Start, Shanghai International Circuit, 2014

Should F1 use standing starts for restarts?

Debates and pollsPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Start, Shanghai International Circuit, 2014Formula One is planning to change how races are restarted next year.

From 2015 standing starts will be used instead of rolling restarts following Safety Car periods, according to multiple reports.

Is this the change F1 needs to inject more action into the show?


The reasoning for the change is simple to understand. F1’s single file rolling restarts tend not to lead to changes of position.

Standing starts offer a greater chance that some drivers will change places when the race gets going again, injecting more excitement into the races.


Organising a standing start is going to add yet more complexity to the restart procedure which already takes too long due to the rule requiring lapped drivers to pass the Safety Car. This will mean it takes even longer to get races going again.

There’s also the difficult of ensuring drivers line up in the correct grid position. On a normal standing start they are positioned in their starting spots beforehand, giving them the chance to familiarise themselves with where their need to stop at the end of the formation lap. Even then there are problems – three drivers line up in the wrong places at the start of the Monaco Grand Prix.

I say

I’m basically indifferent to the plan, though it seems to me that if you’re going to go to the effort of stopping all the cars and doing a full start, why not go the whole hog and scrap the Safety Car altogether? Just red-flag the race and restart it later. That way no racing laps are wasted behind the Safety Car.

But what really grates about this scheme is that it seems another poorly considered gimmick which doesn’t address F1’s most serious problems.

F1 hasn’t had a full field of cars for almost 20 years, small teams are struggling financially following the introduction of expensive new engines and major manufacturers prefer the WEC. Meanwhile viewing figures are plummeting and the minimum weight rules have led to dangerously thin drivers.

The best response F1’s power brokers have to this is to impose standing starts after the Safety Car has come out. I don’t believe it’s going to make the tiniest bit of difference to F1’s real problems.

You say

Do you want to see standing starts after Safety Car periods in F1?

Will having standing starts instead of rolling restarts improve F1 races?

  • Strongly agree (7%)
  • Slightly agree (13%)
  • Neither agree nor disagree (12%)
  • Slightly disagree (12%)
  • Strongly disagree (55%)
  • No opinion (2%)

Total Voters: 591

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170 comments on “Should F1 use standing starts for restarts?”

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  1. Daniel (@collettdumbletonhall)
    20th June 2014, 10:03

    Red flag would be better as you say if they are planning standing restarts. I don’t know why they are doing this as no-one has ever complained about this (much like with double points). It’s another case of F1 addressing the symptoms and avoiding the problems again.

    1. Completely agree. Having a standing start after a red flag seems sensible and an improvement but it seems a bit artificial to have one after every safety car period.

      Standing starts also mean a greater risk of accidents – which in turn makes it likely that the safety car will be deployed. We could end up with the farcical situation where you have 3 or 4 standing starts in a row if there are numerous standing start incidents.

      F1 – stop fixing what isn’t broken and, as Keith says, deal with the more serious issues.

      1. Daniel (@collettdumbletonhall)
        20th June 2014, 10:30

        Haha that’s true, about 4 standing restarts in a row and 20 laps wasted behind the safety car would show them.
        The current situation is fine but if they need to improve anything then introduce slow zones as someone mentioned further down in the comments, now that would mean for more racing which is something people actually want.

    2. @collettdumbletonhall
      I’m curious as to what you consider to be the ‘real problems’.
      Could you kindly highlight all those, and your potential solutions.

      1. Daniel (@collettdumbletonhall)
        20th June 2014, 10:53

        It’s basically what @KeithCollantine put on twitter yesterday (link added below). There’s more like gravel traps or tungsten to punish actual mistakes made by drivers and too many races being held in places that isn’t much of an interest.

      2. Daniel (@collettdumbletonhall)
        20th June 2014, 10:55

        I know yesterday you were supporting the use of DRS but this is mainly down to engine disparity making passing difficult for cars with a slower top speed. Bigger rear tyres would make slipstreaming easier by increasing drag.

        1. @collettdumbletonhall
          That would definitely assist with overtaking.

    3. I like how Keith, in one minute, basically offered up a better solution (Red flag and restart, rather than SC and then restart) than the FIA could come up with and hold a meeting over! But I imagine they want to do the SC version to stop everyone changing their cars (tyres, wing etc.) like at Monaco, which ended the race as a spectacle.

    4. I am on the same boat with this idea @collettdumbletonhall. Either have a SC and not stop the cars, let them run. Or just stop the race after an accident, use the time to sort the back-markers without them having do do another lap and prepare a restart.

      Instead we have all the disadvantages of a SC including the Marshalls having a tougher job cleaning up, even letting backmarkers first unlap themselves, and having at least 10-15 laps (12-20% of the race!) and THEN stop the race anyway and lose another 5-10 minutes while everyone gets ready. If I imagine last race in Canada, or 2011 in Monaco or just about any Singapore race how many laps will they manage to actually RACE?
      Off course it can make for new start crashes etc, maybe that is the “excitement” they are looking for.

      1. As much as I disagree with the idea, everyone moaning about all the ‘gimmicks’ that are being introduced, only have themselves to blame, f1 fans never seem to be happy and always complain and that’s why the FIA are coming up with all these silly ideas in the first place

        1. Sorry @bascb, wasn’t meant for that to be a reply to your comment

        2. Daniel (@collettdumbletonhall)
          20th June 2014, 16:38

          While I agree that people do moan about f1 too much and have rose tinted glasses about the past (I’ve watched old F1 and it’s not much better than now if I am honest, worse in many respects) I do think that these gimmicks are the wrong answers to the problems.
          When I complained about the lack of overtaking in F1 before 2010 I never wanted a DRS style system or dodgy tyres. Less downforce and no refuelling would have sufficed.

          1. Yeah no I agree completely I just don’t know what people expect to happen, there’s only a few ways racing can be improved naturally, one of which I watch a different series like btcc for example. I bet people would complain about that lack of excitement again if they backtracked 4/years to pre DRS aero dominatted cars

          2. Daniel (@collettdumbletonhall)
            20th June 2014, 17:41

            Yeah that’s true. A lot of people expect every race to be mad with cars all over fighting for position but with the fastest cars starting at the front and the slowest at the back that doesn’t tend to happen, understandably. Every year you’re always going to get a few boring races like Malaysia 2014, Bahrain 2010 and Spa 2013 with no-one in any position to pass. So long as cars can race each other without gimmicks then I am happy. There’s no gimmick-less solution to spaced out races and I’d rather that was the case than undeserving winners due to double points, DRS, standing restarts or whatever comes next.

    5. I agree, mostly, a big 1st.lap crash should be red flagged and re-started rather than have the cars cruise around after the safety car for 5 to 8 laps, but mid race with some debris on the track that can be cleared in 2 laps it would be ridiculous.

      Why can’t the cars engage the pit-lane speed limiter wherever they are on the track instead of having a safety car ?

      1. That was I agree mostly with Daniel.

  2. Short answer: No.
    Long answer: Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo.

    1. Michael Brown
      20th June 2014, 14:02

      Exactly my thoughts.

    2. Agreed: Simple and succinct. NO.

    3. @raceprouk Exactly. Honestly… why?

      They are DESPERATE to “improve the show” and we had one of the best races of the last few years in Canada and Bahrain…

    4. It’s just a waste of time, and will surely lead to penalties for incorrect starting positions which will be off-putting to fans, not an improvement. Above all, casual fans as far as my experience with such goes dislike the complexity of some of the rules, such that they can’t understand what is happening.

      The tyres are very bad for this, and I imagine this proposal won’t help.

  3. Dont fix when its not broke , FIX the racing please we need better rules that can allow natural competition than artificial competition with artificial Tires and gimmicks

  4. I strongly oppose this idea. The whole point of the safety car is to slow up the cars to create a safe environment for the marshalls to do thier job. That the cars are bunched up is only a side effect of the situation.

    I think there is no sporting reason that explains the need to have such a lottery at that point in the race.

    Of course it will make things exciting, but it also makes a mockery of the race.

    1. +1

      … and given how susceptible the cars are to heat-related issues, is it really fair or “exciting” to have the leaders queueing up on the grid, stationary for an extended period of time and then blowing their brakes, power units, etc.?

      There’s nothing wrong with the current safety-car system. Leave it alone.

    2. +1 …… plus, tyres cooling off, engines overheating — or are they going to put the pit crews out on the grid to restart the engines? There are ideas, bad ideas and plain stoooopid ideas.

    3. +1 Could very well lead to yet another incident upon restart.

  5. I’m against, for one simple reason.

    How long does it take to start a race, getting everybody lined up and going through the start procedures? It would take even longer to get back to racing if they had to line up on the grid, as opposed to just bunching up and going when the leader hits the accelerator. The safety car period is already an interruption on the race, and forcing everybody to grid up will kill the flow of the race. Can you imagine a race like Monaco with several safety car deployments, each one followed by everybody stopping on the grid?

    1. Well said.

  6. Lucas Wilson (@full-throttle-f1)
    20th June 2014, 10:10

    F1 hasn’t had a full field of cars for almost 20 years, small teams are struggling financially following the introduction of expensive new engines and major manufacturers prefer the WEC. Meanwhile viewing figures are plummeting and the minimum weight rules have led to dangerously thin drivers.

    Mail that to the FIA.

  7. i’m not sure how i feel about this. i’ll say i neither agree or disagree. f1 has other problems it should adress first.

    1. COTD in my opinion . This is what the FIA do . They take a non issue and make it sound an issue and then have a cheap ‘fix it’ . There are other issues here . This doesn’t even need looking into .

  8. Since when should drivers be able to gain or lose positions just because an accident happened somewhere on the track ? I don’t think it’s particularly fair … Just imagine a scenario where the then-leader of the race loses places during the safety car period because of a bad pitstop, starts in the middle of the field and is sent off at the restart by some Venezuelan driver ? Is that what we want ?

    Safety car periods are certainly a problem ; at Le Mans they solved it with the introduction of the Slow Zones, which to me is the greatest idea ever … In Formula One they solve it with standing starts ?! Why even make the car run behind the Safety Car in the first place, if you’re to let them have a standing start ?

    And couldn’t they just have proper rolling start procedures that ensure the cars are not already 1 second apart when they cross the finish line, to start with ? Just like they’re done in almost every motorsport from go-karting to Indycar, in WEC or in Nascar ?!

    1. “Why even make the car run behind the Safety Car in the first place, if you’re to let them have a standing start?”

      Exactly. Safety Car should to be a way to limit the disruption during race when marshals are needed on track or there’s an obstruction. Slow zones, a la Le Mans, would minimise this disruption further.
      It makes no sporting or even logical sense to drive round for five or ten laps behind a Safety Car, then stop and do the whole start procedure and disrupt the flow of the race anyway.

  9. The format should stay like it is. Instead of bringing titanium-bottom plates, standing starts, DRS and other gimmicks, they should turn up those engines, introduce a driver minimum-weight and reduce turbulent air.

  10. Why not wait until the track is clear and ready to go – at the end of the lap let the cars form up on the grid in running order (how complicated can that be for these clever chaps?) once all stationery reds lights and go!

  11. As long as we have lots of artificial sparks shooting out from beneath the cars, and giant megaphone exhausts producing artificial sound, and DRS zones to create artificial passing, then who really cares anyway.

    1. Good one ! :)

  12. Double-file rolling restarts, anyone?

    Does away with the inconveniences of finding which grid position to line up and provides more position changes than a single-file restart.

    1. I loved double fille rolling restarts at Albert Park this year as it created excitement to the race instead of the boring leader dominating but good idea instead of standing restarts.

    2. Chris (@tophercheese21)
      21st June 2014, 8:10

      They’ve done that with the V8 Supercars here in Australia and it’s been a complete disaster.

      1. @tophercheese21 – I disagree from my perspective as it has never been tried in Australian Motorsport till this year at Albert Park. Drivers liked it. They should do it again with longer race distance next year

        1. Chris (@tophercheese21)
          21st June 2014, 10:55

          They did it at Adelaide and it was a complete disaster.

  13. Strongly disagree, this is just another stupid, fiddly rule change that adds complications when they need to be simplifying the racing. A sticking plaster on a broken leg if there ever was one.

  14. Daniel (@collettdumbletonhall)
    20th June 2014, 10:17

    Why not just have reverse grids while they are at it?
    Seriously, the longer they push forth these stupid ideas the more and more tempted I am to stop following. This is supposed to be the pinnacle of motorsport, not a damn game show!

    1. @collettdumbletonhall

      Why not just have reverse grids while they are at it?

      Shh! They’ll hear you…

      1. Daniel (@collettdumbletonhall)
        20th June 2014, 10:26

        Haha, don’t worry, they do not listen to the fans anyway!

      2. Was wondering where I’d draw the line on continuing to watch F1 with all this utter rubbish in the last few years. I think reverse grids would be it. Or performance ballast.

        1. Daniel (@collettdumbletonhall)
          20th June 2014, 10:35

          That’s what really turns me off the BTCC.
          I’m on the edge right now and with WEC getting better all the time I am very tempted to just switch over to that completely. One or two more stupid rule changes and I am off. I definitely won’t be wasting my money on a sky subscription at the moment although I’d consider if they allowed for natural competition.
          The sooner they learn that we’ve had boring races every year no matter what the rules are the sooner they will realise that they need to stop with all of these ridiculous rule changes.

    2. @collettdumbletonhall Reverse grids as such are not the worst thing that could happen to F1. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want them but they at least would give teams like Force India a chance to win something unlike DRS, which helps the quicker cars get to the front or the double points rule, which also favours the rich teams that can afford to spend a lot of money on development during the season.

      In my opinion, the biggest problem with reversed grids would be the inevitable changes to the weekend format, such as dismissal of qualifying or degrading the value of a victory by having two or more races every weekend.

      1. Daniel (@collettdumbletonhall)
        20th June 2014, 15:17

        It’s not deserved though is it. This rule helps the smaller teams and not the big teams by giving them a chance to catch up with the leading cars.
        I’m guessing the next rule will be similar to NASCAR, they’ll introduce the chase for the world championship or something unfair like that.

      2. In my opinion the biggest problem with reverse grids could be a team like Catussia getting top engines, designing no-downforce no-drag, straight-line rockets that start p1 and p2 then circulate side by side leaving no room for cars to pass around corners and out-dragging them down the straights. Far fetched ? not where hundreds of millions of $$$$$$$ are concerned.

  15. It seems to me that the F1 bosses are desperate trying to show us they’re working hard to ‘save’ the sport. But because they have no idea how to fix the things that really needs fixing (or cannot agree about the fix needed), they come up with solutions for things no-one has complained about. I think the rolling restarts are quite exciting, even if there’s not much overtaking. Just scrap the unneccesary rule requiring lapped drivers to pass the Safety Car.

  16. Double wide restarts instead of standing starts, that would be better.

  17. I feel such a move would take away the flow of the race.
    Granted, a safety car already impedes the flow to some extent, but a full-on stop seems it would be somewhat obstructive.

    Wouldn’t doing something like this negate the need of the safety car?
    You may as well give a red flag, stop the cars, then wait until the track is cleared.

    I’d be curious to see what sort of rules are implemented to work along side this.
    For example, if teams can’t change tyres, then stratigies could take a major hit, if you’re competing with a car(s) with much fresher tyres at a standing start.

  18. Call me cynical (and you’d be correct), but I’m guessing this rule will lead to race control bringing out the safety car at every possible moment.

    If there’s any indication that a race will be a whitewash or walkover from one or two cars, or the race is processional in any way (both of which are highly likely) when it’ll only take the smallest thing… a marble of rubber flying off a tyre, a pigeon on the track, a spectator to sneeze… and whoosh. Quicker than you can say “full course caution” the safety car will be out and the race will start from square one.

    This way race control and the FIA and FOM have a nice shiny reset button for any time they feel the show is not exciting enough.

    Which will be always.

    1. @ajokay Your genius idea is slightly ruined by the fact that if the FIA wanted to artifically bunch up the field, the current safety car format already does that. And I don’t see them abusing it.

      1. @ciaran Your genius retort then begs the question “if it bunched up the field anyway, why have they changed the rule to incorporate a standing start at all then?”

    2. @ajokay, your comment, to another cynic like me, sounds spot-on and I am pretty sure Nascar works exactly as you describe.

  19. Hell to the no! F1 and its officials seem to be desperate to make changes just for the sake of change and it is agonizing to watch that no idea is thought through well enough. F1 at the moment seems like Apple in the early-mid 90s. What it needs now is some visionary that understands the problems of F1, that knows what the fans want, that can embrace social media/web in general and most importantly that has the power to change F1 for the good (strategy group was a fail since its creation). Someone like Bernie Ecclestone, but much much younger. F1 at its current state is lacking all of that. To quote Gil Amelio (last Apple CEO before the return of Steve Jobs), F1 is “like a ship with a leak at the bottom” and its officials are “the captain that has to make sure the ship is pointing in the right direction”. And it saddens me deeply to say that.

  20. “For

    The reasoning for the change is simple to understand. F1′s single file rolling restarts tend not to lead to changes of position.

    Standing starts offer a greater chance that some drivers will change places when the race gets going again, injecting more excitement into the races.”

    The Safety Car format is designed so that the positions are defended in the first place, so why screwing that up? Why should be every single moment be something of a super-duper action? The stupidity of this idea is up there with double points…

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