After the collision of Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas and Williams’ George Russell, FIA red-flagged the race on lap 34. After clearing up the debris, the race was eventually started, yet the manner in which the race recommenced confused not only Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel but the majority of the grid.
In the post-race interview, Vettel revealed that he couldn’t understand why there was a rolling start and just like him, no one else understood that concept. Aston Martin Team Principal Otmar Szafnauer echoed the same sentiment. Not only did the rolling start take him by surprise, but it was too late to change Sebastian’s tires
FIA not informing Sebastian Vettel and Aston Martin about rolling starts beforehand
The manner in which the race at Imola restarted not only bemused Sebastian Vettel but also affected his race adversely.
“I don’t know why it was a rolling start,” Sebastian Vettel said after the race. “With the red flag, we tried to start on a softer tyre, but there was a rolling start which we didn’t expect. And then we had a higher degradation on the soft than others on the medium.”
Sebastian Vettel wasn’t the only one; Charles Leclerc was also in the same boat. He, too, was unaware of the rolling start. This begs the question as to why the Race Control failed to inform the drivers beforehand.
According to the Race Director, Michael Masi, they were following the standard protocol. “Generally, we can post either a standing start or a rolling start once the cars have actually left pit lane.
“And so on this occasion, we did it at I think it was about turn seven – there or thereabouts.”
“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,” said Michael Masi.