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#1 biercemountain

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 17:01

Recently, I was watching some vintage footage of the start of the '78 Italian GP and immediately noticed how the standing start was anything but. While I know Mario was punished for jumping the start I must say his infraction was only marginally worse than just about everyone else on screen. Upon reflection I remembered that just about every start I've ever seen from "back in the day" had a fair amount of creep up and down the grid.

My question is this. When did they really start enforcing the standing start as we know it today?

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#2 Michael Ferner

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 17:21

I believe it was a gradual process. In the early days, say pre-WW2, there was no such thing as a jumped start, or if there was it was EXTREMELY rare. Some drivers, notably Louis Chiron, were famous for "anticipating" the start - they were often well underway before the flag actually dropped. It didn't matter anyhow, as in those days cars were racing, i.e. overtaking each other.

It wasn't much better in the seventies, when I started following the sport, but some blatant jump starts were fined, and usually pretty stiffly - I think the standard was a one-minute time penalty, added to the race time. Which was not very spectator-friendly, because the running order at the finish would not be the same as the result, so that's probably the reason why it was only applied in REALLY blatant cases.

At some point, and I really don't recall when, electronic devices were introduced to detect jump starts - probably, some time in the nineties.

#3 Sharman

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 18:08

Recently, I was watching some vintage footage of the start of the '78 Italian GP and immediately noticed how the standing start was anything but. While I know Mario was punished for jumping the start I must say his infraction was only marginally worse than just about everyone else on screen. Upon reflection I remembered that just about every start I've ever seen from "back in the day" had a fair amount of creep up and down the grid.

My question is this. When did they really start enforcing the standing start as we know it today?

When they had the technology to enforce it. I forget who it was that said "the only reason we line up as we do is because the road isn't wide enough for us to start level"

#4 ryan86

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 19:38

I think 1995 was the first year that had they electronic sensors. Early races after the change sometimes saw 4-5 cars penalised and usually the same drivers! I seem to remember Panis, Frentzen and Rubens being frequent offenders.

#5 Allan Lupton

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 19:46

I forget who it was that said "the only reason we line up as we do is because the road isn't wide enough for us to start level"

That's certainly the case, and tose of us who were there at the time remember that narrow starting grids were formed 3-2-3-2- but some of the wider ones were 4-3-4-3-. On the wall as I trype this is a 3-2-3- grid of the 1937 Eifelrennen with two M-B and an A-U as the front row.

Back to jumping the start, it was the custom at circuits such as Reims to get a local dignitory to actually drop the flag. I remember reading what amounted to the training instruction to a driver new to Reims that the Chief Timekeeper would pat the Mayor's back to signal it was flag time - so watch the timekeeper's hand and go when he pats the back, don't wait for the flag!

#6 Sharman

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 21:10

That's certainly the case, and tose of us who were there at the time remember that narrow starting grids were formed 3-2-3-2- but some of the wider ones were 4-3-4-3-. On the wall as I trype this is a 3-2-3- grid of the 1937 Eifelrennen with two M-B and an A-U as the front row.

Back to jumping the start, it was the custom at circuits such as Reims to get a local dignitory to actually drop the flag. I remember reading what amounted to the training instruction to a driver new to Reims that the Chief Timekeeper would pat the Mayor's back to signal it was flag time - so watch the timekeeper's hand and go when he pats the back, don't wait for the flag!


Toto Roche at Reims, Allan, who nearly got run over on a number of occasions

#7 scheivlak

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 22:05

It wasn't much better in the seventies, when I started following the sport, but some blatant jump starts were fined, and usually pretty stiffly - I think the standard was a one-minute time penalty, added to the race time. Which was not very spectator-friendly, because the running order at the finish would not be the same as the result, so that's probably the reason why it was only applied in REALLY blatant cases.

Yes, I rewatched a lot of 1970s GPs - I think most of them - the last few years.
I haven't seen one race where no single driver on the grid wasn't moving before the start of the race!

#8 LittleChris

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 22:32

Yes, I rewatched a lot of 1970s GPs - I think most of them - the last few years.
I haven't seen one race where no single driver on the grid wasn't moving before the start of the race!


Especially Regga when driving a Ferrari at Monza. Usually well on his way to the Curva Grande by the time the flag dropped :D


#9 midgrid

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 22:56

I think 1995 was the first year that had they electronic sensors. Early races after the change sometimes saw 4-5 cars penalised and usually the same drivers! I seem to remember Panis, Frentzen and Rubens being frequent offenders.


Yes, they were first used at the 1995 San Marino Grand Prix. I believe that the policy of a stop-go penalty, instead of a time penalty applied after the race, was introduced for the 1991 season. Gerhard Berger was given a one-minute time penalty for jumping the start at the 1990 Canadian Grand Prix, whereas Alain Prost was given a ten-second penalty to be taken in the pit-lane during the race when he committed the same offence at the 1993 Monaco Grand Prix. I also remember that Olivier Grouillard jumped the restart of the 1992 French Grand Prix, but I can't confirm what penalty he received from memory.


#10 GMACKIE

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 23:03

Always managed a 'good' start when the starter used a flag. If you watched the starters elbow, it would bend slightly just before the flag came down. The light system spoiled that. :cry:

#11 HeskethBoy

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Posted 25 May 2012 - 00:12

The "stop - go" / Pit Lane drive through penalty was introduced to ensure that the spectators actually saw the race winner receive the chequered flag.

One of Australia's more famous jumped starts was by "Captain" Peter Janson at Sandown - who, stating that if the penalty was to have one minute added to his race time, he would jump the start at the moment that the One Minute signal was displayed - which he did!
His soft drink sponsor received significant television coverage - and he received the one minute penalty - and then something extra for being so cheeky

#12 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 25 May 2012 - 00:38

The "stop - go" / Pit Lane drive through penalty was introduced to ensure that the spectators actually saw the race winner receive the chequered flag.

One of Australia's more famous jumped starts was by "Captain" Peter Janson at Sandown - who, stating that if the penalty was to have one minute added to his race time, he would jump the start at the moment that the One Minute signal was displayed - which he did!
His soft drink sponsor received significant television coverage - and he received the one minute penalty - and then something extra for being so cheeky

Janson, be cheeky. Never!

#13 Ray Bell

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Posted 25 May 2012 - 00:49

One infamous 'minute penalty' happened at Lakeside...

It was a round of the Australian Sports Car Championship, IIRC, and it was either raining or going to rain. Bap Romano was unbeatable, but he had to keep it on the island to win. On slicks.

But he did anticipate the start significantly and a one-minute penalty was applied to him. And through all the race the only car to not retire, go flitting off the road or otherwise make a mess of things was John Campbell in his 1300cc Clubman. Romano finished ahead on the road, but not very far after several off-course excursions, and so was placed second with his penalty.

John was presented with the garland and trophy and insisted that photos be taken immediately, "I knew that Bap would somehow get it taken off me!" he said.

Sure enough, one of Bap's friends or crew members present was of a legal bent and he grabbed the CAMS Manual and looked at the rules applicable. After this his question was, "Who's the Judge of Fact?" as he had determined that the only person who could make a judgement such as a jumped start was a Judge of Fact. Out came the programme and the list of officials was reviewed. No judge of fact!

So Bap got the win, but John was promised that it would never ever happen again, that there would be a Judge of Fact appointed and listed for every meeting.

At the next Surfers Paradise meeting he checked the programme. Again there was no Judge of Fact, so he brazenly wove his way up from the middle of the grid to be alongside the front row cars as the flag fell. And no action was taken!

Except that there was a Judge of Fact every meeting after that one...

#14 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 25 May 2012 - 00:58

From a competitors point of view this can be very tedious. Having been pinged for supposedly jumping the start when moving forward about an inch, well inside the box, it spoils your whole meeting with a progressive grid. And has proven to be so inconsistent.
In Thupercars someone on the second row supposedly jumps,maybe an inch, but cars behind are 10 metres gone behind without penalty. Easy way to manipulate results

#15 AAGR

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Posted 25 May 2012 - 08:43

In the 1960s, when Jack Brabham was usually on the front row of F1 starting grids, I recall that the general opinion among drivers was not to watch the official starter, but to go when Jack moved. It worked, and worked well ....

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#16 D-Type

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Posted 25 May 2012 - 10:55

One infamous 'minute penalty' happened at Lakeside...

It was a round of the Australian Sports Car Championship, IIRC, and it was either raining or going to rain. Bap Romano was unbeatable, but he had to keep it on the island to win. On slicks.

But he did anticipate the start significantly and a one-minute penalty was applied to him. And through all the race the only car to not retire, go flitting off the road or otherwise make a mess of things was John Campbell in his 1300cc Clubman. Romano finished ahead on the road, but not very far after several off-course excursions, and so was placed second with his penalty.

John was presented with the garland and trophy and insisted that photos be taken immediately, "I knew that Bap would somehow get it taken off me!" he said.

Sure enough, one of Bap's friends or crew members present was of a legal bent and he grabbed the CAMS Manual and looked at the rules applicable. After this his question was, "Who's the Judge of Fact?" as he had determined that the only person who could make a judgement such as a jumped start was a Judge of Fact. Out came the programme and the list of officials was reviewed. No judge of fact!

So Bap got the win, but John was promised that it would never ever happen again, that there would be a Judge of Fact appointed and listed for every meeting.

At the next Surfers Paradise meeting he checked the programme. Again there was no Judge of Fact, so he brazenly wove his way up from the middle of the grid to be alongside the front row cars as the flag fell. And no action was taken!

Except that there was a Judge of Fact every meeting after that one...

I'm not disputing that this is what happened, but the barrack-room lawyer in me does wonder ...

Surely, the Clerk of the Course has total responsibility for the organisation of a meeting? Officials listed in the programme are those holding powers he has delegated. In the absence of a nominated "Judge of Fact" then isn't the Clerk of the Course the de facto "Judge of Fact"?

Is this a rare case of CAMS being sensible and feeling that under the circumstances in those conditions Bap deserved the win?

#17 Ray Bell

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Posted 25 May 2012 - 11:46

I can't see that being the case...

How do you think the Clerk of the Course can be the Judge of Fact if he's not nominated to be so? Surely he would be sufficiently busy with other things to not be on hand for fact judging?

One point I must add, however... this was in Queensland, where tedious adherence to the written word has often been shown to the detriment of reality.

For instance, and it wasn't the only instance, in the 1964 Australian Touring Car Championship at Lakeside, they took the trouble before the race to determine what size tyres were allowed on what rims. Apparently there was a rule that related to the tyres matching the rims, so they sought out some obscure group who had a hand in this aspect of the automotive realm.

They found the hitherto unknown Tyre and Rim Association and got the lowdown from them. Suddenly, tyres which people had been running for years were no longer able to be fitted to the wheels they had on their cars!

Brian Muir lost the race because of it, being forced to run Goodyears when he'd always run on Dunsafes, others had problems and it was all a bit of a shambles.

Edited by Ray Bell, 25 May 2012 - 11:51.


#18 D-Type

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Posted 25 May 2012 - 12:04

I can't see that being the case...

How do you think the Clerk of the Course can be the Judge of Fact if he's not nominated to be so? Surely he would be sufficiently busy with other things to not be on hand for fact judging?

The point is that someone has responsibility for all the duties associated with running a meeting. If there isn't anyone nominated for a particular role, as the man in charge of the meeting the Clerk of the Course takes responsibility for the duties of the role. Of course if he delegates the duty to someone on the day this is equivalent to nominating him.

For example: if there's an accident as the result of lack of a flag marshall or an incompetent one, if there is no chief flag marshall it's the Clerk of the Course who is ultimately responsible for the flaggies... and so on.

#19 Ray Bell

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Posted 25 May 2012 - 12:48

The whole scenario doesn't fit, Duncan...

At the next meeting there was no-one designated, once again no action was taken against what this time was a very blatant breach of the rules.

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#20 D-Type

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Posted 25 May 2012 - 13:50

OK, I'll stop playing barrack room lawyer. I'm not arguing with the facts, just wondering if the Clerk of the Course could have made a ruling that would have stood up on appeal.


(I'll refrain from saying that given their convict background Australians have a better understanding of the rule of law than Pommies :p)

Edited by D-Type, 25 May 2012 - 13:51.


#21 bill moffat

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Posted 25 May 2012 - 20:08

Talking about literal standing starts there is the Simon Taylor story of a Le Mans-style start involving Moss and Hawthorn. Le Mans, Goodwood or wherever I know not.

The superfit and ultra competitive Moss adopts the sprinter's crouch, the less-than superfit Hawthorn anticipates the starter's signal and begins his run across the road well before flagfall - the silence and tension of the moment is broken by Moss's shout of "Hawthorn you bastard". Allegedly the Farnham flier was so cracked up with laughter that any initial advantage was lost.

I'd like to think it's true...

#22 Tim Murray

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Posted 25 May 2012 - 20:28

Nürburgring 1000 Km 1958. As the story is recounted by Hawthorn himself in Champion Year, and by Moss in at least two of his books, I think we can take it as true.

#23 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 25 May 2012 - 23:39

I can't see that being the case...

How do you think the Clerk of the Course can be the Judge of Fact if he's not nominated to be so? Surely he would be sufficiently busy with other things to not be on hand for fact judging?

One point I must add, however... this was in Queensland, where tedious adherence to the written word has often been shown to the detriment of reality.

For instance, and it wasn't the only instance, in the 1964 Australian Touring Car Championship at Lakeside, they took the trouble before the race to determine what size tyres were allowed on what rims. Apparently there was a rule that related to the tyres matching the rims, so they sought out some obscure group who had a hand in this aspect of the automotive realm.

They found the hitherto unknown Tyre and Rim Association and got the lowdown from them. Suddenly, tyres which people had been running for years were no longer able to be fitted to the wheels they had on their cars!

Brian Muir lost the race because of it, being forced to run Goodyears when he'd always run on Dunsafes, others had problems and it was all a bit of a shambles.

The Tyre and Rim Asociation has beem mentioned in CAMS manuals for decades. Pity the rule was never enforced, and is still not.Gp C Tourers all used tyres too wide for the rims, fronts wer generally ok but the rears, forget it.
'Road' tyre categorys are the same now. Nc cars using 275 wide tyres on 8" rims. Dumb,, and slow.
Or in several categorys cars are doing 165mph on 125mph rated tyres. The tyres are delaminating surprise surprise. In Nc the big cars are now allowed to use 50 series tyres. But almost the other way, 205x50 tyres on 8" rims,, and they are still only 140mph rated.
Maxxis were going to be the HQ tyre, but they are only S rated so were not allowed to be used on fast circuits. The only tyre now is the H rated Kenda, but at Bathurst and PI the cars are doing 130mph plus still on H rated tyres. Probably not a real problem BUT if a tyre fails there still will be a lot of potential legal agro.
I believe the Production cars have this problem in some classes also.

#24 GeoffR

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Posted 26 May 2012 - 07:51

I have always been under the impression that any nominated official for an event is deemed to be a 'judge of fact'? It was always the case in rallies anyway, ie. control/passage control officials.

#25 James Page

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Posted 30 May 2012 - 10:09

Nigel Roebuck recounted a tale that Gilles Villeneuve once told him about his brother Jacques in a Formula Atlantic race.

Jacques jumped the start by a considerable margin - enough, in fact, for him to decide against keeping his foot in and, instead, reverse back towards his grid slot. At which point, the rest of the field got the green light...

"I think it is quite dangerous," said Gilles, "if you get the green light when someone is reversing towards you." To which Roebuck could only agree.

#26 BRG

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Posted 30 May 2012 - 10:29

I have always been under the impression that any nominated official for an event is deemed to be a 'judge of fact'? It was always the case in rallies anyway, ie. control/passage control officials.

I always used to put in the regulations a clause saying that all duly signed-on marshals and officials would be deemed to be Judges of Fact.

#27 Stephen W

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Posted 30 May 2012 - 10:51

I have always been under the impression that any nominated official for an event is deemed to be a 'judge of fact'? It was always the case in rallies anyway, ie. control/passage control officials.


That may be the case where there is a specific need for a "judge of fact" such as where crossing a yellow line on the track constitutes the breaking of a regulation. However if for example Bert Smith is nominated and for some reason is replaced then the organisers must inform all participants.



#28 HeskethBoy

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Posted 31 May 2012 - 00:04

That may be the case where there is a specific need for a "judge of fact" such as where crossing a yellow line on the track constitutes the breaking of a regulation. However if for example Bert Smith is nominated and for some reason is replaced then the organisers must inform all participants.


Not only do the Judge/s of Fact have to be named in the event documentation, the Fact/s that they are judging need to be listed also - i.e. - starts, finishes, noise, pit lane speed etc. In truck racing there is even a Judge of Fact for excessive smoke.
Facts ajudged by a JOF cannot be contested at a hearing - which is why they are so named.

#29 Ray Bell

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Posted 31 May 2012 - 01:14

They can, according to the CAMS Manual, rely on photographic or video evidence, but ONLY that provided by the promoters of the event...

No external photographic or video evidence may be admitted.