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Standing restarts were Whiting's idea

NEWS STORY
09/07/2014

Charlie Whiting has revealed that the move to introduce standing restarts following red flags was his idea.

The FIA's Race Director, Official Starter and Safety Delegate, made the revelation as he looked ahead to the inaugural Russian Grand Prix which takes places on October 12.

"The standing restart is something that I was involved in personally," he said. "I was talking to someone at McLaren and we came up with this idea how to make this show a bit better. When you watch a race, what is the most exciting part of the race? The start. So, why not have a second one? It makes sense.

"Of course, it offends some people because it's not pure racing," he admitted. "It's been done for the show. Some people were even silly enough to say it's dangerous. Well, if it's dangerous, you wouldn't even have the start of the race, would you? I understand why some people might think it's too false as it's not what normally happens. But why not? I can't see any downside to it. It will provide more excitement; you seldom get any changes of position at a rolling restart, so this might provide an opportunity for changes in position. Some drivers may be worried of losing their lead, but then again other drivers might get a chance to gain something from it. I think it's an interesting idea. It's been approved. Now we've got to work on making it work."

While there will be more than a few raised eyebrows regarding his apparent dismissal of safety fears, Whiting also defends the new (for 2014) rules, insisting that the racing is as good as ever.

"I do not think that the races have become less exciting," he said. "I think that the new sound of engines that has been talked about is excellent and Formula 1 is better for it. What you've got to remember, the reason for this is to provide F1 with an efficient engine. What we've got now is an engine that is producing more power with 35% less fuel. I think that is a remarkable engineering achievement.

"This is what F1 is all about - the pinnacle of excellence - that's what the sport has provided in this case. Some people do not like it because it's not a traditional racing engine, but it is an incredible piece of equipment. Last year cars have been using around 145 kilograms of fuel, now they use one hundred. I think there was no race when drivers had to drive slowly to save fuel. They manage the fuel to a certain limit. It is so clever! The downforce had to be reduced in order to make the cars more efficient aerodynamically, otherwise they would not achieve the fuel target, but that's all something that teams have to work on."

Looking ahead to October's race, Whiting is delighted with the improvements since his last visit.

"It looks so much better! I mean the last time I was here it was a big building site. It's been a year since I've been here and it looks really beautiful now.

"It's clear that everything has been done really nicely," he continued. "It will be a fast track, and I think it will be a really competitive track as there will be at least two or three places where drivers can overtake properly. I think that will be a very interesting track and a very spectacular race.

Sections of the (Russian) media have expressed concern about the track being too narrow and that turn four will see cars running off track - one of Whiting's crusades at present.

"I doubt it very much," he says. "We're happy about the safety here. It's absolutely first class, I could not describe it any better than that. We've done lots of simulations on the track and that's how we've arranged the track itself, the runoff area and the energy absorbing barriers. It's all been simulated, and we are entirely confident that the Autodrom is absolutely first-class when it comes to safety."

Having revealed that the two DRS zones will run between Turn 1 and 2 and between Turns 10 and 12, Whiting is asked to nominate his favourite section of the track.

"(It's) a little difficult to say at the moment," he admits, "but I think that turns from 4 to 10 - those look like fast sweeping corners and I think it are going to be quite good to watch. There will not be much overtaking in those corners, but I think you will see overtaking in turn 2, turn 13 and, possibly, turn 17.

"It's going to be a spectacular race and I'm really looking forward to it. The track is going to be really fast and the drivers will love it. I'm sure of that."

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by Steve W, 11/07/2014 13:21

"Standing starts are exciting because there is only one of them each race. Only one chance to get it right or wrong. Put in more of them during the course of the season and they will become less and less exciting. Been there, done that sort of thing.

So much for the "show"..."

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2. Posted by Kkiirmki, 11/07/2014 5:18

"The thing that surprises me more is that a third of Pitpass readers agree with him."

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3. Posted by stoney, 10/07/2014 20:41

"So apparently the "safety" car, deployed for interests of "safety", was too boring and is now the "F1 lottery" car.... :(

Utter nonsense."

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4. Posted by Marshal-BeeJ, 10/07/2014 9:03

"This is stupid. As shown on Sunday after a Red Flag the race should be a standing restart not a rolling one, and then after a Saftey Car under the new rules it will be a standing restart. I beggers belief that F1 will have virtually swapped the two ways of controlling a race + the lost laps under the saftey car which technically will have become a red flag.

"

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5. Posted by gturner38, 10/07/2014 1:25

"He's being disingenuous to say there is no safety concern. On the original start, every one has either fresh rubber or rubber that ran one or two qualifying laps. With a restart, there could be 15 or 20 laps difference in tire wear with the older tires likely ahead of the newer ones. The dirty line will also likely be a little dirtier, though not as bad as the corners.

As for generating passing opportunities, that's precisely why I don't like the idea. The safety car isn't supposed to be about making the show better and it already can unfairly ruin a team's strategy. We don't need someone who's running 15 seconds back in 3rd or 4th to get a win because they get a great start with a handful of laps to go."

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6. Posted by GrahamG, 09/07/2014 22:39

"Pathetic beyond belief"

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7. Posted by markscottuk, 09/07/2014 19:51

"What happened to the rule that any race stopped within the first 2 laps is declared void and any restart would be from a new grid at the original distance?

Take places like Monaco and Canada, they will be forever restarting as someone will invariably have a crash on the restart. "

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8. Posted by Daydah, 09/07/2014 19:47

"Instead of civilising safety cars why not get rid of them except in extreme circumstances. Neutralise the section of track where there is a serious incident and make all cars pass through on the pitlane limiter. Racing can continue without the artificial safety car bunching and the silly loss of time over who can overtake and the wait for them to catch up. Pitstops would not accrue artificial advantage if taken at a particular instant. There would be no retirements as fragile transmissions are wrenched apart by repeated standing starts. We want uninterrupted racing not gimmicks. "

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9. Posted by Ro, 09/07/2014 17:32

"What a crass idea ! Why change something that works of does Mr Whiting want to be seen to press the button again ??? Methinks hes been around a Mr B Ecclestone too long....just leave it as it is, tyres will be at the running temperature and the crowd has something to look at. Just look at what happened at Silverstone. Again its all for the "show""

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