Vettel's Start at Suzuka

KekeTheKing

Banned
Supporter
Sorry if many of you have already seen and heard about this, but I just got the FOM highlight video from Japan and it gives the clearest shot of Seb's (near?) Jump Start. There is no doubt that he moved before the lights went out, but apparently there wasn't enough movement to trigger the sensor... or was it that he came to a complete stop before making his official start. Kubica noticed it and radioed in about it while his wheel was coming off.



I don't think he really got much advantage with that slight movement, but it does make you wonder about the regs and the grid spot sensors. I just read the FIA's Start Procedure Regulations and I did not find a satisfactory answer to my questions.

The only thing I've found is the very definition of a Jump Start: When a driver moves off his grid position before the five red lights have been switched off to signal the start. Sensors detect premature movement and a jump start earns a driver a penalty.

This isn't an attack on Vettel or the FIA, I just wanted to hear what the collective wisdom of ClipTheApex has to say about this (non?) event.
 

Speshal

World Champion
Valued Member
In my humble opinion, yes, he pre-empted the start, however he then corrected it and (I'm probably wrong here) stopped before the front wheel nut crossed the centre of the grid line (which is I think the tolerance for a jump start) - Christian Horner certainly shat himself.

Kubica must have eyes like a hawk (or he was watching the leader and not the lights?)

If anyone got a penalty for that it would be most unfair
 

GeoffP

Thank you and good night
Contributor
I agree with Speshal, even if the regs are not 100% black and white I would say that Vettel was within the spirit of the rules if not the fact...

Having said that, I would love that video of Horner in slo-mo, replay it at the start of every F1 weekend!
 

sportsman

Sidecar racers have the biggest cojones
Contributor
Speshal said:
In my humble opinion, yes, he pre-empted the start, however he then corrected it and (I'm probably wrong here) stopped before the front wheel nut crossed the centre of the grid line (which is I think the tolerance for a jump start) - Christian Horner certainly shat himself.

Kubica must have eyes like a hawk (or he was watching the leader and not the lights?)

If anyone got a penalty for that it would be most unfair
Exactly that Spheshal. Look at the amount of time before his front wheels cross the grid line.
 

snowy

Champion Elect
The problem with that kind of movement and the reason it is usually punished (Particularly in athletic sprint events) is that it can have a knock on or adverse effect upon the other competitors in the race.

That kind of movement already is or definitely should be outside the rules, IMHO.

It's very off putting.
 
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Nomad

Guest
I have been the Chief Start Judge at a number of pro events and my opinion is that he did not leave his start box and did not jump the start. If someone keyed on him and jumped the start, it is because they were focused on the wrong thing and it is their fault not his.
 

KekeTheKing

Banned
Supporter
snowy said:
The problem with that kind of movement and the reason it is usually punished (Particularly in athletic sprint events) is that it can have a knock on or adverse effect upon the other competitors in the race.
I thought about that as well, and there is no doubt that Kubica saw the movement, but it obviously didn't compromise his start. In fact, there is a chance that it actually helped him on his start. By the time Robert had a chance to react to Seb's slight bobble, the lights were going out.

@Nomad - In your experience as a Start Judge, what precisely constitutes a Jump Start? Are you looking for the slightest movement whatsoever, or is it just making sure that they haven't left the Start Box before the lights go out.

If movement is allowed before the lights go out, providing the driver hasn't left his Grid Box, I think you would see more drivers trying to time things just perfectly, knowing that they can have another shot at it if they just come to a complete stop again.
 

sportsman

Sidecar racers have the biggest cojones
Contributor
A jump start is if the FIA supplied transponder shows a continous forward motion before the lights go out.
A slight jerk such as Vettels would not show continous forward motion so therefore it would not be classified as a jump start.
In actual fact far from giving him any advantage it would in reality slow his start time.
To attempt it delibrately would be a very risky tactic. Not only are we talking in terms of fractions of seconds but there is a real danger of triggering the anti stall device.
The comparison with athlectics is not really valid.In athletics the athletes are started by a noise not lights.
And in a 100 metre race which lasts 10 seconds give or take then a couple of thousandths is significant.
Also in athletics the runners are all in a line.In longer distances say 400m which do have staggered starts the amount of false starts is much lower.
 

KekeTheKing

Banned
Supporter
sportsman said:
In actual fact far from giving him any advantage it would in reality slow his start time.
It didn't have any noticeable effect on Vettel's start here. Or maybe Webber's start was even worse than it appeared.

A ways back, drivers would often creep slightly in their grid box in anticipation of the start. Jump starts were rarely (never?) enforced in the 70's-early 80's, and it seemed many drivers would try and get that slight twitch going before the flag dropped/light went green.

I realize the start mechanics have changed a bit since those days, and I've never driven anything resembling an F1 car, but I don't see how Seb's getaway was compromised by initiating his start a fraction of a second early. Vettel has already shown how difficult it is to completely botch a getaway these days when he took off in 2nd gear from the Singapore pitlane and was only marginally delayed.

I agree that a penalty here would have been extremely harsh, and when the term "continuous motion" is invoked, a penalty was certainly unwarranted. Obviously the FIA didn't see anything wrong with the movement, as we never saw a replay from Vettel's onboard, heard Kubica's radio transmission, or were informed of anything resembling an infraction. But then again, the FIA didn't notice a problem when Massa lined up outside the boundary of his grid box at Spa either.
 

sportsman

Sidecar racers have the biggest cojones
Contributor
Thats true.But I was struck by this comment from Webber the post race press conference.

MW: Yeah. First of all, quite a tight fight in qualifying. Obviously it’s very important to get pole here in Suzuka, so Seb did a good job there, very close between us, but in the end he got the pole. And then Robert got an incredible start, the best start out of the top five, just like an absolute cannon off third on the grid

http://www.formula1.com/news/headlines/ ... 11376.html

Did Vettels wobble actually benefit Kubica.
 
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Nomad

Guest
Keke, we didn't have the level of computerization that F1 uses. Our criterion was whether the car (or motorcycle) left the start box with the front wheel(s) past the line. Instead of sensors, we used eyeballs. Still some high buck pro races were governed this way. I covered the first two rows and the assistants had assigned rows behind that. I reported my rows to the Chief Steward immediately then informed the CS of my assistants information. These were appealable but in most amateur races over here the decision of the start judges is not subject to appeal.

I know, I know; TMI !!!
 

Chad Stewarthill

Champion Elect
Contributor
Surely it's not as important whether a cars' wheels are marginally ahead of the line, as whether the car is moving or stationary? A driver would gain a much greater advantage from getting the car rolling fractionally early, even if he started from a few centimetres further back, than if he started from rest a few centimetres in front of the line. That's why the sensors pick up movement, not position.

That's why I believe Vettel was not penalised; because he managed to stop the car just before the lights went out. That's also probably why Massa's infringment at Spa was not picked up, as the sensors (if they only detect motion) could not indicate to race control that he was actually out of position.
 
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Nomad

Guest
My personal opinion is that movement is more important than a small bit of distance if the result is measured 10 meters down the track. The small time of earlier acceleration is magnified where distance is just distance.
 

sportsman

Sidecar racers have the biggest cojones
Contributor
Nomad said:
My personal opinion is that movement is more important than a small bit of distance if the result is measured 10 meters down the track. The small time of earlier acceleration is magnified where distance is just distance.
Perfectly true.Irrespective of the actual distance a car that has moving forward has overcome it's inertia.

Vetel moved forward then stopped again.He must have been stationary when the lights went out.
When the red lights go out that triggers the lap timing mechanism.If the car is moving when that happens the timing transponder on the car would clearly show that.We all know that the timing clock is accurate to thousandts of a second.
Secondly the telemetery would clearly show by the gyros if the car had started before the lights were extinguished.
 

KekeTheKing

Banned
Supporter
Nomad said:
Keke, we didn't have the level of computerization that F1 uses. Our criterion was whether the car (or motorcycle) left the start box with the front wheel(s) past the line. Instead of sensors, we used eyeballs. Still some high buck pro races were governed this way. I covered the first two rows and the assistants had assigned rows behind that. I reported my rows to the Chief Steward immediately then informed the CS of my assistants information. These were appealable but in most amateur races over here the decision of the start judges is not subject to appeal.

I know, I know; TMI !!!
Thanks for the info Nomad, that makes sense to me.

sportsman said:
Did Vettels wobble actually benefit Kubica.
I think Bob almost certainly benefited from Vettel's movement. And I think it's possible that Button took advantage as well, as he was well clear of Alonso into Turn 1. I'm not convinced the racing line was solely responsible for the first couple of grid rows on the left hand side getting away so much quicker than the right side.

The knock-on effect of movement on the starting grid when the lights are about to go out is that other drivers could be affected either positively or negatively. I realize their responsibility is to focus on the lights for their getaway, but in a tense moment like that, I would think it very difficult not to react to movement from another car. This time it worked out for Kubica, next time it might not.
 
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