Kevin Magnussen, Haas, Mugello, 2020

NASCAR-style restart zones could prevent repeat of F1’s Mugello crash – Steiner

2020 F1 season

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Formula 1 should consider using placing ‘restart zones’ at circuits to prevent a repeat of the crash which eliminated four drivers from the last race, says Haas team principal Guenther Steiner.

The stewards ruled race leader Valtteri Bottas was not at fault for the crash which occured on the approach to the starting line during a restart. However 12 drivers were warned over their “inconsistent application of throttle and brake” which was found to be a contributing factor in the race-stopping pile-up.

Haas driver Kevin Magnussen, whose was ended in the crash, was among those given a formal warning over the incident. Steiner, his team principal, believes restart zones similar to those used in NASCAR could help drivers better judge when a restart is likely to begin.

NASCAR tracks have designated zones ahead of the starting line which are used to regulate restarts. When a race restart is called, the leader is required to begin accelerating to racing speeds within the indicated zone.

“The restart line was far down the straight at Mugello and some people obviously took a chance and tried to have a run at it,” said Steiner. “I don’t think anybody did anything wrong, I fully agree with that one, it was just circumstances.

“Going forward, to avoid these things, I think we need to look at where to put the restart line and maybe also think about a restart zone. I’m not an expert in these things, but other series do it like that to avoid these things from happening. I think it’s worthwhile to look into it, but I’m sure it’ll come up on the agenda of the sporting working group.”

However FIA Formula 1 race director Michael Masi indicated the sport is not looking at introducing anything similar to NASCAR’s restart zones. “I don’t think so, but never say never to anything,” he said.

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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 “NASCAR-style restart zones could prevent repeat of F1’s Mugello crash – Steiner”

  1. I don’t think a restart zone would have prevented what happened in Mugello.

    Nascar has many more re-start pile-ups than F1 so why use their system?

    1. Restart zones would have prevented a pile up like the one at Mugello. Everyone has to be driving at constant speed until the leader restarts. This means people at the back can’t anticipate the restart (and you know where is this zone, so it is far harder to get confused and think the race has already restarted

      1. Everyone has to be driving at constant speed until the leader restarts.

        That’s pretty much how it’s meant to be now. Having a restart zone will not prevent back markers anticipating the start. It still happens in Nascar.

        1. Yeah. The cause here was three drivers (Kvyat, Russel, and Giovinazzi, four if you include Ricciardo) building a gap, flooring it, and braking heavily. And none of them were penalised. If nobody does that in future, it would be fine.

    2. The actual restart zone in NASCAR rarely causes crashes. The accidents you see happen well after the start finish line where the restart rules no longer apply.

      The big difference between NASCAR and F1 though is NASCAR also restarts double file. This allows for three and four wide racing as everyone is trying to get as many positions as they can get. This hard racing is what usually leads to crashes. F1 would have less chances for that as they start single file.

  2. Having the safety car line (in Mugello it was in the start/finish line) after a long straight will always cause this kind of behavior. The Safety Car line should be close to a corner (either the last one or the first one).

    1. @F1recorder No, it wasn’t. You’ve seemed to mix them up. SC lines aren’t the same as the timing line. SC1 line is always where the white pit entry line starts and SC2 where the white exit line ends. SC1 is much closer to the final corner in Mugello than the timing line, so allowing overtaking from SC1 again would prevent these types of things on tracks where the timing line comes long after the last corner. Although, in Baku, for instance, SC1 also comes a long way down the main straight due to where the pit lane locates.
      Here’s a link to a section of where you can find the location of the SC lines along with the timing (control) line, pit entry, and exit, etc., on the event notes-PDF. Sochi Autodrom, the next track, has the timing line at the beginning of the S/F straight (as does most circuits) and SC1 before the penultimate corner, so what happened in Mugello couldn’t happen there to any extent.

  3. Simply allow overtaking from SC1 again instead of the timing line. What was the reason for the change that happened for last season anyway? Never really came to light.

    1. @jerejj yeah I never understood that. It was better as it was

    2. The change was because of people trying to take positions at the very end of the race under safety car rules. Didn’t someone jump past another driver between the safety car line and the finish line on the last lap in Monaco a few years ago? It was to stop things like that happening again

      1. Schumacher tried it in Monaco in 2010 on the last lap, but got penalized for it (only because it was on the last lap). The rules stayed as-is until 2019.
        I’d like to see them go back to SC1 as well, but IMO Mugello has a fairly specific problem with the start/finish (control) being so far down the straight. Baku too, I guess.

  4. Or they follow the rules that are already in place. Like staying within 5 car lengths of the car in from at the restart, preventing sudden acceleration and braking, which can’t be seen 3 cars back. If you look at the onboard of Russell you know exactly what I mean.

    No need to add, again, additional rules when they are not sticking to the ones already in place.

  5. Just restart it under VSC rules after a SC.
    I really don’t know why this is so complicated.

  6. F1 recorder is right. Ann old fashioned safety car line just after the final corner would have avoided this problem of the long, long Mugello straight with the start finish line acting as the safety car line in the middle of it.

    It is irrelevant that F2 avoided a pile up because the torque and power and acceleration of the F1 car is so much greater and the bunching is difficult to stop on such a straight where the first car in the queue and the safety car line can’t be seen and where the fear of giving a tow to the car behind is very real. A situation which should and could have been foreseen by the Race Director and stewards.

    1. I’m not sure I consider the fact that a F1 car can accelerate much faster than a F2 car as the defining factor for F2 not having a pileup. You could argue that an F2 car can accelerate much faster than the average car in traffic and you see this concertina effect on the road everyday. The speed for sure is a contributor to the amount of carnage I believe, yes.

  7. Anyone who starts a proposal with ‘I’m not an expert but…’ isn’t the first person I’d listen to.
    Why not just ask the experts themselves :P

    1. @aussierod Who is that anyway? People like Masi? Even if he should know the safest and fairest way, he obviously has an agenda outside that, and as that could be said for most involved in the sport, the real ‘experts’ in this case would probably be hardcore fans.

  8. Make every safety car restart a standing restart! 🤣

  9. The less NASCAR gimnicks the best for F1.

    1. How is a restart zone a gimmick? Every racing series has a general area where the race can restart. NASCAR just made theirs a bit more defined.

      Even in F1, it’s wherever the leader is when the safety car enters the pits to the timing line.

  10. Best ideas were made up long before us. Grid restarts were normal before 1990’s.

  11. No need to do anything. The cars are safe and the tracks are safe. Let them crash and learn from their mistakes.

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