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I was watching an old formula one race (Imola, 1994 to be specific). At some point, Michael Schumacher was behind Gerhard Berger on the track. But the race narrator said that due to this "corrected time"[*], Schumacher is being shown ahead of Berger in the race classification.

I did search the Internet but didn't find what this rule is. Can anybody explain it to me?

[*] The race is narrated in Portuguese, so I don't know if this is the English name for this rule. In the video, in Portuguese, the term used was "tempo corrigido".

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The 1994 Imola Grand Prix is remembered mostly for the deaths of two drivers: rookie Roland Ratzenberger during Saturday qualifying, and three-time world champion Ayrton Senna during the race.

Senna crashed on the sixth lap, causing the red flag to be shown, so that all drivers returned to the pits. Senna received medical treatment on-site, and was then airlifted to hospital.

The race was then restarted from the grid in the order they were at the point the race was stopped, and the times of cars at the end of the fifth lap were also considered:

From the wikipedia article:

Regulations meant that the original sixth lap would be deleted and the race would be restarted from the beginning of said lap. The first five laps would be added to the second part of the race and the overall result would be decided on aggregate. The race ran to a total of 58 laps, five from the first section and 53 from the second section.

Berger got the better start than Schumacher, and led on the track, but not overall, as Schumacher had been faster over the first five laps, hence the "corrected time".

  • Consequently, the "corrected time" (which I agree is the correct english term to use) differentiates the cars' physical distance from one another (the measure you'd normally use to understand race position), from the cars' physical distance from one another, aggregated with their relative position at the end of lap 5 (i.e. their actual position in this race of two parts). – Greg Apr 23 '15 at 9:49
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    @Greg: that seems about right, except I would say "Time Separation" rather than "Physical Distance". The physical distance between cars gets bigger on the straights, and smaller in the curves, but the time separation is pretty much constant, so the lead in F1 is almost always given as a time. – Fillet Apr 23 '15 at 11:44
  • So, in practice, at that time, what matters was the time taken on each lap, not the relative position in track to determine pilots position? Is it this? I'm still a bit confused about this, because i'm only actively following Formula One races recently. – ricardomenzer Apr 23 '15 at 18:21
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    @ricardomenzer: Yes, the total of times taken for each lap was used to determine the final position. For me it is similar to a multi-stage cycle race like the Tour de France. If you win the first stage by 20 seconds, and are 10 seconds behind a rider on the second stage, then you would be still leading overall. In this F1 race, the first "stage" was the first 5 laps, and the second "stage" the next 53 laps. – Fillet Apr 23 '15 at 20:57
  • It is clear now! Thanks! BTW: Thanks for correcting the names of the racers! I totally forgot about Ralf Schumacher, And "gerber" is another topic I'm studying, not related to sports, hence the confusion. – ricardomenzer Apr 23 '15 at 22:40
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A similar thing happened in 1994 during the Japanese Grand Prix. Brundle's accident did bring out the red flag, under torrential conditions and a crash implying himself and a course worker (whom was already assisting an other car in trouble... remind you of anything recent?). At restart, as the rain became moderate, it was decided to run the remainder of the race, with around one hour to the time limit, on aggregate corrected time. Schumacher had been leading by 6.8 seconds when the red flag was shown, but since Hill (who passed Schumacher at restart) had a bigger lead (10.1 seconds) at the chequered flag, Hill was declared the winner by 3.3 seconds. This was the last instance of corrected time being used in Formula 1 to declare a race winner.

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