June 7, 2023

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Why in F1 are they penalized for shifts in the starting places – although there is no advantage? It’s about controlling false starts

Thousands of hours in Football Manager and the thrill of work: 15 answers from the scout of the First League club

Thousands of hours in Football Manager and the thrill of work: 15 answers from the scout of the First League club

Learned from the judge of the Grand Prix of Russia.

Fernando Alonso ‘s 100th F1 podium was marred by hours of late-night litigation about the correctness of his fines and their relevance to the meaning of racing regulation in general. And if it seems really absurd to mistake an accidental touch of the car for “starting work on it” , then everything is not so simple with the initial punishment.

Yes, the Spaniard was initially convicted of leaving the starting slot – and he advanced quite a lot:

For this, he was ordered to defend 5 seconds at the nearest pit stop before the car was serviced – and half of Formula 1 considered this fine not too fair. After all, no one doubted the futility of the express departure – the two-time champion did not receive an advantage from a change in position. On the contrary: Fernando “narrowed” his trajectory to the turn, drawing a path to earlier braking, and also moved off the more knurled part of the track.

In addition, on the grid of the same day, #14 was not the only visual “violator”:

And at the first Grand Prix of the season in Bahrain, Esteban Ocon made the same offense:

The Alpin pilot was also fined 5 seconds, and he also did not quite understand the justice of the judges’ decision.

“It may seem silly that I moved too far to the right [on the starting grid], but I can assure you that from my position it is not. You basically don’t see anything. So I’ll have to deal with it. I hope the problem does not happen again,” explained Esteban.

Max Verstappen also admitted that it is difficult to ideally position the car due to poor visibility from the cockpit:

“It’s a shame when this happens, but the same with the white lines: sometimes you can say that you have not won anything. I think at some point a rule is needed. It will look very stupid if everyone starts to gain an advantage by moving too far to the right or to the left.

I don’t know how we can improve the situation. The review is very poor, and this is perhaps the main reason that you may not occupy your slot quite correctly.

The head of the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association, George Russell, also blamed poor visibility: “You can only see the top four or five inches of the tire from the cockpit, you really can’t see the asphalt itself. There are these big long yellow lines that indicate the field… But I don’t even see the yellow line, let alone the white lines that define our lateral position. We need to show a little more common sense.”

He was supported by Sergio Perez: “You have no idea [about it] in the car. You don’t know if you are far or close. It’s good that there is a rule, but to be honest, sometimes setting up on the starting grid is just luck.

“Esteban concentrated on this issue the whole weekend – and still after the start he said that he did not know where he had ended up,” said Alpin sporting director Alan Permane. “He said, ‘I can’t see anything at all’. Strange.

I think the new rules about car position on the grid seem a little draconian. No one gets an advantage if they cross the line ten centimeters one way or the other. I don’t know if it will be revised, but the fines seem cruel and pointless – pilots can’t see those lines.”

But why was this rule introduced? Should it make sense?

We turned for clarification to Georgy Andreev, National Commissioner of the Board of Sports Commissioners of the Russian Grand Prix (KSK – this is the official name of the refereeing body in auto racing). It turns out that strong biases like Alonso’s can prevent registration of early starts!