2021 Starting procedure

Sporting Regulations, Article 36

36.1. 40 minutes before the start of the formation lap the pit exit will be opened and all cars, including any that are required to start the race from the pit lane, will be permitted to leave the pit lane to cover a reconnaissance lap. Should any driver 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.
At the end of these laps all cars starting the race from the grid should stop on the grid in starting order with their engines stopped.

All drivers going to the pit exit at this time must do so at a constant speed and with constant throttle. This applies over the whole of the pit lane whether a driver is going to the pit exit from his garage or travelling through the pit lane between reconnaissance laps.
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.
Once pit exit is opened, no more than forty two (42) team personnel for each Competitor are permitted on the grid.

36.2 32 minutes before the scheduled 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.
30 minutes before the scheduled 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 (5) 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.

36.3 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 (10) minute signal is shown, everybody except drivers, officials and team technical staff must leave the grid.

36.4 When the five (5) minute signal is shown all cars on the grid must:
a) have their wheels fitted; and
b) tyre blankets must also be disconnected from any power supply at this time and must not be reconnected during the start procedure, unless the delayed start signal is shown; and
c) team personnel and equipment trolleys must commence leaving the grid.

A penalty under Article 38.3(d) will be imposed on any driver whose car did not have all its wheels fully fitted and/or tyre blankets disconnected at the five (5) minute signal.
After this signal wheels may only be removed in the pit lane.

36.5 When the three (3) minute signal is shown, no more than sixteen team personnel for each Competitor are permitted on the grid.

36.6 When the one (1) 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 as specified in Article 36.2. A penalty under Article 38.3(d) will be imposed on any driver who fails to 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.

36.7 When the green lights are illuminated, all cars on the grid should 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.
Marshals will be instructed to push any car (or cars) which remain on the grid into the pit lane by the fastest route immediately after cars able to do so have left the grid. Any driver being pushed from the grid may not attempt to start the car and must follow the instructions of the marshals.

36.8 During the formation lap practice starts are forbidden and the formation must be kept as tight as possible.

36.9 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 as specified in Article 36.2.
A penalty under Article 38.3(d) 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.

36.10 When the cars come back to the grid at the end of the formation lap (or laps, see Articles 36.1514(c) and 42.105), they must stop within their respective starting grid positions, keeping their engines running.
There will be a standing start, the signal being given by means of lights activated by the permanent starter.
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.

36.11 Unless specifically authorised by the Safety Delegate, during the start of a race the pit wall must be kept free of all persons with the exception of the team personnel permitted under Article 22.13, officials and fire marshals.

36.12 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 Competitors will be informed using the official messaging system. 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.
When leaving the grid to complete the extra formation lap all drivers must respect the pit lane speed limit until they pass pole position.
The Competitor 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 as specified in Article 36.2. A penalty under Article 38.3(d) 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:

i) 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 Competitors will be informed of the likely delay using 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.
ii) 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.
iii) 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.
iv) Once the car is in the pit lane his team personnel may attempt to start it, if successful the driver may re-join the race. The driver and mechanics must follow the instructions of the marshals at all times during such a procedure.

36.13 Should Article 36.1211 apply, 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.

36.14 Any of the penalties under Articles 38.3 a), b), or c) will be imposed on any driver who is judged to have:

a) Moved before the start signal is given, such judgement being made by an FIA approved and supplied transponder fitted to each car, or;

b) Positioned his car on the starting grid in such a way that the transponder is unable to detect the moment at which the car first moved from its grid position after the start signal is given.

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

a) If it starts to rain after the seven (7) minute signal but before the race is started and, in the opinion of the Race Director Competitors should be given the opportunity to change tyres, the abort lights will be shown at the start line and the starting procedure will begin again at the ten (10) 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 Competitors will be informed of the likely delay via the official messaging system. Once the start time is known at least ten (10) minutes warning will be given.

c) If track conditions are considered unsuitable to start the race at the scheduled time the start of the formation lap may take place behind the safety car. If this is the case, at the ten (10) minute signal its orange lights will be illuminated, this being the signal to the drivers that the formation lap will be started behind the safety car. At the same time this will be confirmed to all Competitors via the official messaging system.

When the green lights are illuminated the safety car will leave the grid and all drivers must follow in grid order, no more than ten car lengths apart, and must respect the pit lane speed limit until they pass pole position. The safety car will continue until conditions are considered suitable for racing.

Any cars that were starting the race from the pit lane may join the formation lap once the whole field has passed the end of the pit lane for the first time. Any such cars may complete all formation laps but must enter the pit lane after the safety car returns to the pits and start the race from the end of the pit lane in the order they get there.

Any other car entering the pit lane during the formation laps may re-join the track but must enter the pit lane after the safety car returns to the pits and start the race from the end of the pit lane in the order they get there.

A penalty under Article 38.3(d) will be imposed on any driver whose tyre(s) are changed for a different specification before the start of the race.

Overtaking during the lap(s) behind the safety car is only permitted under the following circumstances:

i) If a car is delayed when leaving the grid and cars behind cannot avoid passing it without unduly delaying the remainder of the field, or
ii) If there is more than one car starting from the pit lane and one of them is unduly delayed.
In either case 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 delayed in either way, and who is unable to re-establish the original starting order before he reaches the first safety car line on the lap the safety car returns to the pits, must enter the pit lane and may only join the race once the whole field has passed the end of the pit lane after the start of the race.

A penalty under Article 38.3(d) 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 on the lap the safety car returns to the pits.

d) When the clerk of the course decides it is safe to call in the safety car a message “STANDING START” will be sent to all Competitors via the official messaging system, all FIA light panels will display “SS” and the car’s orange lights will be extinguished. This will be the signal to the Competitors and drivers that it will be entering the pit lane at the end of that lap.
At this point the first car in line behind the safety car may dictate the pace and, if necessary, fall more than ten car lengths behind it.
Once the safety car has entered the pit lane all cars, with the exception of those required to start from the pit lane, must return to the grid, take up their grid positions and follow the procedures set out in Article 36.9 to 36.13.

e) If, after several formation laps behind the safety car, track conditions are considered unsuitable to start the race from a standing start, the message “ROLLING START” will be sent to all Competitors via the official messaging system, all FIA light panels will display “RS” and the car’s orange lights will be extinguished. This will be the signal to the Competitors and drivers that it will be entering the pit lane at the end of that lap.
At this point the first car in line behind the safety car may dictate the pace and, if necessary, fall more than ten car lengths behind it.
As the safety car is approaching the pit entry the FIA light panels will be extinguished and replaced by waved green flags with green lights at the Line.

f) No driver may overtake another car on the track until he passes the Line (see Article 5.3) for the first time after the safety car has returned to the pits. The race will be deemed to have started when the leading car crosses the Line after the safety car has returned to the pits.

g) If, after several formation laps behind the safety car, track conditions are considered unsuitable to start the race, the message “START PROCEDURE SUSPENDED” will be sent to all Competitors via the official messaging system and all cars must enter the pit lane behind the safety car. The procedures described in Articles 41 and 42 must then be followed and there will be no standing start.

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