Vettel almost jumped the start (Video)

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

Amateur video from the Japanese Grand Prix shows Sebastian Vettel came very close to jumping the start.

The video shows Vettel’s Red Bull moving and then stopping again before the start was given. Vettel held his lead at the start while Mark Webber, who started second, lost his place to Robert Kubica.

The start is at 4’30 in the video above.

It’s the second time this year video of a car seeming to jump the start has emerged after a race.

At the Belgian Grand Prix Felipe Massa appeared to jump the start having pulled up ahead of his starting position, but escaped without a penalty.

Fernando Alonso jumped the start at the Chinese Grand Prix, overtaking both the Red Bull drivers from third on the grid, and was given a drive-through penalty.

2010 Japanese Grand Prix

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79 comments on “Vettel almost jumped the start (Video)”

  1. Kubica told Vettel had jumped start in an interview during the race, it was strange that no-one else talked of this fact afterwards.

    1. This video shows what the front runners would have seen. It is a much better angle of it and I can actually see him jump forward a bit.

      1. wow, button really left the door wide open in turns 1 and 2

        1. again…

          he did the same thing in Singapore

      2. how is that not a jumped start? he was moving before the lights went out. how did charlie miss that?
        just wow

        1. and i just watched the tv broadcast and you can see it there too. this angers me.

  2. I really can’t see the car moving before the start. I can only guess it’s the car rolling down the hill since the drivers would have to hold the car on the brake.

  3. I can’t really see it on the video, but if Vettel did jump the start then it might have made the race more interesting…
    Imagine if Vettel got a drive through and Kubica’s wheel stayed on, what a hell of a race that would have been… Bit too far into the hypothetical tho.

    1. I’ve watched again (on my computer, not my ipod) and he definitely moves.

  4. Massa didn’t jump the start at Spa, he missed his pitbox.

    1. Yeah, I agree. He was like half a car pass the start line

    2. sorry not pitbox, i meant grid slot.

  5. The reason Hulkenberg got away so poorly is because he jumped the start by a long way, then stopped, then started. – This video shows Hulkenberg’s start from onboard and Petrov taking him out. Also have a look at the onboard of Massa, it shows him creeping past his grid box before the start… Was that a jump start?

    1. No, as Karun had said after Spa, the cars tires must be on the yellow line. If they pass that before lights out then it’s a jump start.

      It’s why in Spa it wasn’t detected that Massa had passed his pit box because he wasn’t on the line. Hulkenburg selected first gear the car jumped forward which is natural, it caught him out he applied the brakes and went through his launch procedure and got bogged down.

    2. That’s interesting, because the guy that took Hulkenberg out obviously jumped the start, hence his amazing speed off the grid. Check out Petrov’s start on one of the FOM feed replays from race day. He looks to be a couple of tenths faster off the line than anyone else around him. ;)

      1. Actually, just watched it again without the tinted glasses on! :D I’ll withdraw the accusation and remain suspicious only.

        Judge for yourselves:
        Side on (0:18) –

        Front on (0:19) –

  6. Really ? A jump start ? Is it really moving before all the others ? In any case don’t the FIA have telemetry to show whether it moved.

    Back in the old days (60s/70s) even into the 80s the cars were always creeping forward on the grid as the lights changed and a jump start was only if they past the line of their box.

    1. OK I withdraw my sceptism… he did move about 2-3 inches prior but I’m sure the FIA would have analyzed this using their timing equipment and the telemetry.

      There are two key factors:
      1. did he leave his box and break the timign beam
      2. although he moved, the then stopped, the rules only specify that it must be a standing start – so was he stationary when the lights went out.

      It is irrelevant if he moved 0.2 sec before the lights went out, as long as he stopped and was stationed 0.2 secs later when the lights went out then he was fine.

  7. Dr. Christopher Wood
    11th October 2010, 12:57

    That’s the warm up lap ahead of the start of the race – NOT THE START OF THE RACE – duh.

    Tip: when the team crew are seen on both sides of the track at the start – they would NOT be there for the actual start of the race, once the cars pull away the team mechanics run across the tracks or negotiate the pit-lane wall to go to their crew stations in the pit lane.

    1. jump to minute 4.30 in the video. ;)

    2. Keith said, “The start is at 4’30 in the video above.”

      As far as the video, there was a little movement. But as long as he didn’t break the timing beam, it’s okay. This was a somewhat regular occurrence in the past, but was rarely publicized because there was no YouTube to post such videos on.

    3. What are you talking about ?
      Take a better look at the video please, before you SCREAM IT IS NOT THE START !

      Anyway… Quite a poor footage of the start. He missed both Massa and Petrovs’s mistakes !

    4. That PhD obviously wasn’t in Observation or Reading Comprehension, then! :P

      1. Ha! You absolutely must be given a PhD in Observation for that! Hilarious!

    5. Oh my god Dr. Christopher Wood……. Your the guy who pretends to be a paramedic on your facebook and pretends to work at cadwell park arnt you! hahaha, i’ve had a run in with you before. You know nothing about anything. Dont soil this perfectly formed blog with your presence…. believe nothing this man says, he lives in a dream world. (p.s. do you know its illegal to impersonate a paramedic or a doctor?)

  8. I can see it but it’s very slight, it’s a lot easier to see if you maximise the video to full screen.

  9. Nothing to do with this subject, but I am sure that on the live coverage one of the tail-end teams was very late in removing the tyre-warmers and getting everyone off the grid before the parade lap. Unfortunately we only saw it once and it wasn’t commented on at the time, but it was a way down the grid, on the left hand side (as seen from the cockpit – i.e. the side closest to the grandstands) and looked like either a Force India (Liuzzi?) or an HRT.

    Anyone else spot it? And do we know if it was picked up by race control or not?

    1. I did spot that, but I think it was okay. As I recall, team personnel are allowed on the grid until 15 seconds before the start of the formation lap (that is, when there is only one red light on the overhead gantry). There were definitely still two lights illuminated when the guys finally got off the grid.

  10. I think I remember one of the drivers talking about this slight roll forward that I saw in the video, like they released a break or something as part of the start sequence and it rolls the car a bit. Not a big deal but you wonder why the FIA’s computers don’t pick these things up.

  11. I see nothing wrong here, just a slight movement, perhaps releasing the brake a bit ? I’ve seen many such occasions in the past, just there was no video sites to publish them. Anyway, there’s a FIA telemetry, so don’t bother. Alonso did a bad start, as opposed to Kubica, which appeared to be on the clean side of the track, but nevertheless, the race was kinda boring … Maclaren totally out of pace, with just Alonso being able to keep with the flexible wings …

    1. McLaren totally off the pace? Did you not see Hamilton catching Alonso and the RBs once on harder tyres. Without gearbox problems Lewis would deffinatly have been third if not challenging for the win.
      McL have a very good chance of winning the remaining races even with RBs illegal flexing wings.

    2. When Vettel decided to have a little fun trying to set the fastest lap, do you know what Button fastest lap is? FYI, Vettel fastest lap is 1:33.653, Button fastest lap is 1:33.529. Of course Webber got the fastest lap of the race doing 1:33.474. So I don’t think McLaren is totally out of pace. If Hamilton can get in front of Button, I think he can keep up with the Bulls and Alonso. Probably Button couldn’t keep up with the Bulls because he is on a different strategy (which obviously didn’t work).
      McLaren probably couldn’t really match RB pace, but certainly they can match Alonso pace.

      1. Button fastest lap is 1:33.529

        Button had fresher, softer tyres on. Definitely not comparing like with like.

  12. Rosberg (not showing in the video) moved a nanometer forward too.

  13. illegal flexing wings.

    Change the record. Those wings have been passed legal by FIA scrutineers at every race, despite the load tests having been increased.

    1. This was a reply to ben bailey above (11/10/10; 2:30pm), obviously.

      1. I haven’t been caught by speeding checks lately. Guess I’m never speeding then.

    2. dyslexicbunny
      11th October 2010, 15:47


      I think that it’s violating the spirit of the rules but like you said, it passes the tests and is legal. People can whine until they are blue in the face but unless FIA catches it in the inspections, it races.

      I do think the technology behind it is fantastic. That’s why composite are amazing.

    3. Andy why were the tests revised in the first place, could it be that the FIA actually wanted to enforce the flexible bodywork rules?

      RB6 China

      RB6 Japan

      The tests clearly are not fit for purpose and need to look at another approach, increasing load in this regard has made little – if any – difference.

      1. F1 teams always work this way, their motto could be “get round the rules!”.
        And i believe that some of the smartest solutions were born in this manner, from Brabham’s Fan Car to F-duct.

      2. The application of the rules is determined by the load tests – it was ever thus. The FIA has in the past altered load tests to make a previously legal part illegal, such as Ferrari’s flexi-floor in 2007. If the tests have been modified and the part still passes, that’s a pretty good indication it’s legal.

  14. I think he sort of “shuddered”, staying in the same position. If he had moved even slightly forward the sensors would have detected it and he would have been penalised.

  15. Regards the load test on the RBR cars, the load tested is only 100kg but it’s when the RBR is going faster witha load of 200kg is when they flex, so the Fia would need to increase their load test to 200kg before it would confirm or denie that the RBR front wing actually flexis!!!

    As regards Vettles jump start, any movement in the start lane before the lights go out, is against the rules as it’s classed as a rolling start, which they’re not allowed to do, so if McLaren get a hold of this, they may well report it to the Stewards for the next race!!!

  16. Tis all over now, so why all the bickering the sensors reckon the start was ok

    1. It’s not “bickering” and I’m not saying he should have got a penalty. It’s a point of interest. Vettel is a championship contender and yesterday’s race winner and here’s a moment when he came incredibly close to picking up a penalty which would have wrecked his race and championship hopes.

      1. But don’t you understand, its the sensors that decide wether it was a false start, not the spectators.

        1. dyslexicbunny
          11th October 2010, 15:50

          Actually David, they called me and asked me what I thought. Even though I watched the race about 10 hours later and they couldn’t go back to fix it. They care that much about what I think!

          Don’t put your trust in gizmos.

          1. GIZMO’s why bother to use them then !
            I am not a Sebastien supporter, really dont have a lot of respect for the ‘cocky’ bugger. Yes he is a very fast driver, but this does not mean that is a very good driver. I think that he is prone to making mistakes especially when racing in close proximity to others, he is good when out front.

          2. dyslexicbunny
            11th October 2010, 16:35

            HTML needs a sarcasm tag. I was joking about gizmos. F1 needs them but just not something like the video game wing.

            Oh I don’t like him either. I hate the Vettel finger. He’s cocky and never seems to own up to his mistakes without being coached. He seems to struggle in passing people. It feels like he needs to lose a close WDC a couple of seasons to bring him down a peg or two and see if he can bounce back.

            Just winning because you were in front doesn’t make you a good driver when you have the best equipment. Let’s look to see how he does if Red Bull has an off season or two in the future.

    2. Well is it another rules versus spirit issue? Of course you don’t jump the start if you are not past your line when the lights go out; but you get a real advantage if your clutch is in, or if you are just rolling, at the moment of the start. I don’t like this apparent new style of the rolling start. Maybe that’s what everyone did before YouTube but its dirty pool.

  17. Dyslexic B….. who are they ?

    1. dyslexicbunny
      11th October 2010, 16:37

      Oh, I was just making things up. I actually really agree with you on it. But I like the spectators deciding idea and ran with it. As I mentioned in other reply, HTML needs sarcasm tags.

      1. Fair comment DyslexicB…….makes me happy to see i am not the only one who feels like this about Vettel. And can you guess what i would like to do with that bloody finger !

  18. So, will this video get taken down since it recorded the official FOM images by aiming the camera at the giant screens? As if they need a reason for takedowns…

  19. “He is good when out front” just a tiny pinch of sarcasm !

    1. Damning with faint praise, as they say.

  20. The Suzuka start-finish straight is a little bit downhill, so the cars will really move without the brakes on.

    1. Ok fair comment, but did they all move ?

      1. Yeah, got me thinking about it too. This is speculation on my part, but maybe Vettel was experimenting whether the car will stay stationary without the brakes on? I mean, if that was a GT car (Although Super GT has rolling starts in Suzuka and elsewhere), for sure it will move, but the F1 car is much lighter, so maybe he was thinking of releasing the brakes before starting. Must be harder to step on the brakes while preparing for the start?

  21. So was it a jump start from Vettel or not?

  22. No

    (comment was too short) :D:D

  23. doesn’t look like a jump start, cars generally move a little at the start when they select first gear before lights out.

    1. There appears to be so many different opinions. That i am convinced we have to rely on the sensors to give a fair and unbiased reading as to wether there is a jump start or not.

      1. I agree that we should just rely on the sensors, based on different opinions. Although Massa’s Belgian GP comes to mind.


  24. The car doesn’t move, apart from the initial select first gear which all drivers go through. The only way to fully prove it is onboard and sensors and then you can see with your own eyes.

    Unlike Alonso which was blatantly obvious he moved 1 tenth of a second before lights out, so if vettel jumped it would have to be much slower because it isn’t obvious.

    1. I agree that 1/10th of a second is not much. Vettel even won the pole by less than that.

  25. What is the rule? If you jump start & then gain a advantage by making places then you are penalized but you are ok if you don’t make up places.

    1. No, because Fisi once made a false start and got a drive-through despite having lost a place instantly (if that’s a criteria for gaining advantage).

    2. Obviously no, otherwise the pole sitter could jump every time without gaining a place as he is in front.

  26. Mark ! i think you have the answer. Vettel could have moved, but in that split second of time before the lights went out, was stationary. Not being a Vettel supporter i would have liked it proven otherwise and a drive thro penalty imposed. But we have to be fair and decisive especially at this critical stage of the season.
    Come on Mark Webber !

    1. I had a look at the actual rules and there is surprisingly little relevant to ‘jump starts’.

      In 38.9 it says “When the cars come back to the grid at the end of the formation lap, they will stop on their respective grid positions, keeping their engines running. There will be a standing start, the signal being given by means of lights activated by the permanent starter. 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.”

      There is nothing in there about where they have to be positioned in their grid box, nothing about them not being allowed to move. The only reference is that “there will be a standing start” and so one assumes that only applies to them being stationary at the moment the lights go out and in between they can move forward within their grid box as much as they like.

      Maybe Vettel was trying to twitch Webber into making a jump start a bit like the way 100m runners do ? :)

      1. Nah ! Vettel would’nt do anything like that to his team mate !

  27. Just for fun, every driver should jump the start at the same race. The stewards would really have a headache!

    1. dyslexicbunny
      12th October 2010, 13:43

      Hey, don’t you put out any crazy ideas.

      And if you really want the stewards’ heads to ache, every driver should get out as soon as the lights come on and sprint an entire lap before getting back in their cars.

    2. Yes then see them all get a drive thro penalty……..wooooooooooo hoooo what fun.

  28. No, it was a perfect start just like the way he drove the entire race ;)

    1. The only time he is safe is when he is out in front, amongst other cars then lookout, he is bloody dangerous !

  29. Senna used to do it all the time. Any karters will tell you that momentum on the wheels makes a huge difference at those low speeds.. Check it out

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