FIA: Quick start that "surprised" drivers was within the rules
The FIA says the quick change of start lights at the French Grand Prix should not have caught drivers by surprise, because it was well within what the rules allow.
Sebastian Vettel was one of a few drivers to admit that he had been taken aback by just how fast the lights had gone out at the start.
"I think everybody was a bit surprised how quickly the lights went off, because they were hardly on and then they were off," explained the Ferrari driver. "I wasn't the only one that probably reacted a little bit late."
But although the lights were only on for around 0.8 seconds, F1's race director Michael Masi is clear that such a short hold was nothing out of the ordinary.
"The sequence was fine. It was all within the boundaries," said Masi. "I think a couple of drivers said it was a bit quick, but it was certainly within the tolerances that we have."
The F1 race start sequence is controlled by permanent starter Christian Bryll, who took over that role from the Bahrain Grand Prix when the duties for former F1 race director Charlie Whiting were split between him and Masi.
But Bryll has no restriction on the timing of when he decides the lights go off, for F1's regulations are open-ended on this front when dealing with the start.
Article 36.9 of F1 Sporting Regulations state: "Once all the cars have come to a halt, the five second light will appear followed by the four, three, two and one second lights. At any time after the one-second light appears, the race will be started by extinguishing all red lights."
Asked about driver complaints that the lights were out too quickly, Masi said: "It may have been from their perspective but an actual time of within the regulations, they were well and truly within the boundaries."
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