Video reveals Schumacher’s start-line blunder

2012 Hungarian Grand Prix

The Hungarian Grand Prix got off to a false start after a blunder by Michael Schumacher on the grid.

The Mercedes driver pulled up in Heikki Kovalainen’s grid position ahead of the original start of the race, mistakenly lining up 19th instead of 17th.

This video shot by a fan shows Schumacher’s Mercedes on its correct starting position before the formation lap.

But when the field return to the grid for the start Schumacher, partly obscured by an advertising hoarding, pulled up behind the vacant space his car should have occupied.

This caused some confusion behind Schumacher, with other drivers not taking the correct positions on the grid as a result. Race director Charlie Whiting aborted the start of the race and sent the drivers around to form up again.

At this point Schumacher compounded his error by switching his engine off, meaning he had to start from the pit lane. “Our engine temperatures were very high before the start, and when the yellow lights came on, I switched the engine off,” he said.

Thanks to Girts for the tip.

2012 Hungarian Grand Prix

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92 comments on Video reveals Schumacher’s start-line blunder

  1. SubSailorFl said on 30th July 2012, 14:43

    According to him there were issues with telemetry from the car and overheating during the warmup and race start and that was why he shutdown when the start was aborted. It was obviously distracting enough that he didn’t line up correctly. Just one of those days. Keep racing Michael.

  2. zzz (@zzz) said on 30th July 2012, 14:53

    So the error of switching off the engine caused Schumacher to start from the pit lane? Why not just switch it back on and get going?

    • Randy (@randy) said on 30th July 2012, 15:53

      You can’t.

      F1 cars have external starter motors, if you stall during the race (which starts with the beginning of a formation lap) and you’re not in the pit lane or it’s vincinity in the situations that your car CAN be escorted to the pits (i.e. black flag/formation lap), you’re pretty much done and dusted.

      Someone correct me if i’m wrong, i could be.

      • SubSailorFl said on 30th July 2012, 16:13

        You are right.
        I believe in 2014 the new rules with the new engine formula will require onboard starters.

        • Metallion (@metallion) said on 30th July 2012, 16:30

          You’re quite right. I don’t really like the thought of that. I’ve always liked that it’s part of a driver’s skills to keep the engine running if they spin off the track for example and it’s another thing that sets a race car apart from a road car.

          Here’s the article from the 2014 rules:

          5.18
          Starting the engine :
          It must be possible for the driver to start the engine at any time when seated normally at the
          wheel and without any external assistance.

          By the way, how is it in other top racing categories, do any use internal starter motors?

          • JerseyF1 (@jerseyf1) said on 30th July 2012, 16:58

            I think the cars have to be able to run on ERS alone in the pit-lane and therefore they have to be capable of re-starting the engine in order to successfully complete a pit-stop.

            I actually think that the change is good anyway, if nothing else it makes things safer and could potentially mean that a safety car is not needed meaning a greater likelihood of the race being unfettered. Also ,@metallion , it’s no longer much of the driver’s skill-set as in most near-stall situations it’s the electronic anti-stall doing the job, not the driver.

          • Metallion (@metallion) said on 30th July 2012, 19:08

            Some good points that I didn’t think of @jerseyf1 :)
            Running on ERS only in the pit lane is another thing that I don’t like though. I don’t see any real good reason for that change.

            You’re right that it does make things slightly safer, but I’m a bit old-fashioned sometimes. I don’t think it’s a big safety risk and I like seeing drivers punished for their mistakes, it’s a bit like with the tarmac run off areas, they make things safer too but I don’t think they always make things better. As you mentioned though, they have electronic anti-stall so maybe it won’t actually make much of a difference anyway and they won’t need it much apart from during pit stops.

            Also, I like the occasional safety car and the SC rules from the good old days:)

          • AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 30th July 2012, 23:14

            @jerseyf1 I think the ERS power only in the pit-lanes was a bit of a myth. It raised a lot of concerns regarding reliability and a lack of noise on what is ultimately the busiest part of the circuit which is full of people.

  3. Maksutov (@maksutov) said on 30th July 2012, 16:35

    Yeah that was very strange …  i think it was simply a mistake followed by an over-reaction.  Thanks Keith.

    When MSC went to start from the pits that could be where he got the puncture.

    I have to say that grand stand in the video must be a nice place to watch.. as you can see the incoming cars from way back.

  4. eefay1 (@eefay1) said on 30th July 2012, 16:58

    He must have spead in the pit lane on his tyre change or it would be a fine,unless there is a rule for approaching the pit exit line after causing an aborted start or stalling. It was a rookie mistake and all the other drivers are in contact with the pit wall so was he,he made a gut call and his age popped its head out and bit him in the ass,look how he aqua-planed off at turn one,he no were near as sharp as he once was.

    • JerseyF1 (@jerseyf1) said on 30th July 2012, 17:10

      Keith already posted this

      Stewards’ document 32 describes Schumacher’s penalty as follows:

      Time: 14:05
      Session: Race
      Fact: Pit Lane Speeding – 111.4 km/h.
      Offence: Breach of Article 30.12 of the FIA Formula One Sporting Regulations

      The offence happened at 14:05 which means it was at the start, not the tyre change stop (5 minutes isn’t enough time for two parade laps). The aborted start and stalling are nothing to do with it, the penalty is for speeding in the pit lane during the race and nothing else.

    • SubSailorFl said on 30th July 2012, 17:10

      Plenty of drivers have managed to speed in pit lane, not all of them rookies. I don’t read any more into it than trying to get back into the battle and making a mistake. Vettel got the same penalty here last year didn’t he?

  5. Timothy Katz (@timothykatz) said on 30th July 2012, 17:56

    I’m interested in this slightly arcane point.
    After he switched the engine off (and the field was waved through onto another formation lap), SCH was pushed across the grid into the pit lan. Is that outside assistance? Should he have been allowed to start the race after receiving outside assistance?

  6. Jerry Moore said on 30th July 2012, 18:38

    This was a fantastic video!!! Great location, amazingly high quality, not too much panning and zooming and it made me feel just like I was in the grandstands watching the race. Many thanks to whoever posted this.

  7. Phil C'de Baca said on 30th July 2012, 19:04

    Dear Michael, you are invited to your going away party. We will have cake and ice cream and party hats. Thanks for the effort but now it’s time for you seat to be taken by someone with a future in Formula 1 not a past.

  8. Top Dawg said on 30th July 2012, 19:29

    Amusing to read all the anti-Schumacher posters here. His current appearances as the old man of the track has made for a lot of added interest to the past three F1 seasons. Never a big admirer or even a fan during all those many successes the records will forever show. Simply because of all the blind eye turning and other stewards’ assists for anything relating to a certain team in red during that period in F1 history. Despite all that, I for one am glad the old man of the tracks has been about the place during his F1 career No. 2. As for comparisons with his team mate, not much in it and doesn’t really matter as both are driving for an underachieving race team performing well below expectations. I shall be pleased to see him participating next season too and if ever Ross Brawn gets the Mercedes-AMG outfit in better shape to produce a more competitive car, all you Schumacher naysayers could well have to revise your mindsets.

    Regarding his excess of bad luck this season which is exceeding the law of averages by some considerable margin, will the person sticking pins in a cardboard cut-out of the car the old man of the track is driving please stop it you nasty Voodoo person you … :lots of larfs:

  9. george brammah said on 30th July 2012, 23:27

    am a schmui fan but i fail to see how he managed this i recon hes to relaxed this time round waving at cameras and blowing kisses seen him do this more this year than the first 16 years in f1!

  10. It’s Ricciardo’s fault. Watch the start of the first formation lap. He passes Schumacher. Schumacher probably didn’t notice and thought he was behind Vergne. Remember he was sandwiched between two STRs and they look the same. At the end of the first formation lap, he simply lined up behind the STR that he thought was Vergne’s. Ricciardo should have been given a penalty for passing.

    • JerseyF1 (@jerseyf1) said on 31st July 2012, 11:32

      The video above (2:53) shows Schumacher sandwiched between two STRs in 17th position at the end of the formation lap so when he went to take up his grid spot then he would have been correct in lining up behind the Torro Rosso in front of him on the approach.

  11. Mudzis said on 31st July 2012, 11:27

    Schumacher must receive a 5 place grid penalty for blocking Grosjean at Hungarian GP race. Romain found himself stuck behind the Mercedes of Michael Schumacher ‘who didn’t respect the blue flags at all’ costing the Lotus driver a lot of time. ‘Because of this I lost a place to Kimi (Raikkonen), and at the same time a possible chance to fight for the win,’ he said.

  12. Hadzhiev (@hadzhiev) said on 31st July 2012, 11:29

    I believe that the things are not definitely so simple.
    The team should have contacted him through the radio very quickly and the only thing he should have done was just to move the car on the next car cell. However, the team was having big problems with the telemetry and was thinking that the engine was going to overheat. After the end of the race he knew what had happened to him but he did not mention a word about that as if he did not know about the mistaken grid cell. If you take a very close look at the Michael Schumacher’s interviews when he had the bigger share of the guilt he always spoke about it at some length and apologised publicly to the team. In this case I believe that the team had done something more serious and that’s why nobody still has not talked about the case at all. Nobody has said even a word about it.

    • Hadzhiev (@hadzhiev) said on 31st July 2012, 11:33

      *In this case I believe that the team did something very serious this time and that’s why nobody has talked about the case at all. Nobody has said even a word about it!

  13. rdpunk (@) said on 31st July 2012, 12:42

    Either way it’s a mistake that has been made but one which can be easily avoided and hasn’t been made for quite a while. It’s such a (due to a lack of a better word) stupid mistake to make, I mean if it was for tactical reasons it was a very poor move. I mean what advantage could be gained? First corner carnage was a possibility but would that be worth all that effort just to run a little later through what would be shards of carbon fibre? Anyway it’s another mistake by either MSC or Merc and they need to sort the error proneness of there team out.

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