FIA confirms start clampdown with restrictions for Belgian GP

The FIA has tonight informed the F1 teams of new procedures with regard to starts from the Belgian GP onwards, as mandated by the recent Strategy Group meeting.

The basic idea is to stop drivers being fed information on clutch bite points in the build-up to the start.

The governing body has says it wants to ensure that Article 20.1 of the F1 Sporting Regulations, which says that “the driver must drive the car alone and unaided,” is respected. That rule will enforced more rigorously with “the aim of ensuring that drivers will be solely responsible for preparing for race starts.”

Technical directive TD/017-15, titled “Start Practice and Start Procedures,” reveals that the FIA will address the matter of the adjustment of bite points from both a technical perspective, and via the expected clampdown on radio traffic.

From now on the clutch bite point may not be changed from the time the car leaves the garage for the first time after the pit lane is open on the day of the race, until after the start lockout period after the race has started.

In addition bite point finder activation by the driver has to be inhibited by disabling any driver button or switch associated with that function. The FIA adds that the “bite point update from the bite point finder should be disabled by setting BBitePointFinderUsed to zero.”

The FIA says that all pit-to-car communications during any reconnaissance or formation laps will be limited to safety and sporting information, so in other words there can be no discussion of start procedures.

The only permissible radio conversations during those pre-race laps will involve indication of a critical problem with the car, such as puncture warning or damage, an indication of a problem with a competitor’s car, an instruction to enter the pit lane in order to fix or retire the car, marshalling information (for example yellow flag, red flag, race start aborted or other similar instructions), information regarding a wet track, oil or debris in certain corners, or finally instructions to swap position with other drivers, for example if someone is late off the dummy grid.

The FIA says that any other message at these times would be considered a breach of Article 20.1 of the Sporting Regulations.


Filed under F1, F1 News, Grand Prix News

8 responses to “FIA confirms start clampdown with restrictions for Belgian GP

  1. Mick

    Could they work around this by doing a lap & coming back to the pit to talk to engineers and making an adjustment to something other than bite point that might help them improve the start?

    • akismet-5ff276dd0d46accd74f84a6d1606d4a7

      Nope, must be set the first time it leaves the garage, not the last time it leaves the garage before getting on the grid.

  2. GeorgeK

    This has all the potential to turn into a massive start crash fest if drivers have difficulty engaging a quick get away.

    • LRM

      That is what racing should be. Driver’s should drive, which means not just turning a steering wheel left or right. If a driver can’t get off the grid without aides he/she has no point being there.

      I applaud any rule changes that puts the sport squarely back in the hands of the driver. True F1 is a team sport, but the teams’ efforts should stop at pit lane where the drivers’ takeover.

      Let the racers race. Too much of that has been usurped by technology, whose logical conclusion will be driverless cars otherwise.

      • GeorgeK

        I agree with the concept, merely pointing out after all the robotic starts drivers may have lost their “feel” for non assisted starts. At the least it will be interesting.

  3. Pollerunner

    I also think it should be the drivers doing the driving but to create rules for it. So if there is a rule there will also be a punishment if they say to much. So if the engineer say “it is hammertime” is that allowed. So common sense, just because you can, don’t do it. Right now it is we can so we do it. Not thinking on the show. I like the “Leave me alone I know what I am doing” from Kimi.

  4. Have to say I really don’t like a lot of these restrictions, Especially the radio clampdown as the team radio stuff has always been something I have loved to listen to.
    I now fear were just going to get hardly any team radio broadcast’s on the tv feeds which would take away a bit of my overall enjoyment level.

    I also think its a bit unfair on the drivers to put them in a position where they leave the pits & discover the clutch is setup incorrectly where they will then have to sit on the grid knowing there going to get a bad start & can do nothing to change it.

    I don’t get the obsession with going backwards, Technology has improved & F1 has rightfully embraced it. F1 is supposed to be the pinnacle of the sport, By taking technology away & going backwards by banning/restricting everything is just going to ensure F1 drops behind a lot of other categories.

    You don’t have radio restrictions in anything else as far as I am aware so why should F1 do it.

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