Starting procedure

At each Grand Prix, teams and drivers must comply with very strict starting procedure which begins 30 minutes before the formation lap when the pit exit will be opened and cars will be permitted to leave the pit lane to cover a reconnaissance lap. At the end of this lap they will stop on the grid in starting order with their engines stopped.

Should they wish to cover more than one reconnaissance lap, this must be done by driving down the pit lane at greatly reduced speed between each of the laps. If a driver stops in his pit between reconnaissance laps the car may only re-join the track by being driven from the driver’s garage and not from his pit stop position. Any car which does not complete a reconnaissance lap and reach the grid under its own power will not be permitted to start the race from the grid.

22 minutes before the start of the formation lap, a warning signal will be given indicating that the end of the pit lane will be closed in two minutes.

20 minutes before the start of the formation lap the end of the pit lane will be closed and a second warning signal will be given. Any car which is still in the pit lane can start from the end of the pit lane provided it got there under its own power. If more than one car is affected they must line up in the order in which they qualified. However, any car reaching the end of the pit lane after the five minute signal must start behind any car already at the pit exit.All such cars may then join the race once the whole field has passed the end of the pit lane for the first time after the start.

The approach of the start will be announced by signals shown ten minutes, five minutes, three minutes, one minute and fifteen seconds before the start of the formation lap, each of which will be accompanied by an audible warning.

When the ten minute signal is shown, everybody except drivers, officials and team technical staff must leave the grid.

When the three minute signal is shown all cars on the grid must have their wheels fitted, after this signal wheels may only be removed in the pit lane.

A penalty will be imposed on any driver whose car did not have all its wheels fully fitted at the three minute signal.

When the one minute signal is shown, engines should be started and all team personnel must leave the grid by the time the 15 second signal is given taking all equipment with them.

If any team personnel or team equipment remain on the grid after the 15 second signal has been shown the driver of the car concerned must start the race from the pit lane.

If any driver needs assistance after the 15 second signal he must raise his arm and, when the remainder of the cars able to do so have left the grid, marshals will be instructed to push the car into the pit lane. In either of the above cases, marshals with yellow flags will stand beside any car (or cars) concerned to warn drivers behind.

When the green lights are illuminated, the cars will begin the formation lap with the pole position driver leading. When leaving the grid all drivers must respect the pit lane speed limit until they pass pole position.

During the formation lap practice starts are forbidden and the formation must be kept as tight as possible. Overtaking during the formation lap is only permitted if a car is delayed and cars behind cannot avoid passing it without unduly delaying the remainder of the field. In this case, drivers may only overtake to re-establish the original starting order. Any driver delayed in this way, and who is unable to re-establish the original starting order before he reaches the first safety car line, must enter the pit lane and start from the end of the pit lane.

A penalty will be imposed on any driver who fails to enter the pit lane if he has not re-established the original starting order before he reaches the first safety car line.

Once all the cars have come to a halt the five second light will appear followed by the four, three, two and one second lights. At any time after the one second light appears, the race will be started by extinguishing all red lights.

If, after returning to the starting grid at the end of the formation lap a problem arises, the following procedures shall apply:

a) If a car develops a problem that could endanger the start the driver must immediately raise his hands above his head and the marshal responsible for that row must immediately wave a yellow flag. If the race director decides the start should be aborted the green lights will be illuminated two seconds after the abort lights are switched on, a board saying “EXTRA FORMATION LAP” will be displayed and all cars able to do so must complete a further formation lap whilst the car which developed the problem is moved into the pit lane.

The team may then attempt to rectify the problem and, if successful, the car may then start from the end of the pit lane. Should there be more than one car involved their starting order will be determined by the order in which they reached the end of the pit lane. Every time this happens the race will be shortened by one lap.

b) If another problem arises which does not necessitate a delay to the start (see c) below), drivers will be asked to carry out an extra formation lap as set out in a) above. Any driver who caused the start to be aborted, and is then able to start the extra formation lap must enter the pit lane at the end of the lap and start the race. A penalty will be imposed on any driver who fails to start the race from the pit lane.

c) If any other problem arises, and if the race director decides the start should be delayed, the following procedures shall apply:

1) If the race has not been started, the abort lights will be switched on, a board saying “DELAYED START” will be displayed, engines should be stopped and all teams will be informed of the likely delay via the official messaging system. Once the start time is known at least five minutes warning will be given. Tyre changing on the grid is not permitted during such a delay. Every time this happens the race will be shortened by one lap.
2) If the race has been started the marshals alongside the grid will wave their yellow flags to inform the drivers that a car is stationary on the grid.
3) If, after the start, a car is immobilised on the starting grid, it shall be the duty of the marshals to push it into the pit lane by the fastest route. Any driver being pushed from the grid may not attempt to start the car.
4) Once the car is in the pit lane his mechanics may attempt to start it, if successful the driver may re-join the race. The driver and mechanics must follow the instructions of the track marshals at all times during such a procedure.

In the case of above procedure, the race will nevertheless count for the Championship no matter how often the procedure is repeated, or how much the race is shortened as a result.

Penalties will be imposed for a false start judged using an FIA supplied transponder which must be fitted to the car as specified.

Only in the following cases will any variation in the start procedure be allowed:

a) If it starts to rain after the five minute signal but before the race is started and, in the opinion of the race director teams should be given the opportunity to change tyres, the abort lights will be shown on the Line and the starting procedure will begin again at the ten minute point.

b) If the start of the race is imminent and, in the opinion of the race director, the volume of water on the track is such that it cannot be negotiated safely even on wet-weather tyres, the abort lights will be shown on the Line and all teams will be informed of the likely delay via the official messaging system. Once the start time is known at least ten minutes warning will be given.

c) If the race is started behind the safety car, Article 39.16 will apply.

FIA F1 2017. sporting regulations can be downloaded here.

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