F1 race director Charlie Whiting has played down concerns about next year’s grid restarts.
“We (drivers) all pretty much disagreed (with the proposal) as far as I am aware,” Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo said earlier this week. Nonetheless, to spice up the show amid a diminishing television audience, races will re-start from the grid following safety car periods next year. But drivers are worried not only that grid restarts are unfair, but that they may also be unsafe. The FIA’s Whiting, however, said he is not convinced grid restarts are unfair on the race leader. And “If you’re in second place,” he explained, “you might actually like the idea of being able to take the lead, which you probably wouldn’t do in a rolling start.”
Whiting also said he is also unmoved by the suggestion that the grid will be more dangerous than a rolling restart, insisting “no driver wants that (crashes) to happen and no driver will cause it to happen”. “First of all it has to be remembered that this was the suggestion from a team,” he explained. “I put it to the rest of the teams and they all agreed that it was a good idea. “The teams were 100 per cent behind it.” Whiting also told reporters on Thursday that efforts to turn up the noise of the turbo V6 engines is continuing.
It is believed Ferrari is testing a sort of ‘double’ exhaust at its Maranello headquarters, following the failure of Mercedes’ ‘megaphone’ solution. But, according to Italy’s Autosprint, Whiting said anything that has “an impact on performance” will not be given the green light. “These cars are quiet,” the Briton acknowledged, “but is it really a problem?”