t understand the issue people are having with this decision.
    Vettel didn’t move enough to trigger the sensors to warrant a penalty. At least not enough for the tolerance. the stewards have more data than we will ever see and they have given reasons why they have not punished vettel.

    If any other driver had an identical start to vettel, the sensors fitted to every car also won’t have detected it as a false start. Vettel a start Vs Kimi last race are just not comparable.

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