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. 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.

  2. 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…

  3. 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…

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

    1. 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. 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 ???

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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. 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

  12. 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!

  13. 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!!!

  14. 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.

  15. 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…

  16. 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.

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