Should the Korean Grand Prix have started sooner?

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 (1%)

Total Voters: 2,286

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

  1. Ferrero said on 24th October 2010, 12:07

    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.

  2. adam23 said on 24th October 2010, 12:13

    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.

  3. 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.

    • Pablo said on 24th October 2010, 16:41

      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!!!!

      • chemakal said on 24th October 2010, 17:51

        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

  4. maniek said on 24th October 2010, 12:40

    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!

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

    My answer for both questions is No.

  6. Marcello said on 24th October 2010, 13:37

    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!!!

  7. wong chin kong said on 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.

  8. calskif1 said on 24th October 2010, 14:25

    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…

  9. Rohan said on 24th October 2010, 14:55

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

  10. Alex Bkk (@alex-bkk) said on 24th October 2010, 15:41

    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.

  11. MattM said on 24th October 2010, 16:12

    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.

  12. chemakal said on 24th October 2010, 18:00

    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

  13. Younger Hamilton said on 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

  14. troutcor said on 24th October 2010, 18:16

    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.

  15. Keirdre said on 24th October 2010, 18:21

    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.

    • troutcor said on 25th October 2010, 14:04

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

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