Wet standing starts approval includes new terms agreed by F1 teams

Last week the FIA World Motor Sport Council approved Formula 1's plan to hold standing starts for races held in poor conditions, including details only recently agreed by teams

Wet standing starts approval includes new terms agreed by F1 teams

The aim of the rule change is to retain the excitement of a race start even if the cars need to initially set off behind the safety car.

While the rule is written to also cover reasons other than rain (such as oil on track), assuming that poor weather is the reason, the cars will set off behind the safety car, with the full wet-weather Pirelli tyre compulsory for all drivers.

The laps behind the safety car will effectively be additional formation laps, however only the first tour after the cars leave the grid will not be taken from the original race length.

Drivers starting the race from the pits will be allowed to join the rear of the field behind the safety car to get a feel for the conditions, however they will be forced back to the pitlane when it is time for the safety car to come in and allow the race start procedure to take place.

Drivers cannot follow the safety car into the pits and switch to intermediates or slicks for the start proper, or they will face a subsequent 10 second stop-go penalty. And any driver that pits during the safety car phase before the start will be forced to take the race start from the pit lane.

Of note, drivers starting from the pits are not obliged to take part in the formation laps behind the safety car. While carrying extra fuel could be considered an advantage as it will reduce the need for fuel-saving once the race begins, the teams agreed that the weight penalty for carrying the extra fuel would be greater.

While overtaking is prohibited behind the safety car as normal, the rules state if someone is delayed getting away, "drivers may only overtake to re-establish the original starting order or the order the cars at the pit exit were in when the formation lap was started." Any driver unable to take up his position before the safety car pulls in will be forced to start from the pits.

If conditions do not improve during the laps behind the safety car, the race director can bring the field back into the pits to wait for an improvement in the weather.

This will not count as a race suspension, as the race will not have officially started - but if this does happen, there will not be a second attempt at lining the cars up on the grid for a standing start.

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