2014 F1 season
The controversial rules change for 2015 has been criticised by drivers and won very little support from fans since it was announced.
However Whiting said the idea was very popular when it was raised by team representatives.
“What must be remembered is that this was a suggestion from a team,” said Whiting in an FIA briefing. “I put it to the other teams and they all agreed that it was a very good idea. In fact, I’ve rarely seen such enthusiasm for a new idea.”
“The idea is based on the rationale that the start is the most exciting part of the race in the view of most people and if you can have another one it would also be extremely exciting. This idea was embraced by all the teams at team manager level.
It was then discussed by the Formula One Strategy Group, which unanimously felt it was a very good way to go to improve the spectacle of Formula One. It then went to the Formula One Commission and finally to the World Council. They also felt it was a good thing for Formula One. The teams were 100 per cent behind it.”
Whiting believes the complaints put forward by drivers can be addressed. “I have heard some drivers express concerns but I think we can allay those fears,” he said.
“Their first concern was in regard to fairness. They felt that a race leader was more likely to lose his lead from a standing start than he is from a rolling start. Equally, however, if you are in second place you might actually like the idea of being able to take the lead, which you probably wouldn’t do with a rolling start.
“There was also some concern about taking a standing start on worn tyres. However, until you get to the point where there is a standing start, the safety car procedure will be exactly the same as before. As happens now any driver on worn tyres is likely to pit. If you’ve just made a pit stop then you probably wouldn’t do it, but anyone else will, as they will want to take the advantage of what is effectively a free stop.
“I think the chances of any driver resuming the race from a standing start on very badly worn tyres is very low. Those are the only concerns I’ve heard so far.”
Whiting discounted the suggestion that, if a race is going to be resumed from a standing start anyway, it would be unnecessary to have the Safety Car.
“I think the Safety Car has worked extremely well in a number of circumstances and I think if you stop the race every time you were going to put the Safety Car out if would be a bit of a nuisance really.”
He also denied that increasing the number of standing starts would increase the risks drivers are exposed to.
“If you say that a second standing start is dangerous it presupposes that the first one is as well,” said Whiting.
“Of course, you are more likely, statistically, to have incidents during a standing start than at any other time in the race but no driver wants that to happen and no driver will cause that to happen. I don’t believe that there is any added risk, personally.”
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Image © Daimler/Hoch Zwei