Should F1 use standing starts for restarts?

Debates and polls

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?

  1. Andreas said on 20th June 2014, 10:54

    “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.

  2. xjr15jaaag (@xjr15jaaag) said on 20th June 2014, 10:55

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

    • Atticus (@atticus-2) said on 20th June 2014, 11:16

      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.

  3. David Not Coulthard (@davidnotcoulthard) said on 20th June 2014, 10:56

    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!

    • nnavinraj (@nnavinraj) said on 20th June 2014, 11:00

      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.

  4. 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.

  5. Dan_the_McLaren_fan (@dan_the_mclaren_fan) said on 20th June 2014, 10:57

    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?

  6. nnavinraj (@nnavinraj) said on 20th June 2014, 10:57

    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.

  7. Dan (@dan1124) said on 20th June 2014, 11:01

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

  8. gazeebo said on 20th June 2014, 11:05

    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.

  9. Ciaran (@ciaran) said on 20th June 2014, 11:09

    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.

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

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

  11. They would be better off implementing the safety zone that they used in les man

  12. Dafffid (@dafffid) said on 20th June 2014, 11:12

    The safety car isn’t there to allow extra passing, it’s there for safety. If we’re going to introduce standing starts for more passing – why not just do it every ten laps? A ‘race’ isn’t just about inventing artificial ways to put the fastest car at the front.

  13. Tiomkin said on 20th June 2014, 11:14

    Yet another rule change just because they can. What a sport! Every year for no reason the rules change. No other sport does this nonsense. That is why F1 is not a sport it’s just some guys driving around a circuit trying hard to impress the masses.

  14. Neil (@neilosjames) said on 20th June 2014, 11:15

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

    Which is exactly why rolling starts need to be kept. Safety cars don’t exist to create overtaking, they exist for safety.

    What a stupid, stupid idea.

  15. A 50 second advantage can be thrown away by a safety car and now you’d also want to give P2 a chance into T1 already? No.

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