SPIELBERG, Austria (AFP) – The victorious Valtteri Bottas’ ‘perfect’ start in Sunday’s Austrian Grand Prix was the result of “fortuitous judgement”, the sport’s ruling body, the International Motoring Federation (FIA), said.
The Finnish driver roared away from pole position with immaculate timing as the lights went out at the start of the race – a getaway so perfect that second-placed Sebastian Vettel believed he had made a ‘jump start’.
The frustrated German, who was second on the grid for Ferrari, said he could not believe the data and felt convinced Bottas had jumped the lights – and after the race described him as ‘un-human’.
But a spokesperson for the FIA said that while it may have appeared possible that he made a jump start, he had been cleared of any possible wrongdoing.
“The jump start system judges whether a car has moved a pre-set (very small) distance between the point at which the last red light comes on and the point at which the lights go out,” said the FIA spokesperson.
“We have found that need to allow for some very small movement, as drivers sometimes need to make clutch adjustments in preparation for the start.
“In today’s instance, Valtteri Bottas did not exceed this limit. Simply put – he made an exceptionally accurate and fortuitous judgement call.