FIA said that Valtteri Bottas' start movement in 2017 Austrian Grand Prix was within the tolerances allowed, however we were not enlightened on the tolerances.

I saw the following sentence in an article (on autosport.com), which declares this rule is hidden to prevent any abuse by the teams.

The FIA does not disclose what tolerance is allowed before it takes action, for fear that if teams knew what was allowed they would start exploiting this to boost their getaways.

Is it really a hidden rule? If not, what are the allowed tolerances for a jump start?

  • They won't disclose this information as knowing F1 and how technological it's become the teams could probably use this to their advantage!
    – davidjwest
    Commented Jul 18, 2017 at 15:04

2 Answers 2


Yes it's certainly the information that hasn't been disclosed by FIA, though not sure about the reason. It may be because of the same thing you quoted from "Autosport".

And only thing we know about jumpstart and tolerance is from the FIA statement that is in your provided link stating:

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.

That pre-set distance may possibly be the position of transponder relative to numerous wire aerials embedded in the track and pit lane. Source

Sporting and technical regulations also mention the transponder once.

Sporting Regulation

36.13 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.

where the referenced articles are

38.3 c) A drive-through penalty. The driver must enter the pit lane and re-join the race without stopping. d) A ten second stop-and-go time penalty. The driver must enter the pit lane, stop in his pit stop position for at least ten seconds and then re-join the race.

Technical Regulation

20.4 Transponders : All cars must be fitted with two timing transponders supplied by the officially appointed timekeepers. These transponders must be fitted in strict accordance with the instructions detailed in the Appendix to the Technical Regulations. Teams must use their best endeavours to ensure that the transponders are in working order at all times.

References: formula1.com, drivetribe, planetf1

  • 1
    I also checked the regulations, it seems that is the all information we have.
    – user13631
    Commented Jul 15, 2017 at 15:25

Further to this, it is also known from F1 marshals briefings that the reason that they never publish the allowed tolerances as it is clear that teams would try to preempt this.

The example is, for example, that the 5-lights to lights-out time is (I think, but for example it doesn't matter) 0.8-3 seconds. If you got to two seconds, and the response time was 0.5 seconds, drivers may take the risk of pulling off before lights out to gain an advantage.

This probably is what happened with Bottas in Austria, that he did jump the reaction but coincidentally timed it perfectly. The lucky start will happen occasionally, but rarely deliberately!

  • When you say "it is also known", are you able to point to a source for this information?
    – Philip Kendall
    Commented Jul 27, 2017 at 18:56

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