Formula 1

Seidl Welcomes FIA’s Changes to Pit Stop Procedures, but Horner Disagrees with Rule Change

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Credit: Mark Thompson/Getty Images

From the Hungarian Grand Prix onwards, the FIA have announced that they will be changes to pit stops in order to reduce the amount of automation involved.

Some teams are thought to be utilising sensors and automatic systems to quicken stops, but the FIA want minimum reaction times of humans to be taken into consideration.

These means at least 0.15 seconds from when the wheel nut is tightened to the jack man being told to drop the car to the ground, while another 0.2 seconds will be taken between the jacks going down and the driver being told to drive away.  This is thought to be a safety aspect before any possible issue arises.

Andreas Seidl, the Team Principal of the McLaren F1 Team, has welcomed the news, and he says it is important to ensure the safety of the pit crew.  He is also delighted it is being introduced before something major happens.

“Safety for our pit crew is one of the most important things for us as a team,” Seidl is quoted as saying by Motorsport.com.  “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,” he said. “Therefore we’re very happy with that.”

Teams will now have three races to adapt their systems to the new regulations before they come into force for the Hungarian race on 1 August. 

Horner Against Rule Change: “Seeing pitstops sub two seconds is a remarkable feat”

One Team Principal who is against the rule change is Red Bull Racing’s Christian Horner, who feels they should be aiming for quicker stops rather than attempting to slow them down.

He also argues it could potentially cause more issues in the pit lane as drivers are released a little bit later than they could have been if they did not have the restrictions.

“I think that to have to hold the car for two tenths of a second, you could almost argue it’s dangerous because you’re judging your gaps,” said Horner. “The guy that’s releasing the car is having to make that judgement, and I think that it’s not been well thought through.

“F1 is about innovation and competition. Seeing pitstops sub two 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 to walk into the garage, where we should sit on the pit wall and which buttons we should press I guess.

“I find it a little disappointing,” he added. “It’s the duty of the competitor to ensure that the car is safe, and the penalty for a wheel not being fixed is 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.

“But 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 and slow you down and that’s obviously what’s happening here.”

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Thirty-something motorsport fanatic, covering Formula 1, Formula Renault 2.0 and Formula 3. Feel free to give him a follow on Twitter at @Paul11MSport.
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