Race start, Singapore, 2022

F1 teams back race control’s decisions on delayed start and DRS activation

2022 Singapore Grand Prix

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The FIA’s decision to postpone the start of the Singapore Grand Prix and its delayed call to activate DRS in the rain-hit race were supported by paddock figures.

Torrential rain fell on downtown Singapore, where the Marina Bay street circuit is located, in the hours preceding the scheduled race start. As a result FIA Formula 1 race director Eduardo Freitas chose to delay the start of the grand prix by 65 minutes as they waited for the weather to improve.

McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl said this was “absolutely the right thing to do” under the circumstances. It enabled F1 to use track-cleaning techniques to remove some of the standing water on the recently resurfaced street circuit before the race got underway.

“That obviously helped to get rid of any standing water which then allowed [us] straightaway to go on intermediate [tyres].” he said.

“I think without that, we wouldn’t have been in a position to start the race in a reasonably safe manner because what’s the point starting a race with these cars and then just seeing cars crashing or aquaplaning? I guess no one wants to see that, we don’t want to see that. That’s why, I guess, every single decision that has been made today was the right one.”

Once the track had dried enough for drivers to switch to slick tyres, race control considered when to allow them to use DRS. The FIA initially determined it was too damp in places along the back straight – the first DRS zone of the lap – though some drivers called for it to be enabled earlier than it was.

On that topic, Seidl also backed the race director. “Again, for me, safety always has to come first and I have no issue with how it was handled today.

“What’s the point of seeing cars crashing into the barriers? We have the best drivers in these cars and they know how to use it responsibly but I guess in these tricky conditions, there are certain parts here on track that have been resurfaced and are still quite slippery. [They were] clear decisions.”

Alfa Romeo driver Valtteri Bottas said that the permission to use DRS “could have been [given] a bit earlier” but added “the thing is at the back straight, there’s this right-hander kink and there’s a bit of a damp patch.”

Bottas had a near-miss with George Russell at this point on the track during the race. The pair made contact as the Mercedes driver tried to overtake him but went over a damp patch and missed the next corner.

Xevi Pujolar, the head of trackside engineering at Alfa Romeo, was also “happy” with the decision to delay the start of the race. “We just need to make sure that there was enough remaining race distance [to run], and [if] the track condition was suitable or not,” he said. “Because we thought it was okay.”

On the DRS decision, Pujolar said he was happy to “leave it to the FIA.”

“We just activate the DRS when they think that in terms of level of safety, it’s good enough. So that one, we respect their decision.”

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2022 Singapore Grand Prix

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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10 comments on “F1 teams back race control’s decisions on delayed start and DRS activation”

  1. ““That obviously helped to get rid of any standing water which then allowed [us] straightaway to go on intermediate [tyres]. I think without that, we wouldn’t have been in a position to start the race in a reasonably safe manner because what’s the point starting a race with these cars and then just seeing cars crashing or aquaplaning?”

    So he’s saying that either the Pirelli wet tyre is not fit for purpose or are the drivers not talented enough to deal with tricky conditions…

    1. @petebaldwin Given how heavy the monsoon levels of rain was and how badly flooded parts of the track were I don’t see how any racecar on any tire could have handled the track as it was during the delay.

      The only issue & reason it didn’t start sooner was them not having the option to speed up the start procedure as while the track was drivable by 50 minutes before the race actually started they still had to go through all of the usual procedures that lead upto the start.

      I don’t think the entire start procedure has ever had to be delayed like that so there likely isn’t anything in place to cover it. Now that it’s happened they may well look at incorporating some new protocols into the regulations and contracts that allows them to cut the start procedures down should they have needed to be delayed.

    2. So he’s saying that either the Pirelli wet tyre is not fit for purpose or are the drivers not talented enough to deal with tricky conditions…

      I don’t think he’s arguing that the tyres are unsuitable – but certainly that the drivers are, and also that they (as team management) are unwilling to take any additional risk whatsoever.

  2. On the delayed start, making the decision early and not triggering the three-hour time limit was the right call. It meant that there was enough time for a complete race even allowing for possible further interruptions. However the delay ended up being too long – if the drivers are starting on intermediates on a drying track, it’s reasonable to suggest that they should have started earlier on full wets.

    As for DRS, there was no need for it. It was the switch to dry tyres (and the resulting need to stick to the driest line) that killed overtaking – allowing DRS use earlier wouldn’t have made any difference as it would still have been too damp off-line to attempt a pass.

    1. @red-andy I saw it said elsewhere & I think it was also alluded to on the Sky broadcast during an interview that they weren’t able to start sooner as the pre-race starting procedure is laid out in agreements & contracts.

      Teams have to be given a 10 minute warning before the pit exit is opened & there then has to be a 40 minute gap between the pit exit opening & the start of the GP with drivers having time between then and the pit exit been closed again to do a few laps to the grid so teams can check the cars and drivers can read conditions. And there are also apparently contracts with broadcasters and promoters in place for all of the other grid stuff such as media interviews, grid passes which have been paid for or handed out by the promoters and the national anthems.

      There is seemingly nothing that allows them to shorten that so once the rain had eased and the flooded parts of the track were cleared they had to go through all the usual 50-60 minute pre-race procedures.

      I think the rain had eased off enough about 15 minutes before the original start time (No way they could have gone out with the monsoon levels of rain that was falling before then) & that the flooded parts of the track were cleared maybe 10-15 minutes later which is when the delay was ended and the start procedure got underway.

  3. Both decisions were correct.

    1. I disagree:
      Race Delay: I preferred an earlier race start on full wets.
      DRS: they could’ve left it unused the whole race.

      1. Agree on both counts.

  4. Absolutely hated it. Apparently F1 is becoming Indycar and shy away from wet weather racing. The blue tyre is there for a reason, so lets see it in action and real racers on track. Some of the most memorable races have been in the rain and also some of the biggest surprises. Rain had already cleared prior to the starting time.

    1. Indeed, can’t remember the last race they used full wets, definitely interlagos 2016, but unsure if there was any other after, I think some people tried full wets with conditions where inters proved the best tyre, such as singapore 2017 or turkey 2020, but not really any races like interlagos 2016. There was the spa qualifying in 2021 where they used full wets ofc, and could’ve been an interesting race too, but they didn’t let them race.

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