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Starting grid history


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#1 cheesy poofs

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Posted 11 January 2008 - 18:58

I'd be interested in finding out more information on the evolution of the starting grids in Formula One. How have these changes evolved during all these years!?!

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#2 HDonaldCapps

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Posted 11 January 2008 - 19:32

Originally posted by cheesy poofs
I'd be interested in finding out more information on the evolution of the starting grids in Formula One. How have these changes evolved during all these years!?!


Do you wish to include "Grand Prix" or simply the "formula 1" events? Big difference....

#3 cheesy poofs

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Posted 11 January 2008 - 19:56

Originally posted by HDonaldCapps


Do you wish to include "Grand Prix" or simply the "formula 1" events? Big difference....


I'd certainly would include "Grand Prix" in there.

#4 Paul Jeffrey

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Posted 11 January 2008 - 22:52

In 1952 the Monza organisers of the Italian GP tried out a system restricting the number of starters to the fasest cars/drivers in practice - as was commonplace at Indianapolis . This meant that a number of drivers invited to the GP went home early. Apart from the disappointment of non-qualification those drivers and their teams were not entitled to start money, which was the lifeblood for privateers and smaller teams. It was some years before this 'innovation' was tried again.

A few races in the sixties and seventies guaranteed grid slots to graded or seeded drivers. For the 1967 Monaco GP Ginther was not one of these, despite being a GP winner with Honda. When he failed to qualify he retired from racing, but perhaps the most bizzare story belongs to the Spanish GP of 1970.

Thanks to multi-car entry from March (the works team, Ken Tyrrell and other privateers) the grid was over subscribed. There were arguments between the teams and Jarama organisers over the number of cars allowed to start, right up to the race. Eventually the organisers ruled on 16 starters and the police were involved in removing angry drivers, who thought they had qualified, from the grid, just before the start.

#5 D-Type

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Posted 12 January 2008 - 17:46

Can we start from the beginning?

I know that from its inception The Indy 500 had a massed start but did the American Grand Prize of 1908-1916, the Vanderbilt Cup or any other pre-WW1 road races have a grid start - or were they only introduced post WW1.

(Ensign 14 and others - please note that I have posted this after submitting a posting 'in another place')

#6 fines

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Posted 12 January 2008 - 18:30

Massed starts were common on US ovals from 1896 onwards, road courses on the other hand, in the US and elsewhere, usually started one-by-one, sometimes two-by-two until well after WW1. First road race with a massed start? Perhaps Monza in 1922?

#7 fines

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Posted 12 January 2008 - 18:33

Quick note before somebody beats me to it: some very early road races used massed starts, like the first Gordon-Bennett race and (one of) the first Paris-Bordeaux race(s)!

#8 HDonaldCapps

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Posted 12 January 2008 - 18:46

Originally posted by fines
Massed starts were common on US ovals from 1896 onwards, road courses on the other hand, in the US and elsewhere, usually started one-by-one, sometimes two-by-two until well after WW1. First road race with a massed start? Perhaps Monza in 1922?


Well, not sure where a "boulevard" race falls in the scheme of things, but apparently the Corona races had massed starts, beginning with 1913.

#9 fines

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Posted 12 January 2008 - 19:07

Right you are, Don! :clap: Then again, perhaps Corona was sort of an "oval road race", or "road race oval"! :stoned:

#10 D-Type

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Posted 17 January 2008 - 11:42

Bump

There seems to be a consensus that massed grid starts were used from the start for US track racing - but when did the make the change from standing start to rolling start?

For road racing, the 1921 Italian GP appears to be the first. Can anybody clarify the situation during the transition? Presumably some organisers still started cars at intervals.

The next question is the arrangement of the grid: Usually 4 3 4 ... or 3 2 3 ... on narrow tracks but sometimes, e.g. Monza 4 4 4. Can anybody amplify?

Then postwar in grands prix it was 4 3 4, or 3 2 3, or 4 4 4 ... until the 1961 Watkins Glen race when a 2 2 2 layout was adopted. This gradually evoved into the present staggered grid without rows (despite everybody still talking of rows) which became mandatory, when? I think this was cheesy poofs's original question.

#11 Seebar

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Posted 17 January 2008 - 11:56

On page 236 of Donaldson's Villeneuve book, I found "In Argentina in January Gilles qualified eighth on the grid, which now was staggered, the first car a few meters aheadof the second on each row."


Which makes me think a staggered grid became mandatory in 1980, perhaps as a result of the start crash at the same circuit in 1979.

#12 fines

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Posted 17 January 2008 - 16:04

Yes, staggered grids became mandatory in 1980; I believe they were first used at Monaco in '75? And Watkins Glen in '61 wasn't the first one to use 2-by-2 rows, I know because one of the earliest photographs etched into this (still teenage) brain was a picture of the Monza starting grid in '61, with Trips on pole and Rodríguez second. You don't easily forget things you learn aged ten or eleven!

Grid arrangements didn't start at 4-3-4 etc., they were usually wheel hub-to-wheel hub across the whole of the start/finish straight in the early days! Sounds crazy today, but it's true!

About rolling starts, this is now pure conjecture from memory, but the first Indy 500 in 1911 may well have been the first race to use a rolling start! Starts at intervals were certainly still used in some events of the late twenties, early thirties. How about Elgin Road Race in 1933 as the last one? Of course, sports car races like the Targa Florio or Mille Miglia used it well into the seventies...

#13 Rob29

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Posted 17 January 2008 - 16:19

Around early 60s a 5-4-5 grid was used at Snetterton.

#14 cheesy poofs

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Posted 17 January 2008 - 16:51

Originally posted by D-Type
Bump

There seems to be a consensus that massed grid starts were used from the start for US track racing - but when did the make the change from standing start to rolling start?

For road racing, the 1921 Italian GP appears to be the first. Can anybody clarify the situation during the transition? Presumably some organisers still started cars at intervals.

The next question is the arrangement of the grid: Usually 4 3 4 ... or 3 2 3 ... on narrow tracks but sometimes, e.g. Monza 4 4 4. Can anybody amplify?

Then postwar in grands prix it was 4 3 4, or 3 2 3, or 4 4 4 ... until the 1961 Watkins Glen race when a 2 2 2 layout was adopted. This gradually evoved into the present staggered grid without rows (despite everybody still talking of rows) which became mandatory, when? I think this was cheesy poofs's original question.


Yes. That was my original question. I was curious to know how the grids evolved in staggered rows and how the space was determined between the cars.

The reason I was asking this question is that, with video evidence, I had noticed that the grid displacement varied from track to track. I can't remember when it was finally decided that all tracks would have the same displacment.

#15 lofong

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Posted 17 January 2008 - 17:06

Originally posted by fines
Yes, staggered grids became mandatory in 1980; I believe they were first used at Monaco in '75?

While on this topic, I posed a still unanswered question a while back on this separate thread on F1 Starting Grid Formations here and still have no reason to believe it to be inaccurate.

Originally posted by lofong
However in 1977, I believe Monaco provided the only example we ever saw in F-1 of staggering both the rows and columns on a 2x2 grid. Can anyone confirm this?

But does anyone know better?

#16 HistoricMustang

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Posted 25 November 2008 - 23:42

Just a crazy thought while trying to digest the "GM" thread. And, thanks for letting me use this former thread.

What is the largest (by number) starting grid at the top level of any sanctioning body?

I know NASCAR has put together a large quantiy of cars at some events through the years but where was the largest.

#17 TheStranger

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Posted 26 November 2008 - 00:13

The most CART ever did was 37 at the inaugural Norton Michigan 500 in 1981, if I'm not mistaken. I know IMSA regularly had 60+ car grids for road races, spread out over multiple classes.

#18 Rob G

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Posted 26 November 2008 - 02:49

Originally posted by HistoricMustang
I know NASCAR has put together a large quantiy of cars at some events through the years but where was the largest.

I believe the largest for NASCAR's top division, then known as Grand National, was 82 cars at Darlington for the 1951 Southern 500.

#19 Frank Verplanken

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Posted 27 November 2008 - 07:04

Originally posted by fines
Quick note before somebody beats me to it: some very early road races used massed starts, like the first Gordon-Bennett race and (one of) the first Paris-Bordeaux race(s)!


Another XIXth Century road race with a mass start was the Nice-Cannes-Nice affair on January 30, 1898. The 'mass' was made of 10 trikes, starting in rows of three with intervals of 5 metres between each row. As a side note I believe the race was one of the first ones to elaborate classes regarding horsepower rather than number of seats or weight as it was the common usage in those days.