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. zak misiuda (@)
    20th June 2014, 11:10

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

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. Neil (@neilosjames)
    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.

  5. 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.

  6. I disagree for a simple reason: the cars left running under a Safety Car have, more often than not, nothing to do with the accident occurred. A standing start just increases the chances that a front-runner, who already had his advantage deleted by the Safety Car, could lose his position or even more. It would also increase waiting times: the Safety Car and rolling restarts are there to get back to racing as quickly as possible. Red flags already occur when the situation does not allow drivers to get through and there is no hope of clearing in time.

  7. I just don’t understand why during a SC lapped cars must overtake the entire field, wich gives some chaos, and than have to drive a full lap. Why don’t lapped cars just let the field past them and fall to the back of the field. Then the FIA just gives them their lap back and everybody is in the same lap within a short time. Nowadays we have to wait at least 2 or 3 laps to let these lapped cars overtake the field and line up at the back again. In my solution this can be done in just a few corners. Let the lapped cars wait on some run off areas and line up at the back. The FIA adjusts the timing pages to give these cars their lap back and voila problem solved!

    1. Sounds good, till you realize that the cars that pulled over now have a lot more fuel once the race restarts.

      1. Not to mention tyres/mechanical parts that have completed one lap less than the timing says. Bit unfair on the last of the unlapped runners.

      2. That’s indeed a good argument against it. But lapped cars aren’t allowed to drive at full speed when they drive around the track to get their lap back, so then the fuel won’t decrease as much and the tires also won’t degradade as much as during a normal racing lap. Yes the lapped cars have an advantage then, but those lapped cars are mainly backmarkers who even can’t compete with the cars in front even when they have more fuel and better tires to use.

  8. 1) Standing starts would increase the lottery aspect which the safety car already brings. I assume they would be allowed to start on fresh tyres so maybe teams would gamble even more on the safety car for a free tyre change. Seems unfair on those who might have worked for 90% of the race to get a good position, and could lose it all.

    2) Someone made a good point that starts are when most accidents happen, so there could fairly often be chains of restarts in the cars don’t get away cleanly. And if the start is within the last 10 laps, the chances of an accident increase dramatically because drivers will go all out to gain track position. With the first race start, at least drivers know that they have another 60+ laps to make up places – if you start in 13-14th and have 5 laps left you might aswell banzai it to try and get in the points.

    3) Takes a long time to set up the start and would be disruptive to the race – especially with complications of setting up grid positions which the drivers haven’t prepared for.

    I can see how it would make races more dramatic, more action packed, and less predictable, but overall it feels too artificial, unfair, and creates too many practical issues to be a benefit.

    1. 4) Stopping and attempting to restart the cars mid-way through the race might bring up more reliability issues. Components which have been running at full temperature for many laps, or those that have issues (Rosberg+Perez in Canada) might have complete failures which they could otherwise have managed until the end of the race.

      1. I don’t believe the current clutches are up to multiple standing starts. You could have as many as 6 starts in a race under this scenario: how much contingency will they have to build in?

  9. I neither agree nor disagree. It’s undoubtedly a gimmick but not nearly as bad as double points and if that is what will attract the young generation to the sport, then OK, go on with it.

    However, I agree with every word of the “I say” section. The risk of shrinking field is particularly dangerous as nothing will make F1 exciting if there are only 10 cars on the grid. Moreover, financial disparity between two teams will always mean that something exciting between them is unlikely to happen on the track.

  10. The last thing I want to see in any sports are disruptions to the flow of the game/competition/race in the form of stoppages like this.
    During a safety car period you at least get to see the cars rolling on the track, saving the continuity of the whole race, which is suppose to be an hour and a half long competition on average.
    Slicing it into pieces with red flags makes it not worthwhile.

    And I don’t understand why it isn’t enough for them when Safety Cars ruin drivers’ leads over the cars behind them by bringing everybody close together, but they want to also see cars swap positions at random due to a restart, which is what a restart does. That’s just too unfair at that point.

  11. I think standing starts would be a great idea, because they are a hell of a lot more exciting to watch than a rolling start, having more than 1 standing start per race would be great to watch, as it takes a lot of driver skill just to get a good start let alone a great one.

    For the real F1 fanatics like ourselves the majority of people seem to be against it, I don’t think its particularly sporting to have the lead drivers 20 second gap taken away and get bogged down on the restart, but I can’t see how it wouldn’t spice things up. – isn’t that what the FIA are trying to achieve?

  12. I give F1 another 20 years and kids won’t even hear about it anymore.
    I am sorry to say that we are witnessing the ending process of F1. F1 has become a money making business.

  13. Do not agree with this, F1 really need to go back to basics and help the back of the grid to make entering the sport a more viable option and not just a high risk gamble . To be honest I just don’t see that happening and I believe the FIA are in a tough spot trying to more the sport towards a business strategy that is fairer across the board whilst not being seen to penalise the big teams, how they pull that trick off is anyone’s guess but I for one really hope they do.

  14. I oppose.

    I was thinking events where we have had incidents instantly after safety car, so that second incident also requires safety car. Those which come to my mind are Heidfeld/Sato crash at Austria 2002, Liuzzi accident at Australia 2006 Kubica accident at Canada 2007 and Schumacher/Vergne crash at Singapore 2012. There would be more these kind of incidents, or even worse, none of those has involved more than two cars.

    As we lose laps under safety car I would propose that each two laps behind safety car would add one lap to the race distance. So if on Sunday there was a safety car of four laps, the race distance would be 73 laps in total. I don’t think it would be too damaging for fuel consumption either, since driving behind safety car will take much less fuel than clean racing laps. Each period would be counted separately, so safety car periods of three and five laps would add three laps to a total.

  15. When I read that Keith had had to use the phrase “improve the f1 show” again I threw up a bit in my mouth.

    1. Yeah he fell for it. As many have. Rather than revolt, everybody started debating the outcomes of DRS, fuel usage, tire wear, etc, as if it was acceptable. And cause of everybody doing that, the rule stood.

      People actually had ‘constructive’ conversations about something that shouldn’t even have been discussed. They became lemmings.

      And so.. the rules stood.

      I hate to say it, but Formula E is going to start drawing a larger crowd, just for that reason.

      And I have no problems with that. Racing is not about noise oil or grease (this from a machine head). It’s about racecraft. Who picks the best lines. And that IT. If you want any more than that, then your not a racer, nor a race fan.

  16. This seems again that the F.I.A. are creating rules with the intention of making the racing more entertaining and less authentic.

    For me, Safety Car periods are a necessary evil in races. The price to pay for allowing the marshalls to safely clean up the track is the somewhat “unfair” outcome that the gaps between competitors get bunched up, unfair in the sense that the drivers have competed to get the gaps between them and then the gaps are neutralised. At least the current rules preserve the order of the competitors.

    By introducing standing starts there is a good chance that competitors will be able to gain multiple positions which they would not have been able to do if there had been no Safety Car period. Simply put, this is akin to a lottery.

    There are so many things that have been wrong with F1 for many years. I would like to see the F.I.A. actually trying to solve these problems rather than create new rules which increase the probability that a driver other than the “best driver” wins a race.

  17. Once again this is the FIA selling the sporting integrity of F1 for cheap, mindless entertainment. When will they realise that a genuine sporting contest IS entertainment in itself? I would rather see a processional race where a driver wins by over a minute, than see a close race where the winning driver didn’t deserve it.

  18. As long as it’s not that ridiculous slow zone things that they used at LeMans which resulted in some drivers going through it more times than others.

  19. Mike (@mikeydcmtd)
    20th June 2014, 13:55

    Why not do a proper rolling start like in gt races and stuff, it’s basically a rolling grid and no additional time will be lost

  20. Atrocious.

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