Sebastian Vettel is against standing re-starts in F1 as they often hurt the races of those who happen to fall on the wrong track side numerically.
A peculiar race in many aspects, F1 Tuscan GP at Mugello had a whopping three starts (including red flag re-starts) from a static grid formation – something the likes of which hasn’t been seen since the days of spare cars in the 1990s.
A popular method of race resumption among fans, the revised rule has garnered a mixed reaction from F1 drivers, some enjoying the challenge, and others, complaining about environmental conditions repeatedly tarnishing their race.
Firmly rooted in the latter camp sat Ferrari’s Vettel. The German campaigned against the regulation, which stripped him of numerous positions throughout the day on Sunday, as he repeatedly fell in an undesirable grid box.
“I don’t remember having done so many starts in one day,” Vettel began speaking to host of TV media. “Normally you’d have one. I have to say, I’m not a big fan of that rule because if you’re on the right side of the track, it’s a huge advantage.
“If you’re on the dirty side of the track — we saw this in Monza already — halfway through the race, there are a lot of marbles off-line.” Vettel even went as far as to label the current system a ‘lottery’ which he considers to be hugely unfair.
“I don’t think it’s fair,” said Vettel. “I think we should focus on building cars that can overtake, and not throwing [drivers] into a lottery.” The standing re-start rule was drafted especially for races in wet conditions, when it goes from wet to dry.
However, that hasn’t been possible so far, but Monza and Mugello has given us a glimpse in fully dry conditions. Echoing the sentiments from Vettel is Williams’ George Russell, who lost out hugely at Mugello as his rivals also had a free stop under red flag.
He rallied along with McLaren’s Lando Norris to push the decision-makers to alter some of the rulings, especially on the free tyre stop side. “I think the whole point of the standing start was after like a wet start,” said Russell to media including Racefans.net, Motorsport Week, Motorsport Network, BBC and more.
“If it was a Safety Car start under wet conditions then you can go to a standing start. After a red flag I’m not sure, you’re in the middle of your race, on different fuel loads, we do all of our starts at 100+ kg of fuel, suddenly we did our starts at 40kg or whatever and it has a massive effect on that launch.
“It’s just an unknown for everyone, some people get it right, some people get it wrong, but that’s a lottery. We’re not here to gamble, we’re here to see who’s the quickest and get the most deserving winner. In all honesty now in the last two weeks it’s been a proper shake-up, less so at Mugello, but obviously at Monza it was a huge shake-up ultimately from the guys at the FIA,” summed up Russell.
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