Start, Suzuka, 2019

Softer penalties for jump starts and weight bridge violations in 2020

2020 F1 season

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F1 drivers could get more lenient penalties for jumping the start of races or failing to stop at the weigh bridge under new rules introduced for the 2020 season.

Sergio Perez and Piere Gasly were both ordered to start races from the pit lane this year after failing to stop at the weigh bridge when instructed to do so during practice sessions. This penalty is mandated by the rules.

This clause has been changed in the new sporting regulations for the 2020 season. Next year if a driver fails to stop at the weigh bridge they will be referred to the stewards, who have the option of using more lenient penalties.

The available penalties for drivers who jump the start of races have also been revised. Under the current rules the stewards may only give a drive-through penalty or 10-second stop-go penalty to drivers who are judged to have made a false start. From next year they will also have the option of handing down five or 10-second time penalties.

Kimi Raikkonen was given a drive-through penalty at the Russian Grand Prix for jumping the start. However Sebastian Vettel was cleared when he was investigated for the same infringement at Suzuka.

The regulations requiring drivers who reach Q3 to start the race on used tyres have also been slightly eased. Currently, drivers who reach the top 10 must begin the race on the tyres they set their fastest lap on in Q2. This applies even if they start from the pit lane. That will change in 2020, and all drivers who start from the pits will be able to put on a new set of tyres for the start of the race.

This change also follows a penalty which was issued to Raikkonen this year. The Alfa Romeo driver started the Italian Grand Prix from the pits on a new set of tyres having reached Q3, and was given a 10-second stop-and-go penalty.

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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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31 comments on “Softer penalties for jump starts and weight bridge violations in 2020”

  1. GtisBetter (@)
    11th November 2019, 10:46

    This is weird to me. These are black and white situatuions. No need to have different penalties. If it’s to harsh, just change the penalty. You should not have multiple penalties for this.

    1. Silly, how else will you ensure the randomness of Race Results?!


      1. Exactly. Surprised not more are wised up to this by now.

    2. Because it enables them to give Ferrari more drive-throughs whils giving Mercedes a 5-second slap-on-the-wrist.

      1. @ho3n3r yes just like Seb had in Japan, or his brutal penalty for abusing track limits at Monza, or LeClerc being allowed to cut a chicane scot free whilst on a black and white warning 🤡 🤡 🤡

      2. @ho3n3r Lol, yeah you got that completely backwards

      3. @ho3n3r, Ferrari haven’t had a drive through penalty for over two years, and the last one that they got was for Kimi Raikkonen deliberately ignoring a yellow flag during the 2017 Belgian GP.

        As RB13 notes, there have been occasions where many have felt that the penalties given to Ferrari were unusually soft, such as the decision to impose a token fine for the unsafe release of Leclerc in the German GP that resulted in him clipping Grosjean’s car. Allegations of bias can cut both ways…

  2. Personally, I think all jump starts need to be treated (and penalized) equally, and we shouldn’t have degrees of penalties subject to the stewards’ discretion. Maybe just tighten up the definition of a jump start (e.g. wheels exiting the box/crossing the grid slot line before lights out), ensure the detection technology can fulfil that definition, and then just hand out a consistent penalty.

    The weigh bridge penalty as well – I’d similarly prefer a consistent penalty. Maybe tighten up the communication loop such that a race engineer is informed by the FIA the moment a car comes into the pitlane entry (maybe via a specific tone), so the driver can be immediately instructed via radio before they actually reach the start of the pit area. The technology to achieve this shouldn’t be too onerous. Or else, change it such that all the cars are weighed as they drop out of qualifying.

    Allowing for stewards to impose various penalties for these two instances just introduces shades of grey into what should just be a black-and-white interpretation (with extenuating circumstances being acknowledged and excusing the driver involved – e.g. the weighbridge indicator light was momentarily blocked by someone accidentally).

    1. Martin Elliott
      11th November 2019, 11:48

      Either have clear prescriptive definitions of a jump start or faffing around with variations and sub-rules in a classified Stewards interpretation handbook and Technical Directives to ‘clarify’ the ISC, SR, TR.

      MotoGP had it better in that any move after the start sequence begins is a penalty, even if movement stops. None of this ‘did not gain an advantage’ (though I believe its going to change!!). And MotoGP just do it with an official and Mk1 eyeball for each row of 3 bikes.
      F1 has a transponder under the track at each grid position which tracks every cars movement/stop during the start sequence, even the 0.201 reaction time added between lights out and first movement (in that pesky TD I think). More than adequate with all the video as well to confirm.

    2. petebaldwin (@)
      11th November 2019, 12:59

      I don’t see how it isn’t a simple rule for jump starts – once the first light comes on, you can’t move until the lights go off. If you move at all (even if you remain behind the line) it’s a drive-through to be done the following lap. A sensor Or GPS can work this out so the stewards don’t even need to be involved.

    3. I agree. You can either start too soon (jumpstart) or not @phylyp @petebaldwin. Once we get stewards involved who have to decide on something we get into the whole “did they or didn’t they gain an advantage” like we already have with far too many things in F1.

      Not to mention it will slow be slower to act, because they will have to actually look at things instead of just seeing the sensor registred the car moved. To me this reeks of the FIA conceding that the Stewards should have ruled on Vettel getting a penalty but they let it slip to save the on track action. That is categorically wrong.

    4. @phylyp, I would strongly agree that a lot of the complaints which have been raised about penalties for jump starts have usually not been about whether they are too harsh, but whether the stewards have been too lenient in not applying penalties when many felt they should have been applied.

      Although some might have felt the penalties were severe, at least they were consistently hard – by making the magnitude of the penalty more subjective and vaguely defined, it is almost certainly going to result in increasing mistrust of the stewards and a belief amongst the fans that they are weak, incompetent and easily manipulated into giving soft penalties to fan favourites or letting things slide to prioritise the show over consistent and impartial refereeing.

      As you note, there are ways that so many of those issues could have been addressed – simply tightening up the definition of a jump start, as you note, would do a lot more to address the complaints of inconsistency. Instead, it feels as if they want to take an easy route out by making the penalties weaker – which, if anything, is more likely to just encourage drivers and teams to push the boundaries more, particularly if they are popular and begin to believe the stewards are too scared to impose a harsher penalty.

  3. Sure, great, just what we needed.
    At times when we constantly talk about the lack of consistency of penalties applied – they implement more ways to eliminate any traces of consistency.

    Can we please get rid of WWE-style rulemakers from F1, FIA and Liberty?
    No? Bummer.

  4. Sigh. More show must gone on regulations.
    Its also why Renault only gets a slap on the wrist instead of being scratched from the results this season for using driver aids…

    F1 is worse than politics..

    1. Martin Elliott
      11th November 2019, 11:50

      Which were all “Technically Legal”, joining them together was “Unsporting”

  5. A jump start is a jump start. What could possibly cause the stewards to apply less than the top penalty?

    Missing the weigh bridge is the same. The current penalty was too fierce but why have different levels?

    Is Masi messing things up again? These rules certainly won’t help in building the stewards reputation for impartiality.

  6. Everything is crystal clear – 4 different penalties for a jump start goes like this: if Ferrari driver is at fault then the mildest penalty (5 sec.) for a jump start, for Mercedes and Red Bull drivers (10 sec.) for a jump start, for Renault and perhaps even McLaren – drive-through penalty, any less important team – 10-second stop-go penalty. Nothing new here, just “business as usual”. :(

    1. Everything is crystal clear – 4 different penalties for a jump start goes like this: if a Mercedes driver is at fault then the mildest penalty (5 sec.) for a jump start, for Ferrari and Red Bull drivers (10 sec.) for a jump start, for Renault and perhaps even McLaren – drive-through penalty, any less important team – 10-second stop-go penalty. Nothing new here, just “business as usual”. :(


  7. Ohlook at this, they changed the rules for 2020 in Nov of 2019 with no problem at all. So what is brawn running his mouth about about not being able to fix things and needing a new governing structure? Just a bunch of BS as usual. The teams need to get together and get rid of liberty ASAP.

  8. Although i have liked seeing the drive-thru penalties (when implemented), I’d prefer to see a strict added-time penalty regime. Drive-thru’s have had somewhat arbitary impacts on some race outcomes.

    As for the requirement for the Q3 players to start on Q2 tyres; just ridiculous.

  9. The penalty that IMO most needed revision was the ‘unsafe release from the pits’ -one.

    Leaving with a loose wheel usually means end of the race, so to add a grid drop for the next race as well is just too much.

  10. Usual stupidity of FOM(jump start) taking the sport down the drain.

  11. Softer penalties will only encourage drivers to take ever more liberties with the rules. There was a time when jumped start penalty was 60 seconds…just ask Mario Andretti about Monza 1978.

  12. Penalties is not the issue. The issue is the technology used to detect false starts which doesn’t make any sense. Vettel’s car was moving when the lights went out and no penalty. Kimi moved and stopped before the lights went out and was given race destroying penalty. Kimi was a hurt a lot by his own mistake. Vettel lost very little.

    I’d use cameras and not the stuff they use now. Have amazon design some kind of camera system for that which doesn’t need sensors or any new bits in the car. I don’t think it is worth a penalty if a car moves little bit during when the lights go down as long as the car is stationary (and inside the box) when the lights go from red to green. It is a standing start after all. A sensor that allows a car to move little bit during a start is just a horrible system and does not deserve to be used in any sport ever and definitely not in f1. The worst thing f1 can do is to keep the current sensor system and give more power to stewards who then fiddle with the results even more.

    1. It was not the sensor that allowed the movement. its was the interpretation that the movement did not left the allowed space so he did not crossed the line . The system showed the movement.
      Totally absurd, he moved thus: a penalty!

      1. The sensor is only for if the car is in his start box detection not for starting it self. So moving before the start is penaulty but there is a difference here if driver stops (like Vettel) small penaulty but jumpstart like Alonso the heavy one.

  13. Why not just scrap the rule about race starting tyre-set altogether? Allow everyone to start the races on whichever set they’d like, not only the ten who failed to reach Q3. Without this rule, drivers would only ever use the softest compound of a given GP-weekend throughout qualifying as there would be zero reasons to play tactics with the compound in that session anymore.

    1. And it would make the races more interesting, introducing more potential variation among the top runners. And more fair for the midfield drivers who just reach Q3.

      I don’t know why the FIA is holding on to this out-dated rule that was originally intended to assist the midfield yet does exactly the opposite.

  14. So much for consistency with penalties

  15. I’m happy with the current jump start penalties. I like the severity if a driver gets it wrong. I think they could tighten up the rules on what is a jump start. I accept that some gradients mean calls will roll a little, but Seb’s recent incident should have been treated as a jump start despite stopping in the box and starting again after the lights went out – he went too soon.
    As for the weighbridge, I worry that if the penalties are reduced we could see teams playing this a bit to push the limits and then argue the case with the stewards.

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