In F1, it would be simple enough to have the Start/Finish line (the line where the lap is counted) be the line in front of pole position, but for a weird reason the line is down the grid, somewhere between 10th and 15th.

So what is the reasonning why the line is deep in the grid instead of being where the lights are in front?


1 Answer 1


Ultimately it comes down to practical reasons. The finish line must be adjacent to the tower where they wave certain of the flags, and also needs to be in clear view of the scorer. The location of the grid, however, needs to be on a clear straightaway with room for dozens of cars - and sometimes that doesn't line up with the necessary location for the finish line.

See this article for some more detail:

The most common reason is practicality. There quite often is only a limited space on pit straight between corners. It is necessary, for example, that the finish will be by the tower where the start/finish flag marshal will await with the chequered flag, but also other such flags - like the black flag, the black/white 'bad sportsmanship' flag, and 'the meatball' - black with orange circle - flags which can only be shown at the start finish line.

A full grid of double-spaced Grand Prix cars can take up quite a bit of room - and at most Grand Prix circuits the various support categories have larger grids. To fit all the cars onto the grid it is sometimes necessary to move the start line forward of the finish line. Silverstone is a double exception in that the start line is behind the finish line. A reason for this is in the hope that the field will be slightly more spread out when the field arrived at Copse corner the first time, which is sharper now on entry than it used to be.

  • Oh so if I understand right that line is the first thing that is placed (because that box being physically there you cant really change it every time theres a new series at the circuit) and then F1 places the grid to be able to fit everybody on the Start/Finish Straight? I thought it was the other way around but thinking it this way makes much more sense.
    – Fredy31
    Jul 15, 2020 at 19:36
  • That sounds correct to me. Finish line is where it is, start line could change potentially if grid size changes I suppose.
    – Joe
    Jul 15, 2020 at 19:47
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    It's worth pointing out that while the logical side of things in that article snippet are probably still true, the information regarding Silverstone is quite out of date. If memory serves, the start line was moved infront of the finish line in '97 or '98, and then the whole start/finish/pits complex was moved to its current location in 2010 - in which the start line is still infront of the finish line
    – ImClarky
    Jul 16, 2020 at 11:18
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    Thinking about it, not every circuit got this setup, its just that Austria was fresh on my mind. My local circuit (Montreal,Canada) the Start/Finish and the grid are aligned just the way its logical for it to be. Should mention that the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve is only used for F1 and the supporting races.
    – Fredy31
    Jul 16, 2020 at 14:09

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