Race Director Charlie Whiting has revealed that the aborted start during the Australian Grand Prix was due to the uncertainty caused by a warning light triggered by a marshal.
The grid was sent on to a second formation lap after Sahara Force India’s Sergio Perez was hesitant to take his place and then a yellow warning signal went off for Scuderia Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat.
Both events left Whiting unsure as to whether it was safe to proceed with the race at that moment, hence the decision to send them around again.
“I aborted the start because there was uncertainty, and I always want to be certain (or as certain as one can be) that all is well before pressing the start button,” Whiting told Motorsport.com.
“Firstly, Perez had pulled up in the wrong position but, after a few seconds in that position, began pulling forward. And, at the same time, the marshal responsible for the light panel beside Kvyat’s car pressed the yellow button which indicated a problem.
“Neither I nor my colleagues in race control could see a problem so I felt the safest option was to abort and send them off on another formation lap.”
No answer has materialised as to why a warning was triggered for Kvyat, though the marshal may have reacted prematurely due to nerves as a small fire had manifested during the team’s preparations on the grid.
“It was clear from the video that there was nothing wrong with Kvyat’s car nor did he make any signal, so it may well have been a case of nerves on the part of the marshal,” he added.
“It doesn’t fully explain why the button was pressed but people sometimes do inexplicable things under pressure.
“In any case though, the main point is that there was uncertainty as to whether it was safe to give the start so it was aborted. No driver appeared to be to blame so hence no driver was required to start from the pitlane.”