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FIA to examine how Massa was able to start ahead of himself in Spa
FIA to examine how Massa was able to start ahead of himself in Spa
Posted By: James Allen  |  02 Sep 2010   |  7:44 pm GMT  |  154 comments

There has been a lot of chat online and in the comments section of this site these past few days about Felipe Massa’s start in Spa.

The Brazilian parked his car ahead of the grid slot he was supposed to take up and thus gained a small advantage from it, certainly over a metre. The FIA’s detection devices didn’t pick it up and he ran his race as normal. Having started sixth on the grid, he was fifth on the first lap, one of the drivers able to take advantage of Mark Webber’s poor start.

What is supposed to happen is that when the car draws up to its grid slot and a tiny transponder in the floor, which is 800mm behind the front wheel centre line, sends a signal to a sensor in the tarmac. If the car isn’t within the tolerated range then the signal doesn’t work and the car is adjudged to have jumped the start, for which a drive through penalty is applied.

This isn’t something you should be able to get around, but clearly Massa’s car managed to do so, whether intentionally or unintentionally.

The FIA said today that it would hold an investigation into how it happened, “The problem was not brought to the attention of the FIA race director by either the marshals nor the automatic jump start system in time to be able to apply the appropriate penalty for jump starts,” said an FIA spokeswoman.

“As no further information or complaints were received before the publication of the official result on Sunday night, the classification of the Belgian Grand Prix will now remain unchanged.

“The FIA are investigating the causes of the apparent failures in communication with race control in order to ensure a repetition is not possible.”

What is interesting about this story is that it is another example of a piece of content produced by a fan and uploaded to You Tube, which has become a talking point for the mainstream F1 media and has brought about direct action from the sport.

Notwithstanding the views of the commercial rights holder, FOM, on user generated content from F1 races on You Tube, this week has seen two such incidents, with the Sebastian Vettel wing flex discussion also being inspired by fans.

Previously we have seen fan generated video feature in changes to safety car rules, such as after Fuji 2007.

This is as it should be and it is good to see that fans are able to have influence and that the sport is paying attention.

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i believe that the grid sensor is only turned on after the red lights come on, so he stopped before they were red and thus able to "jump start"

if i'm correct then it's a simple software mistake that could be easily fixed


That was my understanding too.

Somebody once told me (true or not I don't know - but it sounds plausible) that one of the top F1 teams, well known for getting incredible starts during the period, used the jump start system as a way of triggering their launch control system (around 2002)

Works like this:

- As soon as the jump start system is activated, a current flows through a loop of wire beneath the track, creating a magnetic field.

- Put a Hall probe in the bottom of the car, which can detect the magnetic field and send an electrical signal to the launch control electronics.

- The instant the race starts, by definition the jump start system has to be deactivated.

- No current flowing anymore, so car detects the loss of magnetic field, and triggers the launch control system (without needing to wait for the driver's reaction time to the lights going out).

As I say, don't know whether what I was told was true or not, but I think the Physics is sound.




(a) In one of Martin Brundle's reports from a couple of years back he explained this wasn't allowed. You could have a simple device which picked up the red lights.

(b) The error is in the bit "- The instant the race starts, by definition the jump start system has to be deactivated." Not so. The system records when the car starts to move it can remain on for as long as you like after the start. In fact it would be useful for accident investigation to know if someone failed to move off the start.

I suspect the rest is true though, that the system is designed to detect movement, not position, and if the parts were within range then Massa's start wouldn't have seemed to have anything wrong. He didn't gain relative to the cars immediately around him, so whilst a penalty might have been technically correct it wasn't needed to redress any unfairness - which may be why the other teams didn't complain

I'm amazed the marshalls didn't tell anyone though.


From what I have read, this is true, and it was Benetton that did it.

The FIA changed the regulations in a couple of different ways to stop this from occurring, one of the changes being to mandate a minimum reaction time delay when determining how soon after the lights go out the driver starts to move the car. If the time interval is less than the minimum reaction tine,even if the car starts moving after the lights have gone out, then the driver is adjudged to have jumped the start, since they were guessing the lights-out, not waiting to see and react to it.


Even if this isn't true, it's one heck of a theory 🙂


Sounds probable to me. If it's technically possible I'm sure someone would have tried it!


OK, so you factor in a random delay to the automatic launch software. The car will start at anywhere between a few thousandths and a few hundreths of a second - just enough to make it appear random and that the start is really quick.

It still means the driver would have had very little to do to guarantee a blistering start!


Andrew, Human reaction times are astonishingly long in the context of a sport like F1. The lights go out in a timed sequence, so drivers anticipate the lights out and time their movements accordingly. This is is contrast to a reaction which would see the cars standing on the grid for around half to a whole second before they actually move.

They wouldn't penalise someone for effectively dumping the clutch at the exact moment the red's went out.


I don't think that's possible as I'm pretty sure the FIA factor in human reaction times after lights out. If you pull away faster that a human can react then you'll get a penalty.


Ignoring the evidence of the jumo-start, this video is really good! I was amazed to see the cars accelerate from the start from this perspective. I have never been to a race (Austin 2012 here I come!), and I think the raw power and awesome ability of these engineering marvels is often lost in what we see on TV. There is something to be said for a more human perspective. Perhaps this is why the footage from older races always seems more connected, more real.


I agree. A favorite clip that demonstartes how much of the brutal speed is lost in the translation to long-lens TV cameras stuck on cranes a quarter of a mile away ...

Monza 08, in the rain:





That was awesome!

Sebastiaan Hekman

Indeed the sound is amazing, and the pulling away of the whole pack of cars, screaming out loud in one massive run for the first corner and then sounds dies away. I played it several times over the big speakers in the living room -trying not to blow them up - and it is awesome. My first and only GP I have visited was Spa back in 1991 - Schumacher's debut - and I was overwhelmed by the loudness of the F1 cars, nothing on Earth sounds like a pack of F1 cars at the start of a race.

I watch the races now in Chile through FoxSport and the race sound is a whisper, while three sharp dressed suits from a studio in Buenos Aires try to give comments.

I liked the angle and position of the video as well, it gives you the feeling that you are there. It was very clear how slow Webber's start was. FIA, FOM and all the other F's can learn a lot from fans if they really listen to what we like.

For James, you have created a great website with loads of interesting articles and insights that generate a lot of good discussions. Thanks.


and all of this glorious noise coming from the tiny V-8 shown in james' seat fitting video!

surely one would fit into my old GPz frame...


One thing I forgot to add was that I think this angle showed how competitive the back of the field truly are as well. The 3 new teams, while nowhere near the front (relatively), are absolutely flying by the time they get to the starting positions of the front runners. Truly amazing!

Sebastiaan Hekman


Hi James, I have a question about the broadcasting of the radio traffic between the pits and the cars. After the GP at Silverstone I wondered what the delay is between the actual radio contact and the moment it is broadcasted. And who decides what to broadcast and at what moment. Webber said that he could have avoid the broadcasting of his 'not bad for a number two driver' frase if he had added some strong language before and after it. So, is there a kind of screening of the nature of the messages? Looking back at the Schumacher/Barrichello incident I noticed that it took nearly half a lap before the radio message came on in which Rubens shouted 'Black flag, black flag'. I suppose he got on the radio right away after it. Maybe you can shed some light on this element of the GP's. Thanks.


It's monitotored in the FOM broadcast centre and then a clip will be proposed to the director. It takes time, naturally. You don't know when something is about to be broadcast


I agree. It was amazing to see how fast the cars got off the line.


Yes, I've watched that video so many times now - the first time to see Massa's starting position, the rest of the times just to listen to the engine noise!

(Can't wait for Austin 2012!)


TV just doesnt do F1 justice in realation to speeds, it's such a shame!


Maybe Allianz needs to pay more for advertising. You'd probably see this angle more often in F1 race feeds.


I agree with all of the above comments. I also think the wide angle camera lenses used for the in-car cameras distort the car and track too much and give a false picture. I have seen older in-car footage with normal lenses and it is amazing.

Also amazing is actually seeing, in person, an F1 car go around a corner at speed. They pull so many g's lateral and go so fast it looks to be impossible. The first time I saw real cornering I was blown away and almost couldn't believe anything could turn that quickly. The long telephoto lenses and the constant zooming to keep the car image the same size removes the reality of their speed.


The in-car footage in Frankenheimer's Grand Prix is extraordinary, largely because it's on the front of the car, not behind the driver's head, and lower down, so you see what he sees from a position ahead even of him. The in-car nowadays is tame by comparison.


James!! i think this one is very worth it to forward to the teams...

i always believed that even in a bahrain 2010 race.. if we had a very good feel of speed.. we wont be bored...

do drivers where bored in baharain ? of course not.. the closer the tv take you to what they are experiencing the better.. who need overtaking if this happens!


Exactly my thoughts on watching that clip just now. There's so much more that could be shown beyond the standard camera angles, particularly at the start.


You've made a good point, Shane, modern tv seems to slow the action down! I supose it's because they use extemely long telephoto lens. It's a real shame that we don't get a more acurate perspective of the speed of the cars! Not only that, but it actually pisses me off!



I'm watching the race on TSN in Canada which I believe gets their feed from the BBC. One of the announcers stated before the lights went out that Massa had over shot his starting box. A snide remark about maybe it was intentional to allow a penalty for Massa so Fernando can get ahead of him. Not sure why I knew this information before the race started but no one informed race control. I was worried a penalty was coming but as the race went on... I forgot about it until this article reminded me. Surprised it took a youtube video to stir the FIA into action.


Yes it was mentioned by Brundle at the time, who later on brought up that he was expecting to see this investigated. Legard made the remark about it possibly being strategy.


I too went the whole race waiting for Massa to be penalised. I sent the BBC a text message after the event and was expecting it to get a mention on the red-button coverage, but didn't see anything.

I'd pretty much come to the conclusion that Massa must have reversed back in to his start box... but it would appear not!


Shared feelings here in Oz as we get the BBC coverage between the commercials.

Thankfully, we;ve got James' Vodafone reports to make up for this.


Any chance he gets a penalty, James?

If yes, what kind?

Rules are the rules, same for everyone, doesn't matter what they are, if they are fair, good or silly. I think he should get one.


No chance, because the rules state that once the results have been announced they are fixed... which is why Alonso couldn't be striped of his win in Singapore in 2008, for benefiting from Piquet Jr accident.


But Hamilton was disqualifed from the 2009 Australian GP 3-4 days after the event...


I believe a similar situation occurred where the stewards didn't sign off on the race until after the investigation.

I know that none of the results of the 1st three races of last season were signed off until after the FIA had carried out its investigation into the double diffuser and had agreed it didn't break the rules.


Actually, this is not entirely true. Results can be disputed up until just before the championship is awarded in November. After that date all results for the year become fixed and even if a driver said "our car was running rocket boosters, that's how we won" the results are fixed. However, before that date, the results of races can be challenged. If Crashgate had been revealed before that date the FIA could have stripped Alonso of his win.

If you remember, in 2007 McLaren appealed the results for Brazil after they had been declared due to fuel temperature irregularities in two of the cars that finished ahead of Hamilton. Had they been successful Hamilton would have gained two places and been awarded the WDC.

However, the FIA has made their position clear that they will not been handing out penalties for this incident but instead they will focus on how it was missed.

Although, you would assume that if their investigation revealed Ferrari had installed stealth technology on their cars to circumvent the jump start detectors that they might penalise Ferrari. But the offence in that case would be completely different - deliberate cheating as opposed to poor parking.


Absolutely not, the protest was properly investigated and the discrepancy was no minor (I think 0.1 degree celsius) that the FIA deemed the infraction to not warrant any form of penalty. They even said that if they were found guilty they might just take the points away rather than disqualify them, thus preserving the championship order.

During the process, which went on for some time, Hamilton gave interviews saying he did not want to win the championship in that way. It was definitely a possibility, the results could be changed and the result of Spa 2010 could, in theory, still be changed.

I won't be changed though, because the FIA has said their investigation is not of Massa or Ferrari but how the incident was missed and as I said, unless Ferrari were deliberately subverting the rules, I don't see why the FIA would interfere.


Not sure about that, I thought the reason why the McLaren appeal wasn't investigated / successful was because the race had been signed off and the points awarded.

Wonder if anyone has a copy of the rule book anywhere close at hand and could clarify...


Don't forget they can do a grid drop.


Off topic:

Has the result of the German GP been announced or can the hearing this month still change it?


No the results weren't signed off by the officials specifically to allow the WMSC to change the results of the race should the find that Ferrari broke the rules and wish to punish them.


Wow!! As well as picking up Massa's indiscretion, this clip also captures the sheer violence of the car's engines at the start of a race with the speedy getaway, gave me goosebumps. You don't quite hear it like that on the TV. Great stuff.


You're right the sheer agression of the cars at the start was surprising despite me haven been to a race before!


Indeed. That's the best part of attending grands prix. Add to that the beautiful light/paint work/liveries in Singapore (the TV coverage really does no justice to the awesomeness of the cars there).


I'll have to make sure I get tickets for the start line next year then. I imagine the lighting at Singapore makes the cars look all the more spectacular. F1, Singapore and HD will be something else.


James, I find it puzzling as to why FOM removes short videos from YouTube such as the wing flex video. It would seem to be in the best interests of FOM to leave these short clips, as they generate interest in F1 and seem, to me anyway, to help the brand. In fact, I think FOM should be posting video of older races, cars, and drivers. I found a great 10 minute in-car video of Schumacher at Imola in a Benneton catching and passing most of the field after a starting incident and was enthralled watching it; why doesn't FOM actively release this sort of thing?


because they have signed agreements with TV companies that give said companies EXCLUSIVE rights to air ALL footage. What you're asking for (and I'd like to see it too btw) would require masses of legal work to define what could and what could not be shown on youtube etc. i.e. it is easier to police a total ban than a partial ban. Shame but true.


It's because they can't effectively manage the sport - F1 is a big machine for money, so any discrediting video that can ruin the flow of money is not welcome. It's interesting that the Vettel's onboard camera prior to Button's crash was also removed from youtube, however not from less popular sites like dailymotion. There, you can clearly see how his wing is dancing - first the right side, then the left one, and he loses control. I don't understand why the primary crash structure wouldn't be mounted well enough, unless you want to circumvent the rules. As for Massa - purely unintentional, barely got him any advantage - that's the top of his possibilities.



I looked on dailymotion but cannot find the video. What is it titled? Since I live in the US I cannot see it.

All that legal wrangling only serves to give us fans less.


thanks Mayon! Quite an enlightening piece of video


I think FOM removes the TV coverage from YouTube. My footage from Singapore hasn't been banned (yet?)

Here it is:



Your footage shouldn't (hopefully?) be banned because it wasn't filmed by the FOM so doesn't belong to them. I may be wrong as it's F1 and i know Bernie likes to keep things controlled, but fingers crossed amateur/non-FOM footage should be allowed.


It does belong to Bernie. The text on your FOM race ticket makes a rights-grab for all footage and photography shot at the race track. Punters, independent media, race teams, or FOM TV, it all beongs to Bernie (hence the spirally copyright graphic at 5minutes before kickoff on all TV broadcasts).

The track is private property, they can assert whatever conditions and restrictions to entry that they choose, your choice would be whether to enter, and therefore agree to such conditions.

As to whether they should be quite so unenlightened about contemporary copyright issues is another question, but for now, he can and does, readily send his flying monkeys off to YouTube to purge fan video.


They'd probably use the same excuse Darren Heath uses for never having a wallpaper sized picture available for free. He claims "piracy" but I just go elsewhere for my F1 wallpapers.

I'm another saying Brundle mentioned it on the commentary - if no one from the stewards saw it what the hell were they looking at?


And why did no other team protest ?


It might be fan ignited, however the BBC commentators did mention Massa being off the mark before the start so it's weird none of the officials noticed...maybe another ivory tower needs to be demolished. Even weirder I think is that none of the other teams protested, looking at the results, Massa would've finished nineth with a 25 seconds penalty applied...


I imagine too many people were looking at the skies fretting about their tyre choices, and most simply had too many other things to worry about.

I suppose McLaren and Red Bull may feel disinclined to protest because putting Massa backwards would bring Alonso forwards, but the likes of Brawn / Force India missed a trick for sure.


Ah but think about it... Massa stops over his mark, other teams really should protest that, or the sensor should pick it up. Massa is given a drive-through penalty after a couple of laps, and would emerge behind Alonso ready to play rear gunner... It's team orders!!!! Massa was told to start ahead of his position!

Of course Ferrari didn't calculate the fact the sensor wouldn't pick it up, no team would protest, and Alonso would drop to the back after the first lap...


I think it would be difficult to bring Alonso forward in the race results, considering the fact that he crashed several laps before it finished...


Yeah but he didn't actually jump the start, all he did was start the race a wheel diameter forward of his proper place, this is unlikely to change any results, and in this case deffinately did not! So what's the problem?



When the lights went out he was 1m ahead of everone else.

You think that's not jumping the start?


it was also picked up by Martin Brundle on the BBC Coverage


On BBC love commemtary this was mentioned by Martin Brundle before the race started.


I'm really pleased the fia are taking notice.


how would you summarise jean todts first period of leadership? Has he impressed the paddock and you guys heavily involved?


I’m not James but wondered if you might like the thoughts of another fan.

To say I had my doubts about Todt as president would be a massive understatement. The result of the election, with one person having such a massive advantage, was hardly in doubt at any time. Todt came over as about as independent as Blofeld’s cat and my belief was that he would be a front-man for his predecessor. Poor and partial management seemed to me to be the best we could hope for.

I accept I was biased against Todt after his years in Ferrari, the dullest period in F1 that I can remember. Further, Patrick Head’s destruction of the chap in a few words gave my feelings legitimacy. However:

Years of experience has given me the ability to accept being wrong gracefully and it would appear that Todt has, perhaps, learnt the lessons of his predecessor. He has, from a spectator’s point of view, been almost transparent. That is the way to be president.

His stewarding set-up is a vast improvement. Whether this is down to the organisation, the personnel he’s chosen, the fact that he seems to keep his nose out of it or some other, more secret change, I have no idea. Perhaps you, James, could give an opinion? But whatever it is, it seems to be working.

We can’t expect them to be right all the time – years of experience and all that – but in general it seems to work as well as that of any other sport. We’ve only to look at the sports pages of the last few days’ tabloids to know that other sports have bigger problems.

The stewards seem intent on punishing the act without taking on the god mantel of righting wrongs so good on them. Whilst I haven’t agreed wholeheartedly with all their decisions I’ve got to say none have really irritated me. I follow rugby and if any referee came away from a match with as few iffy decisions he’d get the man of the match award.

I’d suggest, Andy, asking the question again after the WMSC’s decision on the team orders scandal. This will be a big test of his stewardship of the FIA.

So my opinion is that Todt has performed his role well. So far is a caveat that is a little cruel but then if we look back to his predecessor, he started well enough. The deaths of two drivers in two days, one the highest profile driver ever in F1, was a massive blow and one which could have hurt F1 even more than it did. So possibly some good management there?

I don’t know. Whatever, he seemed to be as happy as a pig in whatever it is a pig is happiest in. Things changed, or perhaps things became obvious, after the Verstappen fire and from then on it seemed to be downhill faster than anything they’ve got at Thorpe Park. So there’s plenty of time for Todt to prove me right.

I sincerely wish him all the best in his role and, perhaps out of self interest, hope his good start continues. The WMSC decision is rather unimportant in the balance of things and I hope I won’t be over-critical of any punishment, although lack of one might start me off.

But the important thing is the methodology. We need clear and open procedures and no discussions behind closed doors, or in pubs, with representatives of the accused and decisions made.

And I don’t think we will.

Mind you, I thought Red Bull would struggle this year. What do I know?


I find it hard to believe that the race stewards didn’t know about this, as I recall the commentary team made mention prior to the start. Is it the case that the stewards are watching a different race. To think that no team made a complaint about this is very strange indeed. As for the reason the transponder issue, perhaps Ferrari has found a way to boost the strength of their transponder or figured out a way to make the transponder mount flexible.


I'm guessing none of the teams protested Masser because what difference did it make that he was a wheel diameter forward? If you take into consideration the grid spacings (staggered) the difference would be insignificent. (And let's just get on with the racing, I'm getting tired of all these protests and critisims and shit throwing and back-stabbing!)



Not getting wheelspin from the painted lines as you start could be a big advantage.


I agree, that there is a tendency to analyse everything to the point of insanity, I just feel that these types of issues need to be addressed when they happen. If they don’t pick it up on the day, then thats some good luck to the driver in question.


Maybe race control should listen to BBC to get the information they need. Martin Brundle called it at the start, saying that Massa was clearly over the line and he would definitely get a driver through penalty after the race began.


Can they give any penalty to Massa now?


@ashley edwards, the results were made official on Sunday night so Massa can now not be penalized.


"This is as it should be and it is good to see that fans are able to have influence and that the sport is paying attention."

It's good but the "offending" video will probably be removed, copyright'n'all that jazz...


Didn't Heidfeld do the same thing in 2007(?)? I'm sure either you or Martin mentioned it on the ITV commentary.


Correct, Martin Brundle brought it up before adding the stewards only monitor relative movement. Also Schumi had to reverse on the grid at USA 2002 because he overshot too.


Didn't Webber (was it him?) do this earlier this year too? I remember some discussion online somewhere; perhaps I'll find a link or quote and post it below.


F1 starts are "the cat's meow"!

Worth price of admition anyday and a must experience for every F1 fan.

If only the commentators would shut it until we hit the first turn. Someone please tell them about SAP audio. I want engine sound with no talking!!!!!


I totaly agree with you, CB, and what about the times they're showing other action with MUSIC dominating!!!!!!!!! J.F.C.!



I wish they would be quiet during the formation lap. Especially the last corner of the formation lap. So much engine sound....beautiful.


If you are in the UK then hit the red button and check out the options available - you can have the children's feed, radio 5 feed and the engine sounds on the in car option. That is cool, wish I was still in Blighty.


As others have said TV Commentators spotted it.

I would have thought another team would have put in a protest, it cant have been missed by everybody other than Martin Brundle/Your local commentator???


Right, no link worth posting, but I believe Webber did the same at Bahrain this year and went unpenalised.


The Force India behind, is also too far forward. I'd say half a metre.


No, The tyres must be on or behind the yellow line. The Williams across the shot is exactly the same as the FI.


Nope, the Force India is behind the line, it's just his nose that is over the line


Well spotted, Eagle eye.

Is there an overhead photo of the whole grid just before the start?

Seems strange that race control do not check all cars are lined up correctly before Charlie pushes the green button.


Goes by the front tyres, not the wing, I think, so the Force India looks fine.


Probably thrown off a little by Massa being too far forward. I would imagine that they use the car in front to judge distance as much as anything...


The line demarks where the wheel must be, not the wing/nose.


No, that's acceptable, the front wheels are inside the box. Also, The transponder is fixed in relation the the front wheels, so it doesn't matter if there is a massive front wing sticking out.


Watch the video again Nevsky, the Force India is not over the line at all.


Im pretty sure the rule is the front wheels cant be over the white line. I think the FI will be ok


loved the noise at the start of the engines, you can almost feel the tension before they take off.

Great site as well James


Watching that YouTube clip sends shivers up my spine! How good is the raw noise and then the launch...


Considering the chaos of F1 starts I doubt the stewards would have thought a penalty worth it if he did not gain too many places. I am guessing its hard to see the lines from the driver position.

Great clip though (the engine sound especially), is there anyone else here prefer slightly different start camera angles? I find with the long down the straight shots its hard to follow the action, especialy with the mid-field runners. A heli-cam would be nice.


What does FOM gain by removing all the YouTube clips? Other sports put up or allow clips to be shown.

After the race, we never see really get the chance to see the event again. The BBC show highlights for a few days, maybe a week. Then we move onto the next GP.

Few who saw Hamilton/Kimi tussle in the 2008 Spa race will forget it, but it would be nice to have the opportunity to see it again. The Beeb can't show it - as it was shown when ITV had F1 and FOM for all their greed, don't issue DVD's.

For all Ecclestones business sense, he's making a right horlicks of the YouTube situation.


The commentators in Spain on La Sexta went crazy at the start commenting on how Massa was off his marks. Again we had to hear all the conspiracy theories of double standards against poor Fernando (CHINA GP). What is amazing is that everyone seemed to have caught it except the people who should have caught it. Go figure...


Spanish TV also talked about it. The only people unaware were race control!


Nevsky, the Force India isnt over the line. Its taken from the centre of the front wheels. The front wing can be over the line. You can also see the Williams on the other side of the track doing the same thing.


I can see how having sensors in the car would be useful for determining whether a car starts moving before the lights go off, but it seems a rather over-engineered solution for determining whether the car is lined up correctly.

It boggles the mind that no other team raised it as an issue. Are they so focussed on their telemetry at the start that they aren't watching what's happening around them on the grid?


As others have pointed out, everyone at home knew:



I don not think race control could have penalized Massa based on Brundle word (heresay). They needed video evidence which was not available at the time.

Tom Haythornthwaite

I don't think the Sutil's Force India is over the line. That yellow mark is for the driver to line up the front wheel - not the front of the car.


From what I can gather, Brundle has a look out the window during the race start to see it live instead of using the TV feed like normal, that is why he would have picked it up quickly. Same with the Alonso jump start earlier in the season.


Perhaps this has changed and I have not realized it,but there used to be a marshall per row with a flag and once the flag was down meant that the 2 cars he was assigned to check were in the right place and the race director used to wait for all the marshalls to start the race.


i posted the close-up in slow motion of Vettels flexing wing and it took 20mins for them to have it removed, that was after 160 people had watched it and 15 had made comments, i thought maybe the audio was the problem so tried one without but that got censored as well so i give up.

i realize FOM have copyright to the footage but in the interest of the sport shouldn't they at least waver some of there hardline stance against short clips under 2mins for the pure interest it can generate.


As people have pointed out, Martin Brundle spotted it from the commentary box so surely Charlie Whiting or whoever was standing in the gantry waiting for the green flag to start the lights should've noticed that one car in particular was out of formation. Sensor-errors shouldn't come into it - this sounds more like human error.


I thought there is one marshall for each row of the grid. I assume that is the man with the yellow flag clearly visible in the clip.

Strange that other teams didn't jump on this and demand a review before Sunday night.

Theoretically Massa could recieve a 10 place penalty at Monza.

It's looking like next week maybe a bad week for Ferrari.


They will not give him any penalty


How does a person " Start ahead of himself "

An outer body experience ?


I think this is a tad embarrassing for F1 and Ferrari really. A sport that prides itself on state-of-the-art tech doesn’t pick this up! And another blunder for Ferrari in an error filled season

I wonder if he'd have got away with it if he'd qualified on the front row? (not that Massa is likely to do that in a hurry) Probably not!

That amount of gain at the start must be close to a tenth of a second in qualifying! Good old Ferrari pleasing themselves once again!


You know, that actually looked deliberate!


"...whether intentionally or unintentionally". Come on conspiracy theorists... If it was Jenson and Lewis no body would have even thought of saying it could've been intentional. These things happen. Now the FIA will look into it as they should. Period. Footage is awesome. Got goosebumps.


I know the "rules are rules" line, but realistically this should not be penalised until it becomes systemic or intentional. Massa missed the box, but no advantage was gained. The metre gained is worthless in the big scheme. The FIA are right to investigate the incident, but unless drivers start doing it regularly, it should be left alone. Anyone who has watched club motor racing knows what jump starts look like, penalising for this sort of infringement makes motor racing look silly.


This is ridiculous, almost half of the car is in front of his grid mark.

Martin mention it on the broadcast and at the time i thought Massa was a litle bit ahead for example like the Force India but not like that!!

Sorry for Martin, he was so convinced that Massa would take a penalty that when it didn´t happened i doubt of him but he was right all along.Massa should had a penalty!!

All the great technology in F1, tv cameras, marshals , etc ... and a personnel camera or even a mobile fone pick up the situation for us to see!!

Thanks to that litle film director...really nice to watch and ear the start from that angle.


Interesting video but what terrible seats!


The spanish tv commentators said just as Massa stopped his car that he was 2 metres ahead of his normal starting position. Marc Gené (one of Ferrari's test drivers) also spotted it (he also comments for a spanish tv channel). Given the position difference, I still wonder how it's possible that no marshall and nobody from any of the other teams realised it as well.


Martin brundle spotted it immediately, even before the lights went out, im suprised no1 picked it up from the BBC broadcast.


Yes the comms boxes are above the pits looking down on that part of the grid. Martin always looks out of the window at that stage of the proceedings and watches the getaway too, then reverts back to the TV monitor


Nice to see the fans having their influence as you say, but isn't this exactly the sort of thing that the stewards are looking for at the start, and with the no doubt very expensive transponder set up, and the eyes of the Worlds media on 26 cars and it takes some bloke with some iphone footage to say 'ahem, excuse me Charlie, but...'


James, I was at the race the other day. I was just round the corner from Bruxelles on the hill looking down the straight to Pouhon. Its a great view, you can even see the start/finish straight. It wasn't raining too hard round there but throughout the day especially the GP2 race drivers were all over the place! I'd hate to see them if it had really chucked it down.

Its the second year I've been to the Belgium GP and its the second time I've been annoyed that the drivers don't come round after the race on a slow lap so that the crowd (most of whom have been out there since 7am) can cheer them. I understand its a long lap but I feel its only right that the fans get to celebrate a drivers achievements.


It was probably a faulty sensor? I don't think it was deliberate by Massa. He was probably setting the car up for launch and was distracted, Like Kubica in the pits.

Its good to see the FIA looking at stuff from the fans. Shows the sport is opening up a little.


Will the FOM make the owner remove this footage from Youtube? Surely the F1 honcho's can't remove this footage from Youtube as it's a fan's own footage that he/she took themselves?


Whats all this fuss about the guys video being a talking point? Martin Brundle picked it up about 2 seconds after it happened! Since nothing came of it I dont think he mentioned it again during the race. Had the marshalls been listening to the coverage they may have decided to look at a couple of replays.

I dont think its a big deal though, the rate these things accelerate at being a bit infront of the line isnt going to have nearly the same effect as a good start or jump start.

I agree with most others here. I think the sensors only come into play after the light sequence has started.

On a side note, I presume you are not allowed to reverse on the grid? On a side side note I presume F1 cars still have a reverse gear?


Massa would have knew he missed the grid slot, i wonder did he speak to rob on the radio to check what to do or just hoped that he got away with it

Stuart the Old Geezer

I suppose that Rob Smedley has given Massa enough bad news for one season.

I cannot think of any reason why Massa should deliberately overshoot his 'box'. Surely just an error which gave him precious little advantage. It's a storm in a teacup .

Anyway I think he's a nice guy and deserves a break, so lets hope he isn't penalised.


...Felipe, himself, should have made that determination. "Hmmmmm, my front wheels are in front of the white line....how could this be?!?!"


It is very obvious it was on purpose.

Look when he slows down, he relly does not stress or try to brake hard, he is very easy on the break and quite deliberately ovrerun the box.



I remember very well Martin Brundle from BBC saying he was almost 2 meters ahead at the start of the race, he said massa should have been punished, but it appears nobody listened to the transmission.


They should have a camera on a rail that goes down that start finish track, slightly wide angle that could follow the cars down to the first corner, would be a great perspective to see who gains and looses and why.

StillI always think the commentators do a good job at spotting very quickly incidents


James, completely off topic, but your twitter feed page is offline, its been the same tweets up top for the last 3 days, i checked it on my phone and my laptop, so its not my end.


Thanks. Yes a problem with the interface with Twitter. We're working on it. It's something faced by all people doing what we are going with Twitter


ok great, hope you are able to get it back, its fantastic for all the latest F1 news.


Human error: both by Massa and the stewards. Not everything in life is a conspiracy theory. If you've ever raced a car, you know your mind can be on things other than perfectly lining up your car on the lines and your heart rate is shall we say somewhat high at this point.


Thanks for explaining the problem. They didn't notice it on TV where I live and I just read about it in some comments and didn't really know what happened.

Can Massa/Ferrari be penalised for it somehow? The results can't be changed, but anything else like grid drop in the next race?

Sorry if I post this comment twice... I wanted to write it earlier in the day, but was busy and I don't know if I sent it or not in the end... :/


Drawing number 6 in the Tech Regs shows the 3 possible transponder positions.

One is between the front wheels and the other two are either side of the driver's shoulders.

If Massa's car had them in the rear position they may have still registered on the timing computer as ok, after all it is movement before the start that is detected.

You may also remember that part of the delay in the "Hamilton passing the safety car decision" earlier in the year was in finding the transponder position on his car.

The marshal nearest Massa in the video turns his back just before Massa stops forward of his position.

Also of course the first lap will be longer as it starts behind the start line; presumably timed from race start rather than crossing the start line.


marshals look up the track at what's coming, not down the track at what has already passed.


actually i have that backwards...

looking down the track at what has passed allows them to warn coming traffic what lay ahead. sorry...


Dear God I wish I was there, the noise is fantastic and the tension at a GP start is really exciting.


It's really simple how this happened.

Even if a team protested or a track marshall contacted race control to say Massa 'jumped' the start they'd have looked at the indisputable evidence rather than the eye witness account. And there isn't any, if the sensor is faulty and there's no camera at the right angle on those 2 metres of track what can they do?

On the conspiracy side it's easier to think Massa made a mistake, after all he's made many. However Ferarri only have themselves to blame for so many people thinking they act in this way.


If the FIA use this kind of fotage to nail massage, why on earth they use this fotage kind of fotage from the BBC etc to nail red bull for their illegal wing!


It's is mistake by Massa who overshot his grid slot position.

Don't think Massa deliberately crossed the line just for half a meter advantage.

FIA will take action but what will it be? Grid slot penalty might be the only option for Monza. Yeowch!


I find it hard to accept the FIA was not aware of this. Either they are too reliant on software or in this case, simply blind! It was obvious at the time to those in the crowd, clearly mentioned by BBC commentators and its been mentioned by other TV stations too in the press.

This was a mistake by Massa - a metre is not going to make a huge difference when your lower down the grid - I cannot see it being strategy. However, that it remains unpunished is nuts


I think they are VERY reliant on the software and the marshals, but in this case if the sensor was outside the pickup zone and the ground loop was faulty what do they do? Stop the race and dig up the track?

The marshal nearest Massa obviously did not want to see the start because he turned away before Massa stopped and had his back to him.

Can the FIA use the unauthorised video? It belongs to one of Bernie's many companies or subsidiaries that are controlled by FOM which is controlled by Bernie; does he make the FIA pay for any footage they use I wonder.


Harking back to the driver's salary story, I would throw in in comparison that Dancia Patrick earns $12m per year. (She was considered a possible future F1 candidate by some)

Also a possible future item: Formula 100 has been formed this is an association of F1 sponsors. Together of course they could hold sway over the sport an interesting point for Bernie to ponder. I may well be wrong but I don't think the sponsors have got together before.


F1 does seem behind the times in the technical part of its coverage. Indy Car have cameras at track level it would be fascinating to get a floor level view of the first corner and to see if any wings are bending. The onboard cameras pan so you can see the overtaking cars.


Could Massa have reversed the car to fit within the box ?


James noticed Massa's position in his comentary, I can't believe that this wasn't noticed by any other officals???


Another case of "luck". Some drivers looks like they have it. "Gifted points by the Godess of fortune".

There is the joker who deciude the "luck" of contenders. A luck who could kill the justice and sportiveness. Afterwards anglo media raise or put down their finger. That's all!

That "luck" is measurable. Every driver has his number. +50, +10, -+0, -10, -50.

Guess who is the "product" rewarded by "luck" can you?


What a great sport, one incident resulting in several views from enthusiasts. My personal thoughts are that in the pinnacle of motor sport with all the technology its great that there is room for human error. With the support from the undervalued Marshall's and the constant barrage the officials take we should remember they all are needed as much as the cars or drivers.


Dave fantastic point mate...Don't we just love the value of Human Error, one can see the shoulders shrugging of the Marshall's right now. I agree with you 100%

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