The new pit stop related technical directive was presented to the F1 teams over the Styrian GP weekend, which generated lots of views.
It is not clear who kick-started the checks with regards to pit stops, but the technical directive was sent to the F1 teams over the Styrian GP weekend, with the new set of rules and regulations to come into effect from Hungarian GP onward.
The finer details goes into pages for it, but them main focus area is the use of automatic systems to alert the mechanics about the steps of pit stops. The push is for greater safety and have more human influence, before releasing the cars from the pit box.
F1 teams are continuously using new means to lower their pit stop time, with Red Bull the fastest by good margin. The new directive will lead to slower stops by bit, where a sub two second stop is unlikely, which the team managed to do multiple times.
The source of this directive is unknown, with Mercedes stating that they asked the FIA about their own stops, which is normal discussions. There were some hands towards McLaren too, but they had similar thoughts to the German manufacturer.
For Red Bull, it is more on the side of challenges thrown at a competitive F1 outfit. Horner added that he is not losing sleep over the fact that there are teams trying to slow them down in every way possible, where pit stop is next target after rear wings.
On if F1 teams are targeting Red Bull –
Horner: “The technical directive is certainly very wordy and you’d almost have to question whether it’s a change of regulation. I suppose we have been very competitive, we’ve got the world record on pit stops, we’ve had the majority of fastest stops during the year and it’s not by accident. I find it a little disappointing… I mean it’s the duty of the competitor to ensure that the car is safe and the penalty for a wheel not being fixed is that you have to stop the car immediately.
“So it’s a brutal punishment if you haven’t got all four wheels securely and safely fastened. So, what the technical directive is trying to achieve, I’m not quite sure, because I think there’s an awful lot of complexity to it. Of course, when you’re in a competitive situation, if you can’t be beaten then obviously the most logical thing is for your competitors to try to slow you down, and that’s obviously what’s happening here.
“I think you can see there’s an awful lot of pointed activity in our direction at the moment – but that comes with the territory of being competitive. An awful lot of energy is going into trying to slow the car down which, you know, is obviously what happens in a competitive business. So, it’s something that we’re used to but I’m not losing too much sleep about.”
It stops sub-2s pit stops –
Horner: “I think it has already slowed pit stops this year. After the earlier discussions and directives that have been on the pit stops and I think to have to hold a car for two tenths of a second I think you could almost argue that it is dangerous because you are judging your gaps and the guy is releasing the car is having to make that judgement and it’s not been well thought through. Formula 1 is about innovation and competition and seeing pit stops in sub-2 seconds is a remarkable feat and we should be encouraging it, not trying to control it. Otherwise, where does it stop? We’re going to be told which way we should walk into the garage, where we should sit on the pit wall and which buttons we should press, I guess.”
Whats your take and if this is a target –
Wolff: “I’ve already been told which buttons I shouldn’t press, and stuff. You know it’s interesting to see because there must be a reason why that TD has come up and I’m not 100% sure. The operation of the wheel gun and the release of the car is a highly complex matter and I’m certainly… All of us in the F1 team are up for competition because it’s a competitive field. But there is also the safety argument. And Christian mentioned it before: you put everything into your pit stop so you avoid your wheel detaching or coming off as the penalties are enormous.
“We in the past had a policy of making sure that that wouldn’t happen, and that also meant to have some circuit-breakers in the system, in a way that that could never happen and that slows you down in the pit stops. But that was our own decision. It had nothing to do with anyone else. Fast pit stops are nice to have and they look cool, but I am not 100% sure that they are such a huge performance differentiator, because we are talking about a tenth or two on average, not talking about the slowest or fastest pit stops. Yeah, it’s been interesting to see where that came from and what the basis was.
If Mercedes triggered it –
Wolff: “On the pit stop we enquired with the FIA on a safety mechanism, which is related to a system that we are using and whether that could be optimised. I would say that this was three or four weeks ago and it was a technology question. Did that trigger anything else? Maybe. I don’t know.”
McLaren’s view on safety aspect:
Seidl: “Safety for our pit crew is one of the most important things for us as a team. It’s such a very competitive battlefield in F1, and therefore I think it is good to clarify even further of what the FIA is expecting in order to be within the rules. I don’t think it would change a lot for us because we always took, I would say, a more conservative approach here to make sure that we don’t put anyone in the pit crew at risk.
“One reason why we welcome the initiatives on FIA side, is it’s important also to anticipate problems or safety issues, and not always wait until they happen and then react. Therefore we’re very happy with that. With the way we do pitstops, it’s pretty much exploring what was allowed by the regulations, but ensuring safety for our pit crew.”
Fresh TD and Ferrari’s stance –
Mekies: “It is certainly a little bit coming out of the blue, I would agree with you. I think without the discussing the circumstances, I think for sure, it’s probably better moving forward if we have a chance to sit all together and to work these things out with the FIA and with the team, as opposed to be a bit caught by surprise in the middle of the season with a TD. Ultimately we understand why that is, but it would probably be nice to sit down and to see what it is first.”
Here’s news on Aston Martin poaching from Red Bull