Start, Hungaroring, 2020

Timing data shows Bottas did not jump the start – Masi

2020 Hungarian Grand Prix

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Valtteri Bottas avoided a penalty for a ‘jump start’ because the FIA’s official timing data indicated he did not move too soon, according to F1 race director Michael Masi.

The onboard camera from Bottas’s car appeared to show his Mercedes moving forward as the start was given. However Masi said the small amount of movement was within the tolerances allowed for a legal start.

Article 36.13 (a) of the sporting regulations states a driver will be considered to have jumped the start if they have “moved before the start signal is given, such judgement being made by an FIA approved and supplied transponder fitted to each car.”

Masi said: “The means by which a false start is determined is actually clearly detailed in the sporting regulations and has been the same process for a number of years. Which is the transponder that’s fitted to each car is the judgement mechanism, and there’s a sensor in the road, in the track as well. And there’s a tolerance within that.”

Bottas appeared to move before the race began
Bottas appeared to move before the race began
Sebastian Vettel was cleared of jumping the start at last year’s Japanese Grand Prix for the same reason.

“As we saw in Japan last year, that [tolerance] is the determining factor,” said Masi. “So there was nothing further to have a look at.

“We spoke to the timekeepers immediately and they reviewed all the data and that was the end of the matter.”

Despite his contentious getaway, Bottas did not make a good start, falling from second place to sixth on the first lap.

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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...
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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29 comments on “Timing data shows Bottas did not jump the start – Masi”

  1. How about your eyes, Mr Masi, what did they show you?

    1. They have seen no jump start. As well as all those watching the broadcast.

    2. We’re talking about Valtteri Bottas here, starting his race with the red lights still on is kind of his jam.

    3. Same rule for everyone.

    4. @sham bolic. Not even a notification for the viewers. Like Bottas famous jump start, the tolerance allows drivers go jump start, that day he won, soon teams will identify the tolerance that Masi has finally admitted, and make use of it.
      Bottas knew he had to take Ham at the start, he failed hard, no consequences.
      I understand why there is a tolerance, otherwise the fia would end up reviewing every starter for the slightest of movements and jerks. the system used to be trigger happy, but I’d rather see a dubious jump start reviewed and maybe get penalised than see a clear jump start ignored as if it had never happened.

      1. @peartree it’s all very simple, he moved before the lights went out. There is no such thing as a legitimate negative reaction time.

        Not only that, but in the replays it is clear the car never fully stopped again.

        1. Bottas did a “street start”. Not a standing start. I don’t see why it would be technically difficult to enforce a non movement requirement. This is not a heisenberg issue where observing the car makes it move lol.

          It’s the same in track and field. If you move before the gun you’re out, period. There is no time window or box of space you can move in.

  2. I don’t mind this rule at all. Obviously, the amount of tolerance given wont allow an advantage. And the means that decide the jumpstarts are objective. The cars got sensors. It’s the same for everyone.
    I don’t like drivers being penalised for inconsequential mistakes. Bottas’ mistake only affected his race. Leave it be.

    1. In the analysis by Sky, Karun counted the number of frames in the video that Bottas’ car moved before all the lights were off. It was 5 frames I believe and it amounts to 0.208 sec (5 * 1/24 sec) which is right at the edge of the tolerance. Also, the car stayed within the box and so it didn’t break any rules.

      1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
        19th July 2020, 22:35

        I’ve mentioned this before, but they likely measure it from when the lights get switched off, not when they visually go out. Virtually all lights (especially old incandescents due to how hot the filaments inside get) will have a delay between being on and switched off. So when looking at frame by frame shots, even if the lights have been switched off, they will not visually look any different within the first few frames. This and the sensors will likely all be related to the tolerance allowed. LED lights can have a different effect. They use so little power that the transformer can hold a bit of remaining power when they are switched off, which can also cause a tiny delay between them being switched off and visually appearing to be off.

        1. Typical incandescent light bulbs lose over 90% of their intensity within 1/100th of a second after being switched off. If fed by 50/60 Hz AC current, with 100 or 120 bumps per second, it creates a stroboscopic effect as utilized by the striped discs to calibrate the turntable speed of LP record players.
          It is the last few % that last longer, but that won’t fool the racing drivers.

          Modern LEDs power electronics don’t use transformers but regulate the outgoing current by high frequency PWM (pulse width modulation) switching. If you watch a high speed camera recording of LEDs you can see them pulse. There’s virtually no latency there.

          Anyhow, it is clear Bottas held back after the initial movement and did not profit in any way.
          It is a good thing that he did not get a penalty. It would have killed much of the excitement in the race.

          1. He didn’t hold back, he had anti stall

      2. Should be 5 * 1/25 = 0.2 sec, as british TV is 25 frames per second

    2. @carbon_fibre it was clear Bottas got a bad start as was the case with vettel last season. anyhow the tolerance does give you an advantage at least .2 judging by video analysis, that race he won with a jumpstart, he did not stop, he reacted and kept going, he got a great start. the reason why he did not trigger the sensor was not because he stopped soo enough but rather because he moved within the tolerance, had he gone, he would have benefitted from the jump start just like that race he won.

  3. It was clear the same rule will be applied like with Vettel last year, when they didn’t launch\announce an investigation

  4. You may like to read this about a similar incidence with same driver, Austria 2017:

    1. Thanks Dieter

      Urgent rule change is required here: Move in any way shape or form before lights out and you are penalised with a 10 sec stop go.

      1. I dare say a drive though alone would be penalty enough.

  5. The slight issue there is some tracks you start uphill or downhill so can move a little, Id prefer they timed the clutch release and if its dropped before the lights are out then regardless whether you pull it in again its a penalty.

  6. The mistake by Bottas ruind his race and Mercs I imagine most people watching seen the reaction in the Merc garage when Bottas crossed the line 3rd.

    1. He had anti stall, irrelevant to the jump start, but did give some karma justice.

  7. It is clear he moved. And he did not stop afterwards like vettel did iirc some time ago (don’t remember when and can’t find a video). But it is also clear he lost out massively on the start. I think when looking at those two factors the decision to penalize was the right one. Just like with collisions if the driver causing the incident loses out more the penalty is less harsh.

    If anybody needs a penalty it is f1 for having such illogical and stupid false start detection system.

    Video of bottas’ start:

  8. The sensors never picked up Albon’s track drying either (they can’t of course) but the video shows it. The sensors for Bottas never worked as advertised but the video is there for all to see.

  9. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
    20th July 2020, 6:58

    @socksolid @blik

    I made a point further up that the race starts will almost certainly judged when the lights get switched off / timed out, not visually off. Especially with older lamps, they don’t go off instantly. Due to them being like they are, it is unlikely they will judge the race start from when they visually go out as they often fade rather than go out instantly. So as i mentioned, they will likely judge it from when they time out. As silly as i seems, this video doesn’t prove that what bottas did broke the rules in this case.

    Bottas also had a reaction time to the lights in austria 2017 of 0.201 seconds. This did not look the case in the video, but the delay of the lights as well as the sensors are related to this. While this made it look like a clear jump start, i think it is partly the reason why a certain amount of tolerance in allowed.

    1. Surely the fact that he went then stopped means he himself thought he had moved before green?

      1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
        20th July 2020, 13:13

        If you watched the analysis Sky did, Bottas reacted to the lights on his wheel, which visually did appear to go out before the over head ones. He then went into anti stall and that was the main reason he stopped again from what he explained.He said this both post race and another interview soon after.

    2. @thegianthogweed
      excellent points!

  10. I don’t have any real issue with it as it’s not as if he gained anything from doing what he did. If he’d moved & then ended up with a big lead into T1 or something it’s a different story but he fell backwards so gained no advantage.

  11. The car was moving before the lights went out. It’s a jump start. FIA are baffling on this issue. The ‘tolerance’ level should be to do with the issue of drivers anticipating the lights and starting after the lights go out but within a time considered too short for human reaction. The ‘tolerance’ would be a degree of leeway, allowing a margin of error for just how fast a driver can react. But it has to be a reaction! If the car is moving before the lights are out, it clearly isn’t a reaction, it’s an anticipation!

    Like I said, baffling logic. Or a baffling absence of any application of logic. Defines FIA stewarding full stop.

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