Formula 1 tweaks jump start regulations
24 September 2017 – The FIA has tightened next year's Sporting Regulations regarding jump starts in Formula 1, raising the possibility of penalties even if its own system is not triggered.
The system surrounding jump starts came under scrutiny at the Austrian Grand Prix, when pole-sitter Valtteri Bottas was 'noted' by stewards for his rapid getaway, but ultimately not penalised.
It was revealed that Bottas had moved 0.201s after the five red lights went out, as he surged clear of the pack en route to victory at the Red Bull Ring.
The FIA explained at the time that Bottas had made "an exceptionally accurate and fortuitous judgement call, anticipating the moment the lights went out with great precision".
Rival drivers, most prominently Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel, refused to believe Bottas' quoted time, insisting that the Finn had made a jump start.
The FIA has tweaked the Sporting Regulations to underline the penalty for a jump start, but has also included the possibility of a sanction if a driver is not correctly positioned in their grid slot.
Drivers have occasionally angled their cars or lined up in a questionable manner, most notably Vettel in China, when he positioned his SF70-H over the left of his grid spot to avoid a damp patch.
An amended version of Article 36.13 of the Sporting Regulations states that:
Either of the penalties under Articles 38.3c) or d) [a drive through penalty or 10-second stop-and-go penalty] will be imposed on any driver who is judged to have:
a) Moved before the start signal is given, such judgement being made by an FIA approved and supplied transponder fitted to each car, or:
b) Positioned his car on the starting grid in such a way that the transponder is unable to detect the moment at which the car first moved from its grid position after the start signal is given.
This means that if a driver lines up in a manner in which the mandatory transponder cannot detect the car, then they would be liable for a sanction.
An F1 driver has not been penalised for a jump start since Marcus Ericsson's transgression at the 2015 Austrian Grand Prix.