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The challenge of the start at Interlagos
The challenge of the start at Interlagos
Posted By: James Allen  |  07 Nov 2010   |  2:43 pm GMT  |  8 comments

Everyone is talking about the start of this afternoon’s Grand Prix and how decisive it will be to the outcome of the race. There is even a sweepstake on what position Hulkenberg will be in at the end of lap one.

Mark Webber is not in an ideal position, behind Hulkenberg on the outside of the track, while Vettel and Hamilton will be making tracks down the inside into turn one. From a championship point of view both of them need a big score today so they will feel they have nothing to lose from attacking at the start. Webber and Alonso, who starts behind him, have more to lose.

The projections are that if the start is normal with no incidents then Hulkenberg will be fighting Kubica for fifth place. His race pace is about 1.2 secs slower than Red Bull and 0.9s slower than Ferrari and McLaren.

For me the key potential battle is Hamilton against Alonso for third place behind the Red Bulls. After making a mistake in Korea, Hamilton will not want to let Alonso through here and McLaren feel they have the speed to beat the Ferrari.

Williams’ launch record is not particularly good this season and the start is made more tricky by being uphill for the first ten or so cars. This means holding the car on the brake while feeding out the clutch.

If you want to know more about how the driver controls the bite point on the clutch at the starts, here’s a video I made earlier this year with Lotus examining the steering wheel in detail.

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Great article, James. I love your attention to detail; particularly how you’ve had the microphone made to match your hair!


Great video James… saw one by rosberg a little while ago and he mentioned other ‘secret’ buttons on the back of the wheel which he refused to explain or show to camera, only showing the 2 clutches paddles and up/down shifters.

Did the lotus wheel seem simplified compared to more advanced teams (e.g. mercedes or ferrari) or was it similiar?


Lovely video! Well, that’s certainly a complex to use steering wheel… Specially the small start settings, it is probably very easy to forget them engaged.

Keep the nice videos coming, they really add a lot of value to the blog!


Rubbish! There will be a massive shunt as Alonso tries to take his “rightful” place and the Credible Hulk will still be in 1st place as lap 2 begins.


Amazing inside look at the technology as usual, James. Thanks to the Lotus team, too, I guess for letting us further behind the scenes than most teams usually do. Wondering what the “Wing” button is for now… Surely, it just activates the adjustable front wing?


Thank you very much, James, everything is very interesting as always!


If Lewis can keep Alonso behind, it will be great for Webber. The start will decide everything.

Webber will hope that Alonso tangles with Hamilton

Alonso will hope that Webber tangles with Hamilton

Vettel and Hamilton will be in Banzai configuration


Here’s hoping that the Hulk can do well enough to get a few laps in the front before getting swamped by the fast guys after a sprint down the home stretch…

Go Nico…

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