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Bottas start movement 'within allowed tolerances' - FIA

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Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Mercedes-Benz F1 W08 Hybrid leads at the start of the race at Formula One

Formula One racing's governing body the FIA say that the incremental movement eventual race winner Valtteri Bottas made a split second before the lights went out in Austria was within the permitted tolerances of the system they have used with extreme accuracy for two decades.

Start regulations allow a small degree of movement from cars as drivers 'sometimes need to make clutch adjustments' - with FIA-supplied transponders monitoring the precise movements.

Bottas made such a rapid getaway from pole that the FIA stewards did investigate him during the race - but a comprehensive analysis found that the Mercedes driver had made ‘an exceptionally accurate and fortuitous judgement call’ when the lights went out, not an illegal jump start.

An FIA statement read: "The jump start system judges whether a car has moved a pre-set (very small) distance between the point at which the last red light comes on and the point at which the lights go out.

"We have found that need to allow for some very small movement, as drivers sometimes need to make clutch adjustments in preparation for the start. This system, which is dependent on the official timing provided by Formula One, has been in operation for some 20 years and has proved extremely reliable in that time.

“In today’s instance, Valtteri Bottas did not exceed this (very small) limit before the start was given. Simply put: he made an exceptionally accurate and fortuitous judgement call, anticipating the moment the lights went out with great precision. Any movement prior to the moment the lights went out was within the tolerances allowed.

"As per art 36.13 of the sporting regulation either of the penalties under Articles 38.3c) or d) will be imposed for a false start judged using an FIA supplied transponder which must be fitted to the car as specified."

Bottas went on to lead all but two laps in Austria, with his 25-point haul thrusting him back into what is now a three-way fight for the 2017 championship, alongside team mate Lewis Hamilton and Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel.

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