The FIA has tightened the rules on jump starts in Formula 1 for 2018 – opening up the possibility for a driver to get a penalty even if the automated detection system isn’t triggered.
What are officially known as false starts came under scrutiny in Austria this year after Valtteri Bottas appeared to move early, but was not penalised.
Rival drivers believed that the Finn could not have reacted so quickly without anticipating the start.
An important change has been prompted by Sebastian Vettel being out of position on the grid in China, as the German was so far out of his assigned space that his start didn’t register on the FIA system.
Currently Article 36.13 of the FIA Sporting Regulations says simply: “Either of the penalties under Articles 38.3c) or d) will be imposed for a false start judged using an FIA supplied transponder which must be fitted to the car as specified,” where the penalties referenced are either a drive-through, or 10 second stop-and-go.
From next season the rules will read: “Either of the penalties under Articles 38.3c) or d) will be imposed on any driver who is judged to have:
“a) Moved before the start signal is given, such judgement being made by an FIA approved and supplied transponder fitted to each car, or;
“b) Positioned his car on the starting grid in such a way that the transponder is unable to detect the moment at which the car first moved from its grid position after the start signal is given.”
In other words, the onus is now on drivers to position their cars accurately on the grid, or they face being penalised for a false start.