Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner is seeking clarification from the FIA regarding Sebastian Vettel’s unconventional start.
The Chinese Grand Prix was a first of many things. An incredible sequence of first-lap overtaking by Max Verstappen, a preposterous crash by Antonio Giovinazzi that saw him out in a nearly identical portion of the track as he did before, and yes, Sebastian Vettel’s odd grid placement at the start.
Starting out in P2, Vettel could be seen edged out of the side of his starting box – in the direction toward Hamilton – but still firmly behind the box’s top line. As Race Control made the decision to not pursue any sort of investigation, Red Bull’s team principal Christian Horner has spoken out about the need for clarification in such a situation after Daniel Ricciardo had to ask for permission from the FIA to begin the race slightly outside of the box due to wet conditions.
“It is obvious what he was trying to do, to get towards the drier part of the track which you can understand.
But it would be good to have clarity on does the driver have to start in his grid box or not…. Is it just a line or is it is a box?
I remember it being discussed [after Japan last year]. He got no advantage from it, but it would be good to have clarity.” – Christian Horner
Vettel’s augmented start didn’t seem to give the German any sort of advantage in his start, but Horner’s call for clarification shouldn’t fall on deaf ears. As with any sport, the calls made by the stewards and officials will almost always elicit a reaction from the opposition – but to have such a crucial portion of the race kept under unclear terms will only serve to fuel future issues.
The FIA has yet to respond to Horner’s request.