Video proves Massa lucky to escape start penalty

Felipe Massa was lucky to escape a jump or false start penalty in Spa after lining his car up significantly ahead of its grid position.

The transgression wasn’t obvious on TV and was not picked up electronically via the FIA transponder, although it was spotted by the BBC’s Martin Brundle from his commentary position.

A video taken by a fan in the grandstand clearly shows that the Ferrari was out of position. The front wheels are supposed to be behind the yellow line that is just behind the more prominent white line that marks the front of the grid box (see Sutil’s car on the video).

Massa passed the troubled Mark Webber off the start and just managed to stay ahead at La Source, so it could be argued that he gained an advantage. The video can be found here:

Another transgression that did not get a penalty was Nico Hulkenberg’s pass of Adrian Sutil in the chaos at the end of the first lap. Sutil was one of the few to stay on the track while the Williams man cut the chicane, but in contrast to others who gained, he did not cede the place. Sutil passed him at the restart.


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15 responses to “Video proves Massa lucky to escape start penalty

  1. Just a few cm didn’t really matter, IMHO, Massa finished 4-th, because Vettel and Jenson DNF, and on the other hand Webber did a really poor start. What’s more interesting to me were the new NON-flexi wings by RBR, which we’re going to see again at Monza, but the flex will return at the final 5 tracks.

    • You can argue that a few cm don’t matter when the car is measured too, but rules are there for a reason and at some stage the FIA has to draw a line, no pun intended. In the words of one team manager I just spoke to, ‘The worst example I’ve seen for some time – I think it was worth a penalty.’

      • bosyber

        The problem is that it appeared almost a full tire diameter on that video, not just a few cm. But Massa clearly was lucky, 0r it would have ruined an already mediocre weekend for Ferrari.

    • mischa

      “Just a few cm”…?
      It looks more like 50-100 cm…
      And i do think it’s important.
      And so should the FIA, if they want to keep the little left of their credibility.

      And you’re right about the RB non-flexiwings, that’s important too.
      But i don’t see how they will return the flexwings with the more stringent tests?

  2. HN

    Agreed. Massa was fortunate.

  3. **Paul**

    I think some of the stewarding seen at the weekend was a joke.

    Obviously the Massa incident wasn’t picked up by them, but also what happened at the bus-stop on lap one. We saw Jenson really lose out because unlike Hamilton, Vettel, Kubica and Massa (I think) he made his way back on ot the track and took the corner. All of them could have done so, they all decided not to (bar Button).

    Is that what happened with Sutil and Hulkenburg?

    At present it really feels like drivers who are honest don’t gain anything other those who blatently…well… cheat!

  4. Well, rules are rules – next time it would be 5 cm, then 10 and so on.

  5. CTP

    Adam, talking of stewarding… any insight (incite?) on the hugely disproportionate number of British guest stewards we’ve had this year? If I were one of the non-British teams, I think I might be making some noises about it.

    • Helen

      What happens is that if it was Alonso rather than Massa = drive through
      The FIA is against Alonso.I remember Charlie pointing the finger to Alonso because was ahead at the start. Is not the same as what he did Massa?

      This is outrageous, is punished differently to the drivers at their convenience. Hamilton wins this year, get rid of all penalties and sanctions.
      Pathetic ….

    • The only reason we’ve seen the British stewards is because its the BBC, why would they want to show us non-British stewards????

      As for all the drivers who overshot the bus-stop corner on the first lap except Button, they were given a clear by the stewards & weren’t penalized due to no one gaining position either, that was reported by Martin Brundle not long after it!

      • mog

        Cyprus-Toon, you missed the point. The BBC are talking to the ex-driver steward for each race, not just a random British steward. Most of the ex-drivers have been British, which does raise a few issues regarding impartiality. I personally thought that having Mansell as a steward at Silverstone with 2 British drivers fighting at the front to be an incredibly bad decision.

  6. tom baker

    This is the second time this season that I can recall someone overshooting the start box. Nothing happened the other time either.

  7. kateafan

    It looked like only Webber and Sutil managed to navigate the Bus Stop chicane on the first lap, although they didn’t lose out (as far as I could tell), what incentive is there for drivers who can control their cars better than others to stay on the track?

    Massa’s grid position was more like 5 and a half, not six!

  8. mischa

    Why are we not hearing any explanation from Massa or Ferrari about the reason for failing to park at the right spot?
    I’m starting to believe the theory of yet another teamorder:
    Ferrari wanted to get Alonso in front of Massa to give Alonso the chance to more points for the championship.
    Being just punished for blatant teamorders, they had to think of a more subtile way to do it, and a drivethrough for a false start would do the trick!
    Only the FIA wasn’t paying attention!
    Trick failed.

    All the silence surrounding it makes me all the more suspicious, looks like Ferrari is trying to get everybody to forget it, because of the hearing tomorrow…

    But are we supposed to believe that Massa can’t park a car? It wasn’t just a few cm!
    Or was his mind wandering off, because -well- it’s just the start of the race?!

    I want to know what happened there, and not just the technical failure of the FIA!

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