Start, Hockenheimring, 2016

Standing restarts “more exciting for fans”

2016 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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A proposal to have a standing start after every Safety Car period could make races more exciting for fans, according to Daniel Ricciardo.

The plan, which would see cars line up on the grid before restarting a race, has the backing of teams but requires approval from the Strategy Group and F1 Commission before it is approved for introduction in 2017.

Having to do a restart from the grid would be “terrible if you’ve got a 40 second lead but great if you’re in second place,” said Ricciardo. “So, we’ll see.”

“Obviously it creates more variability again so if the race is looking a little bit stationary then that could definitely spice it up,” the Red Bull driver added. “There’s pros and cons. I think for fans it’s going to be more exciting.”

However Lewis Hamilton pointed out the grid would need to be cleared of rubber before restarts to prevent drivers in the off-line grid positions being at a disadvantage.

“It shouldn’t be much different to now, I should imagine,” Hamilton suggested. “They clean it up for the start so generally not marbles there, but I guess for the restart maybe. That would be interesting.”

A plan to use standing restarts was previously raised in 2014 but rejected due to concerns over its practicality. A poll of F1 Fanatic readers at the time indicated the proposal had little support among fans.

Next week’s World Motor Sport Council is expected to decide whether the plan goes ahead.

2016 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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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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  • 28 comments on “Standing restarts “more exciting for fans””

    1. It seems like a good idea to me, if they can get the safety aspect sorted, which is mainly the marbles. It could throw alot of life into the race, and would be a gimmick that actually creates good racing. With the new regulations in 2017 set to make it harder to overtake, with the deg tyres and the downforce gone, this could spice it up.

      1. Great idea indeed. Back to classics.

    2. Can’t we just wait and see how the racing is next year without this farcical idea, which was strongly criticised when it last reared its head?

    3. There’ve been worse ideas, but that hardly means anything in F1, where unspeakable horrors are always lurking around the corner. That idea is still so bad it’s horrible.

    4. I’d love to give my opinion on why I think it’s a terrible idea, but does it actually matter these days? How many SC periods have we seen this year on a dry track? they resort to the VSC so often now that we’ll have very few opportunities to see a standing restart…

    5. Would this not take a while?

    6. I think it’s an awful idea, always have.

    7. Well it will be unfair for those not starting on the clean side but on the other hand, it will definitely be exciting.

      Not sure what to think of this change.

    8. First you have the good and bad side of the starting grid. If you are not on the side where the cars drive you’ll have tons of marbles which make the getaway on that side really slow. So you’d need to clean the worse side to make it more equal. In the rain this will mean you not just need to clean the marbles but make sure the track is about equally wet on both sides.

      That then creates another question. How much of the track needs to be cleaned. This directly correlated with how long it takes to get the restart going. Once the cleaning equipment goes on the track you are probably looking at red flagging the race so the cleaning can be done fast and safely. For example in brazil would this mean just cleaning the grid area or 50 or 100 metres more after the grid?

      F1 tracks are very wide so let’s assume the track is 18 metres wide (the minimum I think is 15m). The grid is probably 16 metres between row of cars. So for 20 cars that is about 160 metres. So that is surface area of 160×18=2880m2. Let’s imagine a cleaning tractor can go at 5kmh and sweep and area of 2 metres wide. That’s 1.388×2=2.8m2/s. To clean the starting grid it would take 1000 seconds for one tractor. 500 seconds for 2. So about 10 minutes. Probably less if you don’t sweep the clean part of the track.

      Obviously this time does not include the cleaning equipment moving to the track and then going away. But because you only need to sweep the grid area you can position the cleaning equipment so they can get to the track quickly. So in ideal situation it would be a 10-15 minute delay. If one pass is enough. In some cases you might need a second pass which doubles the time. But you can get more cleaning equipment as well.

      And that is assuming that only the grid is cleared. Nothing else. So that can lead to a situation where the car on first row on the worse side basically ends in wet worse side of the track as soon as he moves out from his grid slot in the start (if none of the track is cleaned ahead of the grid). So for fairness you’d want to clean some of the track ahead of the grid as well. Which adds more time.

      Then you have a warmup lap because the cars can not wait in the grid for the start. So you start from pits and drive a lap around to the starting grid.

      Do you want to wait 15-20 minutes to see a standing start or should the safety car just queue the cars and let them go as soon as the track clears? I can see standing start being a lot more exciting though. In places like monaco the start can definitely spice up a boring race. I don’t really care about the leader losing his time lead.

      Personally I’d like to see this happen. Just once maybe to see how it works out. The delay could be annoying though.

      1. The TV broadcasters are going to hate this idea. Anything that could add additional time to a race transmission will mess up their schedules and advertisement breaks completely.

    9. I would love to see more people wreck, more poor teams lose more money. Sounds great.

      Here is to safety ! and creating a safe environment for guys to race in.

    10. They should do Indycar two-by-two rolling restarts. Plenty exciting, doesn’t waste time, and keeps the tires up to temp.

      1. @pastaman Indycar do double file starts but they no longer do double file restarts because when they tried it a few years back they found that they created a lot more contact & accidents that resulted in further caution periods so they reverted back to single file restarts after a year.

        Should also be pointed out that getting them double file throughout the grid on the initial start is something they often struggle with & you often only get the 1st few rows lined up 2-wide with the cars behind single file or just all over the place.

    11. Why not instead just allow all cars to pass as soon as the safety car has entered the pit lane. This would make restarts more tense and allow cars to race into the final corner from being closer together.

    12. This has got to be the most ridiculous idea yet , but while we are in the mood for some juvenile nonsense why not a restart in reverse or perhaps with the drivers blindfolded for the first lap, even better let’s inaugurate musical F1, so every time there’s a safety car the drivers must stop and run back to following car the last driver gets transferred to rallycross. The leading car could be winched of the circuit and auctioned on Ebay.

      1. I have some more silly ideas but to be serious for a moment I had presumed the safety car was enabled to allow the track to be ‘made safe’ it gives huge advantages to rest of the field by nullifying the possible excellent performance of the lead car. But if the lead driver plays it right he has the advantage of orchestrating an advantage and maintaining his position, this is justified by the fact that he was leading the race before the incident. Of course it does bunch the field up and allow the spectators the possibility to view some more close racing but that is a side effect , if every time there is an accident the race turns into some sought of glorified side show with the possibility of pit girls , D.C. running up and down with his mike and camera crew, Lewis scowling ,Ricciardo guffawing and Sebastian being restrained from striking Max perhaps the TV audience will improve but it will reduce by 1.

    13. If they do this, and someone else pitted earlier it would put many in disadvantage esp those who did their best to keep a distance to rivals all to be thrown down into bin! Like last time around Ver getting into pit in split sec before it has been closed for everyone else… it would have created massive disadvantage for those overdue for a pit…

      1. if they do this, they should give everyone a chance for a free pitstop… like redflags…

        1. @mysticus From next year no work can be carried out on the car under a red flag removing the possibility of getting a free pit stop.

    14. As I said yesterday, The standing restarts are a ridiculous idea for several reasons.

      Firstly you have half the grid at a disadvantage by starting on the dirty side of the track & with restarts later in a race that disadvantage will be much bigger that at the initial start as not only will part the grid be more rubbered in but the dirty side will be covered in marbles & other bits of debris that builds up over the duration of a race.
      Secondly in a wet/dry race your going to have half the grid starting on a dry line & half on a still wet/damp part of track.
      And with different compounds at different stages of wear unless you let everyone pit for fresh tyres your going to see some massive variations in start performance due to the differing grip levels which may not only be unfair but also potentially quite dangerous.

      Something i’ve seen thrown around as a counter-suggestion is double file rolling restarts like Nascar.

      Worth looking at the fact that Indycar tried double file restarts a few years back & found that while they were fine on ovals they tended to cause a lot more contact/accidents on the road/street circuits so ended up moving back to single file restarts.
      And even looking at Nascar again while the double file restarts work ok on ovals they do tend to result in more contact & cautions on the road circuits.

      Both standing & double file restarts are a bigger issue towards the end of the race where you tend to see more desperate dive bombs into the 1st few corners as its often seen as the last good opportunity to make big gains which very rarely work out, But that never stops drivers (Even the best one’s) from seeing gaps that aren’t really there.

      1. I think the problem in general is the same as things like DRS & High-deg tyres…… There done purely for entertainment with no thought or care given about the racing or sporting aspects.

        This is supposed to be a sport that is entertaining & not entertainment thats pretending to be a sport & all of these gimmicks & artificial elements that Bernie is obsessed with may well create some element of entertainment but they add nothing to the sport & as we have seen with DRS & high-deg tyres they more often than not actually take away from the sporting competition & create something with many fans end up turning against because of that.

        Will standing restarts be more entertaining than the single file rolling restarts we have currently, Probably.
        However will that created entertainment be fair, Will it make the racing better, Will it be genuinely exciting, Probably not because like with things like DRS its fake entertainment that people will see through & that will always sap excitement because your seeing something artificially created rather than something that is just happens naturally.

        1. And has turning F1 into a mere entertainment worked? So far it hasn’t, rating numbers keep going down. Yet they keep coming with these stupids ideas to turn F1 more into a show.
          The real reasons for them losing viewers are others, they are just happy pretending they don’t know them. Take the example of Latin America a few years back. Since the late 90’s F1 has been broadcasted in Latin America by Fox Sports -except in Brazil-, then a few years ago Bernie sold the rights for Latin America to a Spaniard group with no infrastructure to broadcast the races. They had the kind of money to seduce Bernie but not a TV channel. Did he care? Of course no. What happened was that for the next year it was impossible in all Latin America, from Mexico to Argentina, to watch F1 live -the Spaniard group re-sold the rights to Fox Sports but with the conditions they couldn’t broadcast the races until several hours after they have finished-. Then Bernie started to complain that people wasn’t watching F1 in Latin America and probably suggesting having a pinata party in the pits or a Argentinian asado mid-race was the right thing to “improve the show” and recover viewers when all we needed to keep watching it was a TV channel broadcasting it.

    15. I thought the elimination qualifying sucked but this is literally the stupidest idea ever. Might actually be the thing that finally gets me to cancel my sky sports subscription and call it a day on F1

    16. I’m not at all surprised that Bernie came up with such a moronic idea – more befuddling to me is the teams agreeing to go along with it.

      It proves how desperate the sport has become to keep it’s head above water. It will only cause more F1 fans such as me to quit following it. Open wheel NASCAR type racing is nothing less than insane.

      Of all the proposals over the years, this is by far the stupidest. Maybe the final nail in the coffin. What a pity!

    17. red flag, yes. but every single effin’ safety car? smh.

    18. Very simple this one… Starts are fun, lets have more starts…

      Reminds me of Overtakes are fun, lets get more DRS passes…

      Or tires need to be rubish, so sometimes someone on not so rubish tires can overtake more.

      But standing starts atleast look semi-natural.

    19. Yep constantly nutralise the race … what is the piont in the laps before the restart?Stupid idea as Nascar says “Yellow flags breed yellow flags” just be a race of attrition. Who is left after the next first corner pile up after the restart?

    Comments are closed.