FIA plays down standing restart dangers

ESPN Staff
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FIA race director Charlie Whiting © Sutton Images

The FIA has dismissed concerns from some drivers that standing restarts after safety cars will be dangerous next year.

The new rule will see cars treat the final lap under a safety car as a parade lap before lining up on the grid for a standing restart. The idea was put to the FIA by a single team and adopted as a means to make races more interesting.

However, Daniel Ricciardo revealed this week that drivers had registered their concerns with the FIA about the fairness and potential safety issues if some drivers are on old tyre , but race director Charlie Whiting has played down the concerns.

"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 also made clear that the teams had been in full support of the idea.

"What must be remembered is that this was a suggestion from a team. 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% behind it."

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