FIA is working on improving visibility of F1 start lights in Bahrain

The FIA is working to make Formula 1's starting lights more visible in Bahrain, as bigger wings on the 2019 cars made the lights difficult to view in Australia

FIA is working on improving visibility of F1 start lights in Bahrain

Williams driver Robert Kubica, who was last on the grid in Melbourne, and Red Bull's Pierre Gasly who started 17th, both revealed after the race that their vision of the lights was blocked by the car in front.

"When I stopped [on the grid] I couldn't see the lights," said Kubica. "The rear wing of the McLaren [of Carlos Sainz] was hiding it, so I could see the first block [of lights] and not the rest. So I had to move to the left - and it was a bit of a panic moment."

Gasly added: "With the new bigger rear wings, I couldn't see the lights on the grid so I had to react with the cars around me and I lost a couple of places."

The FIA heard about the drivers' complaints after the Melbourne race, and has conducted an investigation in to why the problem occurred.

Its conclusion is that rather than it being a one off, the issue has arisen as an unintended consequence of the new larger rear wings this year.

For 2019, as part of the aerodynamic rule changes aimed at helping improve overtaking, the rear wings have been made wider by 100mm.

Furthermore, the wings are 70mm taller, which was partly influenced by a push to lift the rear wing endplates from blocking what drivers could see in their rear view mirrors.

The wider and taller wing is enough for it to encroach on the line of sight between drivers at the back of the grid and the start lights.

With the lights having a standard height at all F1 races, there is a strong likelihood that the visibility problem will come up again.

It is understood that the FIA is now working with the F1 Group on an permanent solution that can be in place from the next race in Bahrain.

One possible answer would be to have an extra set of repeater lights situated halfway down the grid so it is visible to the cars at the back.

F1 did have such a set of repeater lights from 2009 when the problem last came up, but these were removed after the new lower wings from 2017 meant they were no longer necessary.

Last year, the repeater lights were installed low down at the front of the grid to ensure that drivers could still see lights if their view of the main gantry was blocked by the halo.

These have stayed in place for this season.

shares
comments
Pirelli finalising tyre testing plans for 2021 18-inch F1 wheels

Previous article

Pirelli finalising tyre testing plans for 2021 18-inch F1 wheels

Next article

The real impact of F1's fastest-lap point

The real impact of F1's fastest-lap point
Load comments
Can Red Bull really win anywhere now it’s toppled a Mercedes F1 stronghold? Plus

Can Red Bull really win anywhere now it’s toppled a Mercedes F1 stronghold?

OPINION: Red Bull team boss Christian Horner reckoned Max Verstappen winning the French Grand Prix – an event where Mercedes had previously been dominant – would signal “we can beat them anywhere”. Here’s how that claim stacks up looking at the rest of the 2021 season

The IndyCar feature that Paul Ricard desperately needs in F1 Plus

The IndyCar feature that Paul Ricard desperately needs in F1

OPINION: The French Grand Prix offered a surprisingly interesting spectacle, despite the headache-inducing nature of the circuit. But IndyCar's Road America race offered far more in terms of action - and the increased jeopardy at the Elkhart Lake venue might be something Paul Ricard needs in future...

Formula 1
Jun 22, 2021
French Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

French Grand Prix Driver Ratings

The French GP was a weekend decided by tiny margins both at the front of the field, as Red Bull inflicted a comeback defeat on Mercedes, and in the battle for the minor points places. That's reflected in our driver ratings, where several drivers came close to a maximum score

Formula 1
Jun 21, 2021
How Red Bull took French GP "payback" on a day of Mercedes mistakes Plus

How Red Bull took French GP "payback" on a day of Mercedes mistakes

The French GP has been a stronghold for Mercedes since Paul Ricard's return to the calendar in 2018. But that all changed on Sunday, as a clever two-stop strategy guided Red Bull's Max Verstappen to make a race-winning pass on the penultimate lap - for once leaving Mercedes to experience the pain of late defeat it has so often inflicted on Red Bull

Formula 1
Jun 21, 2021
The new age of sponsorship facilitated by F1’s relevancy push Plus

The new age of sponsorship facilitated by F1’s relevancy push

The age of the high-profile title sponsor is over, says JONATHAN NOBLE, but Formula 1’s commitment to technological innovation is attracting high-tech partners

Formula 1
Jun 20, 2021
How Britain’s lost Ferrari star epitomised a bygone F1 era Plus

How Britain’s lost Ferrari star epitomised a bygone F1 era

The 1956 Italian Grand Prix was over for Juan Manuel Fangio, along with his hopes of winning the world championship – until his Ferrari team-mate (and title rival) voluntarily surrendered his own car so Fangio could continue. NIGEL ROEBUCK recalls Peter Collins, a remarkable sportsman

Formula 1
Jun 19, 2021
The 'surprise' Mercedes time that puts F1's victory fight back on a knife-edge in France Plus

The 'surprise' Mercedes time that puts F1's victory fight back on a knife-edge in France

Red Bull led the way after the first two practice sessions for the 2021 French Grand Prix, but only just ahead of Mercedes. There was all the usual practice skulduggery complicating the performance picture, but one aspect seen at the world champion squad gave it a ‘surprise’ lift, as it looks to leave its street-circuit struggles firmly in the past

Formula 1
Jun 18, 2021
How Ferrari got its F1 recovery plan working Plus

How Ferrari got its F1 recovery plan working

After its worst campaign in 40 years, the famous Italian team had to bounce back in 2021 – and it appears to be delivering. Although it concedes the pole positions in Monaco and Baku paint a somewhat misleading picture of its competitiveness, the team is heading into the 2022 rules revamp on much stronger footing to go for wins again

Formula 1
Jun 18, 2021