FIA updates F1 sporting regulations in response to jump starts and lack of running during wet sessions

Start lights at the Shanghai International Circuit - Image Credit:
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Updated sporting regulations have been released today aiming to clamp down on problems identified in the opening five races of the 2024 season.

Today’s updates to Formula 1’s sporting regulations aim to clamp down on false starts and encourage teams to hit the track during rain affected sessions.

Both changes have been introduced based on problems faced in the opening five rounds of the 2024 season, namely the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix in March and the Japanese Grand Prix earlier this month.

The first of these updates, aiming to tackle false starts, comes following accusations levelled against Lando Norris at the beginning of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix earlier this year. Norris’ McLaren could be seen to move on the grid before the starting lights went out. An investigation found the transponder fitted to the MCL38 failed to register the movement and Norris was cleared of the infraction.

Today’s change to the regulations has removed the requirement for the judgement to be made by “by an FIA approved and supplied transponder.” Instead it is now stated that a driver will be penalised if they move “after the four-second light”, being the second pair of red lights shown on the grid, “ is illuminated and before the start signal is given by extinguishing all red lights.”

The updated rule allows for the judgement of a false start to be made by an official, and no longer relies solely on the transponders fitted to each car.

The second change to the regulations comes following the Japanese Grand Prix, during which very little running was seen during a rain affected FP2. In an effort to encourage the teams to run their cars during such sessions, rather than stockpiling their limited provision of intermediate tyres, a new rule, article 30.5 (g), has been added.

“From the five sets of intermediate tyres allocated to each driver under Article 30.2 (a) ii,” Article 30.5 (g) reads. “If [first, second or third practice] is declared wet, one set of intermediate tyres must be electronically returned no later than two hours after the end of [third practice].”