F1 teams agree plan for standing starts after safety cars

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F1 teams agree plan for standing starts after safety cars
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Nov 25, 2016, 3:48 PM

Formula 1 team principals have agreed to introduce standing starts after safety car periods next season – despite the idea having been abandoned after it was added to 2015 regulations.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid leads behind the FIA Safety Car
Bernie Ecclestone
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid leads behind the FIA Safety Car
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid leads behind the FIA Safety Car
Bernie Ecclestone
Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing RB12 leads behind the FIA Safety Car

The idea was floated by Bernie Ecclestone at an informal meeting on Friday, with the F1 boss arguing that there is a need to improve the show.

Last time around, the rule was abandoned before the start of the season after team managers – who refine the sporting regulations with the FIA’s Charlie Whiting – came up with a long list of objections.

Most of those are still valid, so there is sure to be some debate within the sport as the team managers remind their bosses of why it was abandoned last time.

The general feeling was that the change would artificially impact the racing, as a driver with a large lead could potentially lose out by stalling on the grid.

Chief among the objections was the fact that, late in a race, one half of the grid at many tracks will be covered in marbles, potentially handicapping those on that side of the grid.

Similarly, there is the possibility that in damp conditions half the grid starting on the dry line, and half on the wet line.

There was also a question of drivers starting on tyres of different compounds and ages, with widely varying levels of grip.

The suggestion was that everyone would pile into the pits under safety cars in order to ensure they were on new tyres for the restart.

Standing starts in the wet, after some laps running behind the safety car, have already been added to the 2017 rules.

However, by definition, the cars will line up in the order in which they qualified, with no driver unfairly handicapped by losing a lead, for example.

Ecclestone also suggested to teams on Friday that grands prix become two-part races, but that was rejected.

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Series Formula 1
Author Adam Cooper