Should the Korean Grand Prix have started sooner?

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

The Korean Grand Prix got off to a late start after heavy rain – and drivers were divided over how soon the race should have got underway.

After three laps behind the safety car the race start was suspended and the cars sat on the grid for half an hour as they waited for the rain to ease.

They spent another 14 laps behind the safety car before the green flag was finally waved.

By the time the race had begun they had spent almost as long behind the safety car as they had at Fuji in 2007, where 19 laps were spent in safety car conditions.

But some drivers felt the conditions were adequate to go racing in. Not least of which Lewis Hamilton, who was on the grid at Fuji three years ago and said the conditions were no worse than what they had a previous races:

The track is fine, the visibility is good. I have three cars in front of me and I can see.
Lewis Hamilton

While Hamilton was keen to see the race start – and maximise his championship advantage – Mark Webber was urging the organisers not to start the race.

Robert Kubica, who potentially had less of a vested interested, also said the conditions were too dangerous.

It is likely that because the track was laid only recently, water was not draining very well through the tarmac. Jenson Button added another reason for the visibility problems:

Because of the way the track is with the walls and the stands the water isn’t going anywhere.
Jenson Button

Do you think the race should have started sooner? Should race control pay attention to what drivers who have a vested interest in the result have to say about the conditions? Have your say before.

Should the race have started sooner?

  • Yes, it should have started sooner (79%)
  • No, it started at the right time (19%)
  • No, it should have started later (1%)
  • No, it should have been abandoned (2%)

Total Voters: 2,286

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131 comments on “Should the Korean Grand Prix have started sooner?”

  1. Of course it should have started sooner. They are F1 drivers, not amateurs :(

    1. Apostolos Prodromou
      24th October 2010, 13:01

      Yes but despite that a lot of drivers got of the track during the whole race. But i also believe it should have starter few laps earlier.

    2. Like amateur i race in worst conditions!!!!!

    3. As a Vettel fan. I’m going to say yes :P

      1. yes,right,it should have started early.
        being vettel fan,i was upset.
        i still feel sad about the incident.

    4. the problem was if someone spun on the straight it was going to get colected and could have been some fatalities or it could it end up like belgium 98

    5. William Wilgus
      25th October 2010, 3:49

      Amateur or not, the issue is safety: visibility problems from the spray and aqua-planning problems from ‘standing water’. If you can’t see the tack, you can’t stay on it. Those at the back have the worst problem with spray. If the water is too deep, the cars will become ‘boats’—regardless of how good the rain tires might be. Those at the front have the worst problem with that.

      See how fast YOU want to drive the next time you get caught in heavy rain.

      1. To be fair during the BBC f1 forum Button said that there was no problem with aquaplaning, even when they first went out. Apparently the problem was that there was a solid film of water on the surface (partly due to the oil from the asphalt I suspect), no more than an inch thick, but covering the entirety of the track. Apparently the wet tires had no problems displacing the amount of water there was on the track.

        As for the spray it can cause problems, but once they’re at racing speeds you’d be surprised how quickly it will clear up. If they’d started sooner I have no doubt that it would have cleared up sooner

        1. William Wilgus
          25th October 2010, 19:41

          You’re right that it would have cleared up faster at racing speeds, BUT:

          Whether or not Aquaplaning occurs with any given tread pattern and depth is primarily a function a function of vehicle SPEED and tire (air) pressure. The lower the pressure, the lower the speed at which it occurs. While aquaplaning reportedly was not a problem at the safety car’s speed, it might have been at ‘racing’ speeds. Further, while higher speeds would have helped the track dry faster due to spray, the higher speeds would have also caused the spray to be heavier and rise higher—prolonging the amount of time it would have been ‘airborne’.

          1. William Wilgus
            25th October 2010, 20:05

            You can find more information on Wikipedia:


            Note that it states that: 1) the wider the tire, the lower the speed at which it occurs, and 2) the lower the tire pressure, the lower the speed at which it occurs. I believe racing tires are run at quite low temperatures. (There’s a formula for the latter in the ‘aircraft’ section of the entry.)

          2. Erm, you’re seriously not helping your case here. The faster they go the higher the pressure will be in the tire, so as they travel at higher speeds it won’t be a problem. And you seriously think racing tires run cold? The reason they have so much grip is because they’re sticky ie. on the verge of melting. Granted they melt at lower temperatures to road tyres, but they’re still a pretty high temperature.

            But that makes no difference since the water depth was LESS than the tyre tread depth (“Hydroplaning occurs when a tire encounters more water than it can dissipate” – taken from your wiki article).

            As for the spray, you’re right it would be higher, but thats not an issue. In fact its a good thing as more of the water will leave the confines of the track. You do know the drivers don’t care about visibility above them right?

          3. William Wilgus
            26th October 2010, 2:06

            Reply to SKETT’s reply to me below:

            No, racing car tire pressure doesn’t increase with speed / heat because the use an ‘inert’ gas, often Nitrogen or a Nitrogen-based mixture that doesn’t expand with temperature; therefore, tire pressure remains the same. As you noted, what they’re heating up is the tire ‘rubber’ itself. The reason for doing so is that a tire’s adhesion (or traction, if you prefer) is maximum at specific higher than ambient temperature temperatures. (That’s why drag racers do a ‘burn-out. By the way, the so-called ‘wrinkle wall’ slicks used by the top drag racing classes are only inflated to 3–4 P.S.I. I’ve a friend that races dirt tracks. He pressurizes his tires to about 7 P.S.I. with Nitrogen.)

            Yes, “Hydroplaning occurs when a tire encounters more water than it can dissipate”. But water is NOT COMPRESSIBLE. At high enough speeds hitting the water is just like hitting cured concrete and there’s insufficient time for the tread to channel the water away. (I saw the video of a water skier who fell just after setting the speed record for water skiing at 122 M.P.H. He bounced off of the water 4 or 5 times before he slowed down enough to displace the water and sink in.)

            The issue of higher spray is that it will remain in the air longer.

          4. Whats drag racers got to do with it? Of course they run drag racers with low tyre pressures because it’ll increase the grip and drag racers have so much power that the increased drag is negligable.

            Also nitrogen does expand with temperature, just less so that air. Nitrogen is used because it is dry and therefore has a much smaller expansion range than air, as well as it being consistent (as the water content of air is not always the same).

            And yes, I know water is not compressible, again a moot point since the water doesn’t need to compress if it has somewhere to go (ie. the tread is deep enough). The incompressibility of water is what causes the aquaplaning in the first place. But as I already stated, they were not having problems with it because the tyres were capable of dissipating the water!

          5. William Wilgus
            27th October 2010, 18:14

            If Nitrogen is only used because it is ‘dry’, then why not used Oxygen? The amount of expansion / compression exhibited by Nitrogen is so small that it is considered to be non-existent. Oxygen—which is dry—certainly is compressible and expands and contracts with temperature variations. Regarding the other part of your reply, it certainly looks to me like you hoist yourself with your own petard regarding the compressibility of water and failure to acknowledge that speed is a direct contributing factor to aquaplaning. The tread has to be able to move the water out of the way fast enough to be effective. Since water is not compressible, speed is a factor in aquaplaning. If aquaplaning was not a problem at the speeds driven behind the safety car, it could well have been a huge problem at higher speeds.

        2. An inch of water? That’s 25.4mm. It seems unlikely to me. Normal road cars can aqua plane when there is a 6mm (1/4 inch) film depth of water. Therefore I’d be surprised if F1 cars could handle a film depth of 25.4mm, given that the depth of tread on a road tyres appears to be much more than the depth of tread on a Formula 1 wet weather tyre. If they can Bridgestone are making some awesome tyres.

          As for oil and asphalt. Asphalt is a concrete made from bitumen, and aggregate (small rocks). Bitumen is made from crude oil and is a liquid, just a very thick one (so to the normal eye it appears to be a solid). Sometimes different modifiers can be added to the asphalt to change the properties, to make it suit different purposes. Anyway, the point is that all asphalt surfaces have oil on them because they are essentially made from oil. The other point is that regardless of the age of the asphalt it shouldn’t affect the depth of the water film on it by much. If anything the depth of a water film on a new pavement should probably be a little bit less (maybe by like 0.5mm) than an older pavement, because the newer pavement is smoother. The final point is that the purpose of the wearing surface of the pavement, which is the part that vehicles drive on and is usually asphalt, is to water proof the structural part of the pavement under the wearing course, or the part that gives the pavement it’s strength. So water on the pavement should never penetrate the wearing course, unless the pavement is failing, that’s why the circuits have a cross slope on them to allow the water to run off onto the verge, or into drainage pits.

          1. Interesting stuff, Pinball. But surely the amount of downforce an F1 car generates compared to a road car plays beneficial role?

          2. Fair enough, I was talking from memory of what Button said, can’t say I’m an expert on asphault (though I did think it seemed like a lot when he said it but maybe he was exagerating). Lets face it Button’s hardly an expert either, nor was he in a position to really give an accurate amount. But both he and Hamilton said that there had been absolutely no problems with aquaplaning so I guess there was less water.

            Thanks for the info

          3. I agree that I don’t think aqua planning would have been a problem. Just from watching on TV it didn’t appear that generally there was that much water on the circuit, except for a few isolated areas where was some localised ponding. I think low visibility from spray was the main problem, which I think maybe the FIA needs to look at solving, somehow. I think the spray issue is a solvable issue.

  2. I’m going to say yes but it is a question of a few laps earlier for me.

    1. Agreed, I think about 5 laps earlier at the most. I think they just hung on to see if the comparatively reasonable conditions stuck.

  3. Brundle took back his comments on the F1 Forum but I still think had they been let loose the standing water would have been cleared after a few laps. I know there’s a safety aspect but they could have gone a few laps earlier.

  4. I voted yes, but I think because they got the equation between rain/daylight wrong. They should have started it a bit sooner to avoid the lack of daylight, because that did look really dark in the last few laps.

  5. My view is that races should never be started behind the safety car. If it’s too dangerous to race, it’s too dangerous to race. So delay the start until it’s considered safe.

    I’d sooner have an abandoned race where no-one gets points than one where points are awarded on the basis of qualifying, which is essentially what we’d get if the whole race was run behind the safety car.

    But on this specific question, they could have pulled in the safety car a lap after the restart and it would have made little difference. Cars running at full speed would have dried out the track relatively quickly.

    1. I agree I don’t like starts behind the SC. I think they’re more dangerous for spray. I do think a few laps behind the SC can be good to suss out the conditions but not to run a race behind.

      1. If it is spray they are concerned with, the safety car only amplifies the situation! With a standing start the cars would have not been going too fast by the time they had reached turn 1, hence there would be far less spray. And it wouldn’t have made any difference to the visibility from turn 2 to turn 3 whether it was a rolling start or not! But I do understand we had exceptional conditions today with the oily surface, but the argument about spray being the reason for an SC start is complete nonsense in my honest opinion.

        1. If you have a “racing” start, then spray or no spray the drivers will be hurling it up the inside trying to get an advantage.

          As it was, the wet tyres and aerodynamics of the cars suck the water off the track and blow it into the air – usually this helps clear it quickly, but as Jenson said the walls kept it in here more than other locations.

          FWIW I think the start was about right. As soon as it stops raining and the problem isn’t getting worse, then it’s time to get the cars going.

          NASCAR doesn’t race in the wet – it would have been a disaster (albeit comedy gold) if the track had been finished, the race had been put on, and then it got cancelled because it rained :D

    2. I completely agree. Either start the race properly or delay the start completely. What on earth is the point of starting behind a safety car when it is still raining?

      1. Obviously no one really likes seeing a race started behind the safety car but I think when the conditions were as bad as they were today it was the right thing to do, Keeping it out for 14 laps was a bit too far but running for say.. 5 or 6 laps max behind it would be good to just clear some of the water off the track so that its safe enough for them to go full speed and properly dry it out. But i completely agree that spending half the race behind the safety car and then getting points awarded on that basis would have been absolutely ridiculous!

      2. starting behind safetycar is the most boring and pointless start an f1 race can ever made. at some point there were a few cleaning trucks there which could have wiped the tract pretty well and we all could have a proper start in let’s say 30 minutes time, anyways after the cars entered in race like speed the track quickly become usable, so very poor decision were maid for this start, at least in my opinion

    3. I agree. When the provisions for only awarding any points after 2 laps, and only full points after 75% of the laps were written, it was done so on the basis that they would be racing laps. The writers of those regulations never intended anyone to get points for running behind a SC.

      The clear intention was that points only be awarded for racing, not qualifying, and running around in qualifying order behind a pace car is NOT racing.

      1. In fact, if I were given the job of tidying up the regulations so that the outcome matched the intention, the 2 lap and 75% lap limits would apply only to green-flag laps. So, in a race like this, where more than a quarter of it was run under SC, they would only have got half points.

        1. I agree with your idea.

        2. Makes perfect sense. Time behind the SC is just not racing, it is a suspension of racing, that’s the whole point!

          1. You could argue that the rolling restart is a separate skill and being able to either protect your position or gain places in that situation – repeatedly sometimes – is a skill that should be rewarded with the full points…

          2. The restarts would count.

    4. Starting a race behind the safety car allows the cars to help dry the track in a controlled fashion. Just sitting and waiting will take longer to dry the track, and simply starting the race is too dangerous. I’m not willing to see one of my favourite drivers die just so I can watch the race start on time.

      1. F1 cars are not street sweepers. If they need to clear water off then they need to find a better way of doing it.

        1. Yes, they could do that. The IMS uses track vehicles, for instance, but they don’t have cars sitting on the actual track. To do something similar F1 would need to change how pre-race works. By using the cars the drivers get a feel for the conditions as well as helping to dry the track, or at least reduce standing water. I think it works well.

  6. Maybe start it a little sooner (or restart it) but defo shouldnt have been behind the saftey car as long.

  7. hamilton asked a question. Does anyone say that it is still to much rain?

    It is a rain GP they dont know that?

    Pepole in the back have worse visibility? It’s normal in a rain GP

    1. totally agree. normal rain race would be…

    2. “if it´s dry, wet, or snow on the track, someone will be faster and someone slowler, but is the same track for all, let´s race” Gilles Villeneuve.

      1. Golden words!

        comment too short

  8. The simple fact wet tyres are taken to the gp means they can be used in the event if it is wet. Why pussy foot behind the safety car?

    As for redbull, perhaps they knew Vettel’s engine was about to go so told him to complain and stop the race, taking full points.

  9. Maybe one or two laps sooner ber gut generally no.

    The track didn’t look water logged like Malaysia but it was an oily track and there was a layer of water. The track wasn’t great to begin with and when Charlie makes the call he’s to an extent taking resposibility for the driver’s safety. There’s always spray and light issues but I agreed with Brundle that the track surface anyway was probably the issue.

    The problem was the politics I feel. The drivers were ridiculously. I actually got quite sick of RBR, Mclaren and Ferrari. Lewis was saying he just wanted to race but he had absolutely no choice because of where he was in the title. The RBR’s and Ferrari were saying th exact opposite because of their position. I would have done the same but Charlie’s got them all breathing down his neck with some saying it’s safe, some saying it’s the most atrocious conditions ever. I just didn’t believe that they were genuine so how could Charlie make a decision?

    They maybe missed a trick. If they’d have started sooner before the rain came instead of that ten minute race then maybe the drivers would have just focussed on the race, we could see if their was a really big risk and then make a decision whereas this was fear of the unknown but I’m 90% happy I think. The laps under the SC maybe went on too long. It was a farce in some ways but I don’t see what else could have happened.

    1. That was annoying me too. I kind of thought it was justice that Vettel retired after trying to stop the race via his radio. Although all the drivers were doing it. Alonso was catching him and it could have been a great battle for first place, so we were robbed by Vettel’s bad luck. Anyway, I think they should reconsider whether Charlie Whiting and the race directors are allowed to hear the radio. If there is a problem so significant they should have a representative from the team argue the point with the directors rather than the nonsense we heard today. I did laugh however, when Vettel said he couldn’t see, then 2 minutes later Lewis was told to comment on the visibility, to which he replied “The visibility is fine.”

      1. The drivers should have an input because they’re out in potentially dangerous conditions and they’re the best at assessing the conditions. The problem is perhaps they have too big an influence and it’s so late in the season that the teams and drivers were kicking, screaming and throwing their toys out of their pram for Charlie to do what was in their championship interests or at least that’s how it felt.

        The drivers (or the GDPA) worked well together in Malaysia 09 but this was just as Ned said jokingly on the live blog, like a pantomine.

        1. I agree, the drivers should have a say, they are the only ones who are completely aware of the conditions, but they shouldn’t be able to have direct communication with Charlie. There should be one rep from each team that has direct comms with Charlie and thats it. Any messages from the drivers can then be relayed through. That should cut out most of the nonsense on the radio throughout the race. Although, seconds thoughts, it was a pretty good comedy!

      2. That last remark from Hamilton was McLarens way of poking Red Bull and calling their bluff, Good fun :)

      3. Even if there’s no radio, drivers can wave their arms to try and stop a race. Prost did it successfully in Monaco 84 (gave him the win, cost him the title). Senna tried it unsuccessfully in Japan 88 (but he won anyway).

        1. That’s true but if they feel it’s so bad they can always get out like Prost 89 so it’s easy to see through. The stewards have enough sense these days to stop the race abfake the decision but that type of game esp as it went on so long was annoying to listen too even if it is understandable
          Ps good knowledge for remembering those examples

          1. Anyone remember that race at Australia (89, 90?) with lot of more rain that Korea and the drivers start and race like everybody expect that they do? (Afeter 14 laps the races was suspended with Ayrton first waving his arms while before crashing with another driver. The race should be started normally (Maybe after 2 or 3 previous laps after safety car), that was no sense to spend too many laps behind SC.

  10. No, it should have been delayed until 2011. The track might have been up to the standard required for dry racing, but was nowhere near ready for a wet race.

    Which is a shame, because today’s race was artificially ‘exciting’. People will now look forward to this race next year, and when it’s as dull and boring as every other Tilke track it will still receive favour over better venues like Valencia.

    1. LOL. You are funnny.

      I agree, the race should have started sooner. These guys have raced in worse conditions in the past.

    2. Seriously, what’s with the negativity? You’ve just seen one the most dramatic races in recent memory, and all you can think about is how boring you think it would have been if it was dry.

    3. Ted Kravitz reported that Bridgestone’s Yamashima said the newly laid track did not affect rain drainage at all, it was the concrete walls so close to the track the didn’t allow the rain to dissipate.

    4. I remember Buenos Aires race at 95. First visit to the track, lot of rain on Friday, Saturday and Sunday…. minimun $$$ invested compared with Korea but the track was excellent to race…. and the FIA didn´t do any favour like the do with Korea. If simply, the track wasn´t ready to race until 2011…. and it´s one more of that broing tilke´s circuits.

  11. Who are we to say? Have any of us ever driven a F1 car in a soaked track with next to no grip. Did any of us know what the grip conditions were like? Are we responsible for the safety of the drivers, the fans and the marshalls etc?

    The answer to all of these is no. which is why its left up to the FIA and Charlie Whiting to decide.

    1. so in your opinion (that’s what we do posting here) FIA and Whiting are perfect in all their decissions. I hope u heve not been posting critics on the FIAs decission not to further penalise Ferrari after Hockenheim…

      1. Of course not, the FIA/WMSC and have never been perfect let alone consistent in their decisions, but when it comes to safety they have a very good record. Thats something they wont go tarnishing by letting a race take place when the amount of standing water creates a spray so bad that visibility is next to nothing.

        I was impatient as the next person to see some racing today but i dont think our opinions matter that much when it comes to declaring a race safe. Its always best to leave that to the professionals.

        1. if the FIA is going to far with their safety regulations, well then F1 looses all the excitement: mega-wide new circuits, getting rid ofthe old legendary tracks (hopef. not Spa), SC in weird situations and interferring with the race (Valencia).

          F1 is about brave sportsmen, about a great show to spectators… of course, of all this has to be made as safe as possible but not against the essence of this sport

          Today there has been a few crashes and wild drives (Sutil) and I honestly don’t think all this laps behind the safety havemae the race less dangerous.

          And again, we post in this blog our opinions and don’t need to have a sit on the FIA to do so

          1. Chemakal you seem to love talking complete nonsense.

            Excitement is not more important than safety. F1 drivers strap themselves into prototypes every other weekend and push as hard as they can knowing that every possible step has been taking to make sure it is as risk free as possible.

            While some drivers would have enjoyed placing their lives, and the lives of their fellow races at risk, there are race drivers who simply dont want to take that risk because it is not worth it. Each driver who did not want to race in those conditions would have been faced with two haunting options. Either they place a huge risk on their lives in order to please the corporate world, or they refuse to race and get fired (or lose points) in the process.

            The FIA were kind enough to make the right, safer decision for them, to avoid all that.

          2. Nice chat here with Julian (“who are we to say?”) and Steve (“talking complete nonsense”).
            Steve, if you reasd carefully my post “of course, of all this has to be made as safe as possible but not against the essence of this sport” I’m talking about the essence of sport, not only excitement or show.
            Is risk part of the f1 sport??? Was F1 created on the base of being a safe sport?

            After reading carefully and thinking a bit further, what I’m saying is that in my opinion the balance between the sport’s essence and safety regulations is tending towards more and more safety in detriment of the sport. As an example, every season Qualifying is more important as overtaking is almost an impossible task, due to car development regulations.

            If what we want to see is cars on rails

            Next time refute the nonsense with some real arguments…

          3. Im not sure that having drivers potentially crash into barriers/eachother due to the horrendously poor visibility is in the essence of the sport. Last i heard, F1 was about racing not crashes.

            And how is ‘who are we to say’ not a real argument. WE are viewers who see the race from our tv screens. Try to recall how bright the race looked on tv then remember the drivers saying how dark it really was. We cant tell from our tvs. The same goes for lack of visibility due to the spray from the standing water. We cant tell how good or bad the visibility is. So at the sake of sounding like a broken record, who are WE to say when WE can’t tell what the conditions are like.

            How is that not a real argument?

  12. charlie whitting should not red flag the race 3 laps after they 1st start behind safety car.

    and the drivers should just shut up and race.

    next year they should start the race in Yeongam at 2PM local time.

    1. Im fairly certain that it was raining before the Grand Prix started. Not that i dont agree with you (Malaysia would benefit too), but if todays had started at 2, whats to say that it would have been the same except for the race ended in daylight. But Bernie wants the race at 3 for max TV audiences to watch, weather doesnt appear to come into the equation.

  13. Its not my place to judge as I’m not expert and I was not there to see the true conditions.

    1. thx for your contribution…

  14. I think that Charlie could have got us going around 3 laps earlier.

  15. I think they started the race at the right time. The problem wasn’t so much the start as it was the amount of time spent behind the safety car. It should have gone in much earlier.

    I just keep thinking that if cars were allowed to run active suspension (and tweak ride height on the fly), these wet conditions would be far less of a problem.

  16. Yes, it should have started sooner. I instantly though of Japan 2007 when half the problem with the spray was the fact that the cars were bunched up behind the safety car. As soon as the cars were released and started filing out, the problem was solved.

    But I was very unimpressed at the way championship politics attempted to influence the race. If the drivers were really that concerned that the conditions were dangerous, they should have done what Alain Prost did and parked it.

    1. Also in my opinion spray was caused by the SC . Infact after 4-5 laps drivers had problem with the full wet tyres . I think that rain could be a problem also in Brazil .

      1. I say that rain could be a problem also in Brazil because at least until next sunday there is a big probability of storms !

  17. I think that part of the problem today was the safety car. It is just too slow. As a consequence:
    a) the drivers can’t warm up their tyres properly while behind the SC.
    b) when it rains, the racing line takes too much time to dry off.

    Why not try to use a formula one car (say a 2008 car, or any open-wheel car with decent speed) as a SC?

    1. I too think the Safety Car is far too slow. When its deployment leads drivers to actually have to work harder (keeping temps up), I think there is a problem.

      Trouble is, the SC’s main purpose is to slow the cars down so that the marshalls can do their job. Making it faster would kind of defeat that purpose.

      In my mind, the real problem lies with the cars and their excessive sensitivity to low speed conditions. Stuff like active suspension could help reduce that problem.

      1. @ Pedro Candeias
        I think that is one of the most powerful road car out there with all the latest safety features but agree that car seems to be slow may be Bernd Mayländer don’t wanted to spin it as he did in the practice session.

        @ Manu
        Bringing an F1 won’t help the situation as it have almost the same technical specification as a modern day F1 car have.

    2. You can’t use an open wheel car as the safety car. If that happened, then the safety car would struggle as much (possibly even more) as the F1 cars in wet conditions, which shouldn’t happen.

      Also the FIA can’t be messing around trying to look after the safety car in the same way teams look after their F1 cars. It is much easier to have a road car as the safety car, and there is nothing wrong with the current speed of the safety car.

  18. Yes they were late, they should have started the race on lap 10-12. They are some of the best 24 drivers out there we pay to watch them fight for position in difficult condition, it was better then they had race before.I don’t know why Mark was complaining Japan 07 & Italy 08 were more worst then this.

  19. Good grief. People actually voted for the race to be abandoned?!

    1. Yes, RBR people!! :D :D :D

  20. All things considered, it was the perfect time to start, they were mostly reasonably happy to go, a safety ca start is nothing new, the conditions provided drama, overtakes, crashes, cars out of position and general all round drama, and it was perfectly timed to provide a challanflging climax in darkening conditions. I guess the drivers who wanted the start pushed back couldn’t complain about the dark, it was them who forced it to that ;)

  21. Yes it should have started sooner. Every time I heard a driver say “it’s too dangerous” I thought “what a wuss”. Formula One drivers are meant to be brave, and I saw very few examples of bravery during the safety car.

  22. I voted that it should have started sooner, maybe only a few laps sooner, but still.

    I would also like to take credit for them getting underway when they did as I left the room briefly right when they did start the race…

  23. With the situation today, I say that the officials made the right decision regarding pushing back the race start. However, having said that it would seem that there is a recurring problem with wet weather, and that is spray from leading cars and the resulting low visibility, rather than lack of grip on the wet tyres. This leads me to think that F1 as a whole needs to address the spray issue, to prevent the same problems from occurring in future. I see two potential solution, the first is improve track drainage; from TV the amount of ponding I my mind was unacceptable. In theory a race track should drain fairly well; the rain should runoff the pavement and straight onto the verge, meaning no ponding on the track. Maybe there is scope for the FIA to revise track design regulations, to ensure that circuits drain better. The second solution is change the car design rules to enforce that when cars have wet tyres on that a wheel arch, or mud flap style device needs to be installed on the car to reduce the amount of spray coming from the rear. Yes it will affect aerodynamics, but it will ensure that the race can run on time, and under green flag conditions, and surely that’s what is best for the sport.

    1. You’re fogetting though that a lot of water is thrown up as spray by the aerodynamics…particularly the diffusers so limiting the amount from the tyres would only be part of the solution…

  24. I voted yes but i think if they would had started at the right time would have been better.
    This F1 drivers aren´t really like they used to be, I can remenber a few races that started with poor conditions and ended really good.
    This circuits have the best safety conditions, as the F1 cars so don´t understand why they were complaining. If some driver can´t go 200km/h then go 150 or don´t go at all.
    This drivers can´t never be compared to the older ones they´re to scared.
    It´s in extreme conditions that we see you are the best.
    A few years ago Alain Prost said that the F1 drivers are only professionals including him but now it´s even worse.
    Of course what happened in qualifying at Japan was the right call.
    One more thing, points shouldn´t be given if the race would had only 20 laps all of them beynde the safety car and also the race should be postpone to the following day.

  25. Should have started much sooner. F1 needs to revise the safety car rules for wet race starts. 24 cars at 10m per car = 240m on a track over 5000m long. Of course visibility is going to be poor when your running 24 cars line astern.

    Allow the cars to spread over the whole course so they have a better idea about visibility and can move some water of the circuit without worrying about rear ending the car in front. Then call for the cars to close up into start formation a lap or two before going green.

    The delays today seemed more about certain teams and drivers protecting their championship hopes than about safety issues.

  26. Now that vettel has used all his engines. Does he get a 10 places penalty in Brasil?

    1. Don´t think so, still have some used ones for sure like Alonso

    2. he will have to use an old engine to avoid penalty. So is doing Alonso in the last 4 or 5 races..

      I can’t understand how could Vettel blow up his engine?? No high temperatures, engine set up for rain, low rpms… and it exploded at the bottom!

      1. Maybe Vettel is like the new Johnny Herbert; Super Unlucky. To be honest, he was driving his car aggressive from the first flying lap and to the limit every lap.

        1. still the wet engine config. doesn’t push the engine to the limit. I’d understand a driving mistake being so agressive, but it really seems very strange to me that failure. No strange conspirancies behind these words… just RBRs reliability is a ???

    3. He still have some good engine which are healthy & have done less mileage on them.

  27. Yes maybe it could of been started a few laps earlier and maybe Pirelli could work on a alternative/better wet tyre for next year, so there is less debate like in the last 2 races. Maybe would could have a support group where Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May drive round in production cars with really wide tyres clearing water from the track or Eddie Jordan in a truck with a squeegee? All possibilities. I think the organizers, the race directors, teams and drivers all deserve credit for making such a spectacle happen. Great track, great race and as this season has produced another unpredictable result. Can wait till they return to Korea next year.

  28. Started at the right time i feel.

    However, as my work shedules have been crazy this weekend, i had to put the race on my Sky+ (delaying the live feed for me to watch it so i can get some decent sleep) and with the race switching to BBC2 i lost the last half hour or so of the race and will now have to find a download so i can watch it tomorrow.

    1. Alonso first :-)

  29. The race should have been started much earlier, with the option not to race like alain Prost. I doubt webber would have said its too dangerous then lol

  30. The track was almost in INTERMEDIATE territory when the race was started. Wet tyres are for wet conditions…
    Maybe they were protecting some teams who aren’t quit comfortable in the wet.

  31. Started at the right time for mind. They continued on for 10+ laps with full wets after the SC pulled in, which as we know go south in a hurry if it is too dry. Kubica, who gave the only comment we heard from an impartial source, also said it was too dangerous.

  32. I think they should have been let loose 5 laps or so earlier. They would have had more luck letting 24 F1 cars loose at racing speed to clear the water than leaving the safety car out for so long. The conditions were bad, but they were driveable when the safety car did come in, so therefore were almost certainly driveable after 3 or 4 laps behind the safety car at the second race start.

  33. It should of started a few laps earlier probably, but SAFETY is key in F1 and if one driver had a serious accident, Charlie would of had a lot of explaining to do. It started when it did, when it was perfectly safe for the drivers to do so and so was probably the right time to start.

    1. If safety is the key on F1 they should´t go to that track at all!!! It had more walls than “The Glen”!!!! and less escape vias!!!!

      1. yep, scalextric circuit from next year on, no more rain tyres, just driving in sunny days allowed. In fact, they should do drivers alike robots that would sit in the car and the drivers control them from boxes… that would be really safe

  34. I would rather suggest poll Whether the race started so late should be kept so long?! It was dark at the end- this was completly irrespnsoble- again money and spectacle were more important the drivers’ safety. If they care about them and made start late and under SC then why later allowed racing at the dusk? When there are clouds and rainy then less light comes- it is not the same like racing at sunset in Melbourne in dry and sunny day!

  35. I think the appropriate question should have been if the race should have been started under SC.

    My answer for both questions is No.

  36. The reason every1 was saying it was so dangerous to start is because it was. With freshly laid tarmac and the thin layer of resing floating above it, there was no where for the water to seep into. Having said that, I personally think they should have stopped whinging and got on with the racing and of course the buck stops with Charlie Whiting. Health and safety…boh…this is a dangerous sport, if the drivers are scared of having an accident they shouldnt be in the cars in the first place….as for Hamilton we all know why he wanted to race…his Mclaren has always had a better performance than any1 else in the wet. He was continuously asking for the race to begin even citing that he would be almost prepared to go onto inters. It was actually a wird thing to say given that at the restart he seemed to be the driver struggling most and getting overtaken immediately by rosberg on ….ermmm..full wets!!!

  37. wong chin kong
    24th October 2010, 13:39

    Yes, the race should start sooner. The tyres were extreme wet tyres and should able to cope with heavy rain. Race organisers should not let God and sissy drivers decide when to start the race. Lay out the rules and conditions to start the race in heavy rain for all to comply so as to avoid further controversies in the future.

  38. YES….if that wasnt wet conditions then i dont know what is….when it first started they should have done a few laps with the safety car and then start not stop and then restart…

  39. Hamilton has a death wish. It was clearly unsafe to have started any earlier, as any impartial person (e.g. Kubica) would agree.

  40. Wait for more rain? The race should have started on time. The longer they waited the wetter the track got.

    It’s really a no brainer.

    Hamilton has a death wish. It was clearly unsafe to have started any earlier, as any impartial person (e.g. Kubica) would agree.

    Hamilton doesn’t have a death wish. He’s just confident of what he can do in the rain.

  41. At the first start, I could see why they wanted to red flag the race. It was as bad as Fuji ’07. But by the second restart, the track had far less standing water, and even some damp lines began to appear on the track. The race should have been restarted after lap 7, not lap 17.

  42. The decission was taken for safety reasons… it’s by far more safe to drive in the dark on a wet track rather than starting sooner in similar rain conditions to when it actually started… Charlie concentrate on your job, drivers opinions over the radio are not objective

  43. Younger Hamilton
    24th October 2010, 18:04

    I dont care if it started later or sooner what mattered for me is a fantastic race,incredible action and a McLaren Victory or good result and i’ve got it plus these things happen and they’ve happened today we cant predict and say if it should have started earlier

  44. I was at the race and we could not believe how long they kept the safety car out. Was it slippery? Sure, but take a look at who thrived and who failed. Alonso, Hamilton (even Massa), Schumi, Rubens, – the vets did fine. This race separated the men from the boys. If you can’t handle the light rain that fell today, you are not of true championship caliber.

  45. I was in Stand F. That part of the track didn’t seem very wet at all. Overall, I’ve seen MUCH wetter races start just fine.

    1. Amazing, Keirdre – I was in F as well! As you see from my preceding remark, we saw things the same way!

  46. I hope the media slates F1 for its pathetic showing today (although the race was eventually quite good)

    It was an embarrassment that the sport should hope to avoid. This would have not happened just a few years ago, let alone during the 80’s or whatever.

    It’s getting worse and worse.

  47. L Hamilton, the only true racer, was spot on in calling it a go. These drivers are becoming a bit of pain with all the safety excuses.
    I have been watching F1 for many years and the Korea circuit was just fine.
    The condition were more hazardous at the end with darkness descending than the initial rain.
    I am excited… no! I AM A FANATIC, about this championship aren’t we all?

    1. Well, if L Hamilton is the only true racer, maybe they should make a championship just for himself.

      Personally I consider Robert Kubica as much of a true racer as anyone, and he wasn’t happy with starting the race. I value his opinion a lot more than the RBR’s or Hamilton’s, as he had no obvious bias.

      Had the situation arisen a few GP’s back when Hamilton was on top, would he have said the same?. Maybe, but I’m not sure.

  48. We have all seen wet races before. However rightly or wrongly we are in a more safety conscious era, where promoters may be under different health and safety guidelines. Firstly new tracks particularly must have better drainage. 

    It is going to continue to rain in the future, and as f1 travels east we may well get more and more seriously wet races. If we want to see racing in the wet then we have to move away from regulations that depend so heavily on aerodynamic grip that only kicks in at high speed, and create so much spray. Some suggestions were made by a couple of people earlier. How about a regulation which allows charlie to declare a race as ‘extreme wet’ where:
    – mud flaps of some nature have to be fitted
    – extra weights are added to improve downforce?!
    – super wet tyres are used
    – teams are allowed to adjust wing setup etc

    I’m not an engineer so some of the above maybe nonsense, but it crazy and embarrassing that the worlds fastest sport can’t cope with rain. All that cash and technology and yet you might be quicker in a 10 year old Audi tt or similar.

    1. If they don’t bring in some sort of super wet tyre for next year, that will be a total farce. That at least should be the minimal response, after the happenings at Suzuka. That still may not be enough, however, because of the dependence on aerodynamic grip, as you said, and the answer in that case must be to bring more of a balance of mechanical grip to these cars. Bigger rear tyres and wider cars seem a sensible solution to that problem.

      However, changing the regulations takes time. The carmakers have already designed their cars for 2011… and possibly are working on the 2012 cars already… the FIA needs to get its finger out and do something about it quickly.

      I fear that in some ways Bernie is too old and phlegmatic to do anything about this. From observing him for years, I think I know how his mind works, and think in his mind he thinks “Sure, it looked like the race was going to be cancelled for a while, but we got one in the end… so we’re okay” That’s not good enough. Two grand prix in a row now, we have tuned in at early hours, only to be greeted with delays, and no on-track action.

      If the future of the sport is, as Bernie says, in Asia, where it is often very wet, it’s going to be a severely stunted future because of European computer engineers who refuse to compromise, and continue to design F1 cars in a self-indulgent, virtual reality fantasy world where it never rains. Bernie should really think about that, and start thinking about doing something to make them compromise.

  49. I haven’t seen other comments but I have no doubt that the race should have started sooner. Or better said, the 14 laps behind the SC was way too much and it almost looked like a stupidty.
    For me there’s no better proof of that than after only 2 laps after the SC cleared, drivers were pitting for intermediates.

    There’s no way the track was “too dangerous” on lap 17 and then good for intermediates on lap 19.

    I was amazed at listen to radio transmissions from some pilots just prior to the information that the SC was coming in, saying the conditions were the same as the start! Even looking in a online stream it was clear that the visibility was way better and also the cars were driven faster and much closer to each other. It was also very clear the Vettel was right behind Maylander’s Mercedes.
    There was ony one reason for the cars to be going quicker, and closer to each other – the conditions were better.

    I would sya the decision to stop the race after 3 laps, and wait some minutes was good, but 14 laps behind the SC was just ridiculous!

  50. I think that it started just in the correct moment, since after the race was finished just 5 minutes later the sun went down, so the timing was perfect.

  51. IMO, the race should have started as normal – so what if it rains? It’s part of the sport and that’s why drivers are highly paid because of the risks involved. If they’re too chicken to drive, either slow down and get out of the way or park the car in the pits and let everyone else race.

  52. I think the race could have and should have started sooner, but despite this I still rate this grands prix as one of the best so far in 2010. You could hear the frustration and at times pressure in some of the drivers voices in the radio transmissions. You had drivers making mistakes, some who were fighting for the championship and some who were fighting to save their careers.
    I may not be Fernando Alonso’s or Ferrari’s biggest fan, especially after Germany, but the Spaniard impressed the hell out of me today. He was simply flawless, and you cannot take that away from him. He looks very very comfortable in the Ferrari, and the victory in Korea for me was among one of his very best.
    This sport really comes alive when the conditions are bad, and the truly great drivers always come to fore.

    1. Sometimes being flawless is not enough. Seb Vettel was flawless too. Or maybe he pushed too much, but I doubt it.

      The Webber and Hamilton stories are different. They made mistakes and paid for it.

      Fernando took the blame for the bad pitstop, but I’m not sure it was his fault.

      And Button’s driving was not as bad as it seemed to be. It was the strategic call that was horrid. But my guess is that it was the team’s fault, not his.

  53. I bet that nobody from the forum have driven behind car that sends hundreds of liters of water to his visor, with 160 km/h. So, absolutely no rubber on the track – washed out by the rain, low visibility – of course it should’ve started later – but it was OK. We don’t need more Senna, right ?

  54. Yes, if only a few laps sooner. I think they were being perhaps a little too cautious. Nevertheless a brilliant race though.

  55. i lost a lot of respect for a few drivers yesterday except lewis who i tend to dislike if i’m honest. as brundle said it sets a precedent i’ve not missed a race live for 10years actually 12 and if this is the way its going to be when its wet then whats the point?

    if the designers had one thought of compromise when designing these cars it would help a lot, but at the end of the day whether the limit through a corner is 10mph or 100mph that is the limit you drive to that limit these guys are not idiots but they dont want to risk crashing in these conditions. let them go and see all the decent drivers keep it on the black stuff the vast majority of the time,.

    i’m sorry F1 is not safe its part of the game let them get on with it, yesterday i was embarrassed actually embarrassed to justify that to my watching girlfriend it was a shambles. Until 3 years ago I raced karts every other weekend i have driven down straights where you can see nothing all the drivers have countless times it just doesn’t wash.

    Rant over.

  56. You know when they build new tracks? Why doesn’t anyone think to install some drains?!? ;-)

  57. Grip and traction depend on the tyre being in contact with the road. The downforce could, I suppose, help displace standing water into the treads, aiding grip up to a certain level of wetness.

    But when aquaplaning happens it is because the tread cannot clear the water fast enough. The channels in the tyre have a certain volume, and the more standing water there is, the more water has to be cleared through those tread channels.

    Similarly, the faster you travel, the greater the pressure of the water being pressed through the tread channels, until that pressure is enough that it lifts the tyre off the ground = aquaplaning.

    Not from a textbook or anything, just my take on it as a (non-tyre) engineer!

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