Nico Rosberg hoping new start rules will give him an edge over Lewis Hamilton

nico rosberg

Nico Rosberg believes the new start procedures set to be introduced at the Belgian Grand Prix can give him another weapon in his armoury against title rival Lewis Hamilton.

Starting at the next round at Spa-Francorchamps, drivers will not be able to adjust their clutch bite point after leaving the garage on their way to the grid. Previously drivers were able to use a bite-point finder to optimise their starts after leaving the pits and could also be given information about which settings to choose by the pit wall.

The tighter regulations were introduced in the hope of putting the onus on drivers over engineers and Rosberg is hoping he will be able to use it to his advantage.

“I like it because it gives me the opportunity to try and beat Lewis in that area,” he said. “Whereas until now it’s difficult because it was not really in the driver’s hands.

“It’s going to be a challenge, it really is, because up to now it was so controlled by the engineers, who were doing the settings and everything. Now, to be completely on your own, it’s a big change, so it will be interesting. It’ll be easy to do it, but it will be complex to do it well.

“The procedure is the same but you have to be more reactive because the clutch won’t be in the perfect position because it’s not been set perfectly – it just gets set and you’ve got to deal with it. It’s going to be quite complicated, for sure.”

Following poor starts for Mercedes at both the British and Hungarian Grands Prix, Hamilton is wary that the new procedures could lead to more problems off the start line.

“The fact that we can’t change our bite point and then we can’t even do a bite point or clutch warm up, that’s going to be the interesting thing because the clutch varies a lot in temperature throughout the starts. If it’s cold or too hot, it’ll make a lot of difference in how much torque goes through the wheels and all these things. It will be interesting to see how different it is for everyone and on our side there’s a chance it can be inconsistent even more so.”


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