Formula 1’s governing body, the FIA, has explained why Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport driver Valtteri Bottas was not given a penalty after he jumped the start at the Hungarian Grand Prix, distracted by a light on his dashboard.
Race director, Michael Masi said he avoided punishment as the detection system built into the track was not triggered.
Masi said there are two parts to the decision on whether a false start has occurred; the sporting regulations, and the data held by the transponder fitted to every car.
“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,” he said.
“There is a sensor in the road, in the track, as well. There’s a tolerance within that, and as we saw in Japan last year, that is the determining factor.”
He added: “So there was nothing further to have a look at. We spoke to the timekeepers immediately, and they reviewed all the data, and that was the end of the matter.”
While Bottas was not penalised, Haas F1 Team’s Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean received 10 second time penalties after they were instructed by the team to pit on the formation lap. However, regulations state that such communications are prohibited.
Masi explained: “There was a technical directive that came out in 2017 clarifying what communications the team can make to the drivers on the formation lap, which relates to Article 27.1 of the sporting regulations, which is that the driver must drive the car alone, and unaided.
“Part of that summons is that both drivers were called in by their engineers to change tyres on the formation lap, which is not permitted within that technical directive that was issued at the time about what can and can’t [be said].
“In essential terms the only communication that can be made with the driver during the formation lap is to do with safety matters, so if it’s an issue of imminent safety, then that communication can take place.”