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Formula 1

Why Verstappen’s start positions did not merit penalty

by Scott Mitchell-Malm
2 min read

Max Verstappen is understood to be in the clear over the positioning of his car on the grid at the start of Formula 1’s chaotic Australian Grand Prix.

The double F1 world champion won the third race of the season in Melbourne after surviving three red flags on a dramatic Sunday.

Follow reaction to the Australian GP – including Haas’s decision to protest the result – on The Race Live Hub

After a final full standing restart start led to a sequence of multi-car crashes and another red flag, there were no racing laps left and Verstappen just had to get to the finish line after a rolling restart behind the safety car.

But it was speculated that his second win of the season looked might be in jeopardy when images of Verstappen being very far forward in his grid box at the start and subsequent restarts surfaced at the end of the race.

In the first two races of the year, Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso received five-second penalties for being out of position at the start.

It looked like Verstappen might fall foul of a similar fate as images of the final restart suggested he might be too far forward, and he was even slightly further forward at the original start too.

But he has not been placed under investigation and will not face one.

The Race understands this has been checked by the FIA and Verstappen was cleared because the contact patch of his front tyres is touching the white line.

This is the requirement at a race start as the sporting regulations state it is only an offence to have “any part of the contact patch of its front tyres outside of the lines at the time of the start signal”.

So, while Verstappen was on the white line he was not over it and the FIA deemed it was OK.

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