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. I’m not sure I like or dislike the idea. However, I do remember that they started using SC a lot more after 1st lap collisions, because it was considered too dangerous to restart the race from a standing start. So for me its a case of, short term memories.

    1. I’m guessing they’ll still start under the safety car if they see its too dangerous for a standing start. Such as bad weather conditions.

  2. This is a rubbish idea. The rolling restarts are fine.

    My main complaint is that it is massively unfair to the leading driver. If a driver has fairly and squarely fought for and gained first and with one or two laps to go only to loose because of having to do a standing start. That’s not fair. When you see a driver build themselves a good lead, then to have it basically stripped from them for a rolling start, that’s harsh enough, but a standing start?
    At-least a rolling start allows the lead driver to maintain some advantage on the restart considering often they have had their hard fought gap stripped of them in the first place. How would Bahrain have ended this year? Would Rosberg have deserved to win just because he was on better tyres for the restart? It would have been much harder for Hamilton to defend as he did. I bet the end would have been a lot less exciting.

  3. Most drivers gain an advantage from the safety car through the field bunching up, giving more of an advantage through the lottery of a standing restart is ridiculous. The purpose of the safety car is to maximise the safety of an incident being dealt with whilst minimising the disruption to the current standings in the race, not to maximise overtaking.

    And what is the most dangerous part of a race where most drivers have a chance of being taken out? The start. So they are increasing the danger!

    1. @jimbo, Hmm, you’re right, and just who, currently makes up the greatest number of places at the start.?

  4. Standing starts may cause a huge shambles on their own as if a car stalls, it’ll be mayhem!

    If they’re to do anything with this, it’s to perhaps take a leaf out of Indycar, and do double-file restarts where the leader chooses which side of the track they start on as they round the final turns.

    1. Indycar no longer do double file restarts because they usually caused more problems with contact through the restart lap.

  5. Another scheme designed to provide artificial “excitement”. Takes away one of the interesting aspects of a safety car period, while leaving in the ridiculous parts like lapped cars needing to unlap themselves before everyone can go racing again.

    I assume that when the big crisis meeting took place this week and the question “What can we do to improve Formula 1?” was asked, “Listen to the fans” wasn’t a popular response.

    Of course, I could be pleasantly surprised and find it genuinely adds to the race, but I’m not holding out much hope.

  6. Plain and simple it won’t pass

  7. No they should leave things as they are.

    Standing starts after a SC is just another artificial element brought in & there are already far oo many artificial elements been introduced to ‘spice up the show’ for my liking.

    Plus as they say in America cautions breed cautions, A standing start Mid-race will surely see drivers more desperate to make up places which could lead to more 1st turn accidents & therefore more safety cars/standing starts.

    With regards to double file restarts, Indycar tried that & it just led to more cautions as everyone went a bit mad trying to make up several spots in the 1st few corners every time which again just lef to more cautions.

    1. Imagine a re-start with only 2 laps to go, the only car to survive would be the winner.

  8. So, since fans seem to really dislike this idea we can safely assume it’ll be introduced!

    When did safety car periods become a show element rather then a necessity to ensure the safety of track personnel and drivers anyway?

  9. “Standing starts offer a greater chance that some drivers will change places when the race gets going again”

    I don’t consider that a ‘for’ argument at all. Standing starts can be completely random, very easy to mess up or- more importantly- be messed up for you by other drivers. I don’t need to see a lottery mid-race to keep my attention. A rolling start fairly spreads the field out a certain amount while giving the drivers closest to one another a sniff at passing- that is enough.

  10. Only if everybody on earth moves to Free-as-in-freedom software and removed the power of whoever intentionally put backdoors in our computers’ software and hradware and/or every people that made software mostly non-free.

    Or if the Super Bonus Double Points Season Finale Bonanza, DRS, and fully tarmac run-offs are removed (in the case of run-offs put astroturf between the tarmac of the track and that of the run-off.

    Which is to say: No, nee, nej, nein, no.

  11. “The reasoning for the change is simple to understand. F1′s single file rolling restarts tend not to lead to changes of position.” Well, they’re not supposed to. The safety car is there to avoid having to red flag the race, if the racing can’t be continued safely. Once the safety car situation is no longer present, racing should resume as before. If the F1 folks think anything different, they’re properly misguided. And as has already been pointed out, having standing restarts will inevitably lead to further first-corner pile-ups (and further restarts). It would be a good way for Ferrari to get to the front, though – by their competitors further up the grid repeatedly taking each other out in multiple starts…

    Honestly, this year I’ve followed F1 more closely than in quite a few years. This far, I’ve even seen all practice sessions… First it was due to curiosity over the new power unit technology, and then it was because of the (at least to me) more exciting racing. But the artificial stuff is starting to get to me, so I can’t say how long the interest will last. And if I lose interest, it will not be because “the show” isn’t exciting enough, it will be because of the daft attempts to improve the same. The implication that I would need sparks, exhaust trumpets, standing restarts and other gimmicks to not lose interest is simply condescending to me as a racing fan. And when I’m treated that way (by anyone), I tend to walk.

    Standing restarts, trumpets, fake sparks (i.e. not simply a side-effect of cars bottoming out, but titanium bolts intentionally placed to create sparks, without any apparent reason) – what’s next? Cardboard pieces attached to the wheel spokes? After all, it’s the noise we’re after, isn’t it? Pfft.

    1. Andreas we are like 2 peas in a pod regarding F1, hope your post gets COTD.

  12. I think that a rolling double file restart would be epic; like the starts in direct drive karting

    1. I agree.

      Some above noted it may lead to more incidents – ‘cautions breed cautions’ – like it did in IndyCar, and while I think it’s a valid argument, I think standing start would be just as bad.

      The thing why I want a double-file rolling restart is that it does not have the inconvenience of having to conduct an all-too-sudden line-up procedure, which is common in the case of a standing start, while providing nearly as much position change.

      If we want to spice up the show, than I think that’s the way to go.

      If we want to leave it pure, not artificial, then leave it as it is currently.

  13. 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.

    Ah, yes!

    1. I agree. With the new proposal lapped cars need to unlap themselves and need to get into formation and all this while the leaders will be sitting on the grid tires cooling and brakes smoking away! However this is mitigated it will result in more laps being lost behind the safety car.

  14. F1 is giving Brian France a run for his money in turning off established fans. Just look at basically any recent Nascar race and see the grandstands that were once packed now struggling to reach 50%. I don’t want to see sparks or have louder engines or drs or refueling or any other gimmick. I want to see a race where the best car or driver wins. I have watched many seasons of domination by one driver or team or another and that was fine. I still watched all the races. Now with all these gimmicks and gelded drivers I really find it easy to do something else on Sunday. I missed the last 7 races last year without really missing F1 for the first time in 30 years. I am now really wondering what the last straw will be since I started being disappointed with F1 with the re-institution of refueling in ’94. I am sure the last straw has been proposed already and is just waiting to be instituted.

    1. @darryn, me too, especially “the best car or driver” bit, not the “1 of thirty identical cars” that gets the lucky breaks winning

  15. I don’t doubt standing starts will improve the show. We will see more overtakings, less predictabilty, and we might feel more excited at these starts.

    But I believe it won’t improve the racing. It’s just another stupid gimmick that tries to transform F1 in a TV-show. I don’t like this idea, because it ruins the spirit of racing. Having a SC is already a disatvantage for drivers who worked hard to build gaps. But having standing starts penalise them even more. Racing is about winning when you are the fastest driver who overcame adversity, and not about a driver who fights with gimmicks. And besides standing starts just makes “breaks” in the race, that we don’t necessarily need (and that we didn’t ask).

    How about improve the racing for once? For instance, I really like the idea of slow zones used in WEC (instead of having a whole race neutralised). Why not putting this idea in F1?

  16. More likely it would lead to more laps being lost to get to the formation lap configuration.
    Also these new brakes start smoking the moment they stop so will we be seeing a smoky restart?
    One point in favor is that they can use a richer up the fuel mix from then on and all the energy they harvested behind the safety car can be brought to bear for the restart.

  17. Worse than double points in my opinion. Safety cars near the end of the race will lead to totally undeserving winners.

  18. Interesting topic. I would say, nothing is wrong until it crops up. Nothing has cropped up to made it warranted. That is a ‘race restart’ that would displace many who have already raced for position. You can’t take that away from those who have put in the effort. But then, if DRS is allowed, then let the lottery begin. Just kiddin. No to all of the above, and put all the sporting rules back to before Schum and Ferrari made Max and Bernie jack em all up. That is when F1 REALLY went wrong.

  19. Considering all of the silly ideas that have been thrown around in the last few years, this one isn’t too bad. But I imagine there would be huge difficulties with getting all the cars in the correct order which could turn out to be a huge waste of time, so I’m hoping hope this one doesn’t get implemented.

  20. Spud (@the-spuditron)
    20th June 2014, 11:10

    Ah yes, the answer to a question that nobody was asking.

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