The first three races of the 2020 Formula 1 season have happened, the first two were a double header on the Austrian circuit called Red Bull Ring, while last week the fastest cars in the world raced at the Hungaroring for the Hungarian Grand Prix. During this last GP there was action on the track, some overtaking and a probable rain that never arrived. A controversial moment happened at the start, Lewis Hamilton started from pole position with his teammate, Valtteri Bottas, alongside him. All 5 lights came on, but before they went out the Finnish driver moved and stopped in a matter of tenths of a second, this caused the “anti-stall” mode to activate, therefore he lost many positions. Some people allege that the FIA should have imposed a penalty on Valtteri, however the stewards decided not to. In this article we will explain why.
Initially, the error was minuscule, so it was not detected at first instance, although the consequences were serious, it was only treated as a bad start by the Finnish driver. The first indication of that incident was thanks to the fact that Sebastian Vettel communicated on the radio with his team that Valtteri had jumped the start, so a few minutes later, in the broadcast of the race, the replay was shown and we could see how Bottas moved before the traffic lights went out and a few moments later he stopped again. We must remember that Sebastian Vettel had already been saved from a penalty for the same incident when he jumped the start during the 2019 Japanese Grand Prix.
"There are two parts to that. The means by which a false start is determined is actually clearly determined in the sporting regulations, and it has been the same process for a number of years, which is the transponder that’s fitted to each car is the judgement mechanism.” Michael Masi commented, who is the race director. “There is also a sensor on the track. There is a tolerance within that, and as we saw in Japan last year, that is the determining factor. "
Can VB still snatch P2! 😮 Just a second between VB and VER’s Bull.— Mercedes-AMG F1 (@MercedesAMGF1) July 19, 2020
This one is going all the way to the chequered flag... 👀 pic.twitter.com/HgfezwmffH
"So there was nothing further to look at. We spoke to the timekeepers immediately, and they reviewed all the data, that was the end of the matter.” This was the end of Michael Masi after being asked the reason why there was no sanction for the Mercedes driver.
Another factor that was considered was that there was no advantage for Valtteri, but rather the opposite, the Finnish driver lost numerous positions. Regarding this, Bottas commented: "If I am honest, it was a pretty bad race for me, when you start second your objective is to win the race, but I lost it at the start."
Valtteri commented that there was a light on his steering wheel that went out and he reacted to it, rather than the start lights. “I reacted to a light that went out on my dash, I don't know what it was, but something changed on my steering wheel. I reacted to that instead of the start light, so I went into the anti-stall system and had to start again.” The Mercedes driver confirmed.
The FIA was very strict at the Hungarian Grand Prix as we have to remember that both Haas drivers were penalized with 10 seconds after having received help from the radio on the formation lap, just as Alex Albon was investigated because supposedly his team had dried his position on the starting grid. In short, this was the reason why Valtteri Bottas was not penalized for his false start during the Hungarian Grand Prix.