Sebastian Vettel did not expect race officials to issue a rolling start at the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix. After the race was red-flagged because of a collision between George Russell and Valtteri Bottas, the Aston Martin driver was waiting for a standing start.
“I don’t know why it was a rolling start,” he said. Vettel had chosen soft tyres at this point in the race for this very reason.
“With the red flag we tried to start on a softer tyre, but there was a rolling start which we didn’t expect,” he said. “And then we had a higher degradation on the soft than others on the medium.”
Aston Martin CEO Otmar Szafnauer revealed that the decision to go for a rolling start was taken a lot later than when the team expected.
“We anticipated a standing start again, but then we were told it was a rolling start quite late,” he said. “All the teams were given the information at the same time and it was quite late that we were told that it was a rolling start.
“I think the last red flag situation we had – where was it, Monza? – that was a standing start.”
FIA race director Michael Masi said that going for a rolling start was done according to correct procedure.
“Generally we can post either a standing start or a rolling start once the cars have actually left pit lane,” he said. “And so on this occasion, we did it at I think it was about turn seven – there or thereabouts. The Safety Car lights went out and the ‘RS’ [rolling start] went up on the screens, which is the procedure as stipulated in the regulations.”
Masi also revealed that a rolling start was issued due to presence of damp patches on the approach to the high-speed Tamburello sequence where Bottas and Russell had crashed.
“After a suspension we can either have a standing start, as we’ve seen previously, or a rolling start. And having looked at the situation, and particularly with the left-hand side in particular of the track on the approach to turn two, the far left-hand side being quite damp, determined that we would go for a rolling start.”
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