Ferrari ditch lights for lollipop

Despite their pit-lane blunders at Valencia and Singapore it originally seemed as though Ferrari were going to stick with their controversial ??traffic light? system for releasing cars from the pits.

Ed Gorman reported on his blog:

A Ferrari source said the review into the system conducted by Stefano Domenicali had produced strong support for keeping the lights. The team believes it is a good system which is a step ahead of the old lollipop. The Scuderia believes the system alone has gained them a couple of places this season (Hungary might have been one occasion, apparently). “We don’t have it because we want to be clever; we do it for performance,” was how it was put.

But today the team admitted they were going back to the old system of a man with a lollipop from this weekend?s Japanese Grand Prix. Stefano Domenicali said:

In this moment we need tranquillity and therefore we prefer to go back to the old system.

Has Ferrari done the right thing? Although the lights system is supposed to be a few tenths of a second quicker than using a lollipop, it seems they need more practice with it before it can be used reliably. It?s clearly not a risk worth taking with the championships hanging in the balance.

The mechanics will surely breathe sighs of relief as well.

Advert | Go Ad-free

11 comments on Ferrari ditch lights for lollipop

  1. Had they continued with the lights the mechanics would have been drawing straws for the fuel job.
    Short straw loses.

  2. Jon Finn said on 7th October 2008, 20:30

    The Scuderia believes the system alone has gained them a couple of places this season

    oh that’s a gem!

    I wonder just how many places (and championship points) this lights system has lost them this season?

  3. Dan M said on 7th October 2008, 20:53

    I would assume maybe they will bring it back next year after adding a few more features noted in Bernie’s “constructive criticism”.

  4. bernification said on 7th October 2008, 21:48

    The Scuderia believes the system alone has gained them a couple of places this season

    What, like at Valencia!

    Was Raikonen punished for driving over his mechanics? Or Massa/the team for driving of with the pit attatched?

  5. ceedas said on 7th October 2008, 21:59

    Well, Massa was punished in Singapore, although I’m not sure it was for having the hose still attached.

    The main benefit of the lollipop is when the car is released before it should be – with a light, the driver reacts and is gone by the time it could be changed back, but at least with a lollipop, the chief mechanic can lower it back down in front of the driver, hopefully getting the driver to stop. Might not always stop a couple of mechanics being knocked over occasionally, but should stop fuel hoses being ripped off the rig.

    I don’t think you can blame Ferrari for trying to innovate in an area where you can make up places during a race, but it’s clear it needs a rethink.

  6. anyone see the Max interview on the BBC today. Looks like it took place in one of his ‘homes’ There appears to be a rather nice model car in the background on a pride of place shelf. What car do you think it was??? here is a clue, rather red, and prone to skipping penalties. Mind you on the bright side there did not appear to be any whips in evidence (Point of order Max, thats comment on information in the public domain, no need for lawyers just yet)

  7. Loki said on 8th October 2008, 0:14

    Has Ferrari done the right thing? Although the lights system is supposed to be a few tenths of a second quicker than using a lollipop, it seems they need more practice with it before it can be used reliably. It’s clearly not a risk worth taking with the championships hanging in the balance.

    Quite rightly not worth taking the risk, considering how much controversy it has caused as a result of a driver and a pit crew. In theory it works out quicker, but I definately agree more training should be done.

    I personally think it’s good to see teams at least try something new – that’s part of the F1 world – and if it doesn’t go to plan then you’re under the eyes of the world. It shows that Ferrari are there to scramble every tenth, hundredth, thousands there is to gain (which I’m sure all teams are doing, I’m just using a case example here). With such amateur implementation, and the unforgiving tolerences F1 operates under, it’s sadly not meant to be just yet.

    But once they get it right, another team will be right there doing the same thing. If not before.

  8. So Ferrari are allowed to gain a few seconds in the Pits, but McLaren aren’t allowed to be a few seconds quicker on the track?
    I’m not impressed with this line of thinking from the FIA. Although nobody really noticed what Ferrari were doing until it all went wrong……

  9. Fantastic news! Ferrari need to concentrate on the championship for the next few weeks and not the light system that only sometimes works. I wince every time I know there is a pressured pit stop because I know there is a very good chance something will go wrong with those lights and as a Ferrari fan it does kinda ruin the race a bit. Come on Massa!

  10. Do I hear Ferrari fanatics singing the Hallelujah chorus?

    In principle, I actually like the lights, they’re just too hairtrigger sensitive for what Ferrari were trying to do with them.

    My brother suggested one better: Install a heads-up display in the driver’s helmet, so the driver sees the go sign in his visor. As if F1 cars don’t drive enough like a video game already.

  11. beneboy said on 10th October 2008, 23:07

    Watched a World Touring Car race the other day and they were using an automatic lollipop system.

    It’s a board suspended in front of the windscreen of the car and it lifts up to tell the drivers to leave.

    Two cars drove off from their pit stops with the fuel bottles still attached to the cars, one weaved down the straight to get it to fall off (glad I wasn’t following him), the other did a full lap with it sticking on to the side of the car then came in the pits where it fell off.

    Couldn’t help noticing the similarities to what’s been going on at Ferrari this season.

    Maybe automatic pit release systems aren’t quite operationally ready just yet and need a little more R&D before we let them lose in a racing pit lane.

    It’s good to see the team trying new ways to gain an advantage and I hope it will be successful one day, it does though show how the big teams will always find new ways to spend money, no matter how many cost cutting ideas the FIA come up with.

Add your comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

All comments must abide by the comment policy. Comments may be moderated.
Want to post off-topic? Head to the forum.
See the FAQ for more information.