Race Director explains why Bottas wasn't penalised for 'jump start'


Having already lost four places by the end of the first lap, Valtteri Bottas and his team feared there would be further punishment to follow after the Finn appeared to jump the start.

"I don't know in detail what kind of lights went on but, I was looking at the start lights and, there was the five lights on, so really just waiting for them to go off, and just before when the lights went off, something either turned on or off, I believe it was the main page of the dash changed to different colour or something - a pretty bright colour," said the Finn at the end of yesterday's Grand Prix when asked to explain what happened.

"That's all what needed for me to react," he added. "I thought the lights went off, and anyway, I was kind of half-seeing the start lights because of the Halo and the position I was, so yeah. It was an odd situation.

"We're going to review on-boards and what exactly happened and I will make sure that nothing is going to be changing on the dash any more just at a crucial moment - because we don't want any distraction like that in a sensitive moment."

While the Finn had clearly moved forward, then stopped and rolled back again, in the eyes of many it constituted a jumped start, even if he actually lost out in the process.

However, the detection sensor mounted in the track surface wasn't triggered.

Asked to explain, Race Director, Michael Masi said: "There are two parts to that. The means by which a false start is determined is actually clearly determined in the sporting regulations, and has been the same process for a number of years, which is the transponder that's fitted to each car is the judgement mechanism.

"There is a sensor in the road, in the track, as well," he continued. "There's a tolerance within that, and as we saw in Japan last year, that is the determining factor.

At Suzuka, Sebastian Vettel's car moved slightly, but like Bottas yesterday, escaped punishment. Ironically, the German was informed by his team yesterday that Bottas had jumped the start.

"So there was nothing further to have a look at," said Masi. "We spoke to the timekeepers immediately, and they reviewed all the data, and that was the end of the matter."

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Published: 20/07/2020
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