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Race start procedure

Published with permission from the Federation Internationale de l' Automobile.

38) STARTING PROCEDURE
38.1
30 minutes before the start of the formation lap the cars will 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.
38.2 Any car which has not taken up its position on the grid by the time the five minute signal is shown will not be permitted to do so and must start from the pit lane in accordance with Article 38.3.
38.3 17 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.
15 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 reached the end of the pit lane. These 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.
38.4 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.
38.5 When the three minute signal is shown all cars must have their wheels fitted, after this signal wheels may only be removed in the pit lane or on the grid during a race suspension.
Any car which does not have all its wheels fully fitted at the three minute signal must start the race from the back of the grid or the pit lane. Under these circumstances a marshal holding a yellow flag will prevent the car (or cars) from leaving the grid until all cars able to do so have left to start the formation lap.
38.6 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 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 this case, marshals with yellow flags will stand beside any car (or cars) concerned to warn drivers behind.
38.7 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 proceed at a greatly reduced speed until clear of any team personnel standing beside the track. 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.
38.8 During the formation lap practice starts are forbidden and the formation must be kept as tight as possible.
38.9 Overtaking during the formation lap is only permitted if a car is delayed when leaving its grid position 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 who is delayed leaving the grid may not overtake another moving car if he was stationary after the remainder of the cars had crossed the Line, and must start the race from the back of the grid. If more than one driver is affected, they must form up at the back of the grid in the order they left to complete the formation lap. If the Line is not situated in front of pole position, and for the purposes of this Article as well as Article 40.16, it will be deemed to be a white line one metre in front of pole position.
Either of the penalties under Articles 16.3a) or b) will be imposed on any driver who, in the opinion of the Stewards, unnecessarily overtook another car during the formation lap.
38.10 When the cars come back to the grid at the end of the formation lap, they will stop on their respective 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.
38.11 Unless specifically authorised by the FIA, during the start of a race the pit wall must be kept free of all persons with the exception of two people from each team, officials and fire marshals.
38.12 Any car which is unable to maintain starting order during the entire formation lap or is moving when the one second light comes on must enter the pit lane and start from the end of the pit lane as specified in Article 38.3.
This will not apply to any car which is temporarily delayed during the lap and which is able to regain its position, without endangering itself or any other car, before the leading car has taken up its position on the grid.
38.13 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 delayed 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 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, all engines will be stopped and the new formation lap will start five minutes later with the race distance reduced by one lap. The next signal will be the three minute signal.
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 rejoin the race. The driver and mechanics must follow the instructions of the track marshals at all times during such a procedure.
38.14 Should Article 38.13 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.
38.15 Either of the penalties under Articles 16.3a) or b) will be imposed for a false start judged using an FIA supplied transponder which must be fitted to the car as specified.
38.16 Only in the following cases will any variation in the start procedure be allowed :
a) If it starts to rain after the three 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 extreme-weather tyres, the abort lights will be shown on the Line and information concerning the likely delay will be displayed on the timing monitors. 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 40.16 will apply.
38.17 The stewards may use any video or electronic means to assist them in reaching a decision. The stewards may overrule judges of fact. A breach of the provisions of the Code or these Sporting Regulations relating to the starting procedure, may result in the exclusion of the car and driver concerned from the Event.

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