Should drivers be forced to pit? (Poll)

Drivers could be forced to pit twice per race in 2010

Drivers could be forced to pit twice per race in 2010

Rumours continue to grow that a late change to the 2010 F1 rules will force drivers to make at least two pit stops per race.

The plan has received a largely negative reaction on F1 Fanatic so far, so let’s put it to the vote and find out what most fans think of it:

Should the F1 rules force drivers to make pit stops?

  • No, they should be able to choose if they pit (86%)
  • Yes, one per race* (9%)
  • Yes, two per race (4%)
  • Yes, three or more per race (1%)

Total Voters: 2,794

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*This has effectively been the rule for the last three years.

Why the change?

For the last three years, F1 drivers have been required to use the two different types of Bridgestone tyre at least once per race in dry conditions – which has effectively meant they’re been forced to pit at least once per race.

The FIA has told its Sporting Working Group to come up with ways of “improving the show” in 2010. With in-race refuelling being banned this year one of the changes being considered would require drivers to pit twice per race.

It’s hard to see why anyone thinks mandatory pit stops would be a good idea.

The problem with mandatory pit stops

One of the ways the refuelling ban will make racing better in 2010 is that drivers will now have more flexible strategy options.

Forcing them to pit twice per race will drastically reduce those options. Instead of having a variety of drivers trying to complete the race with anything between no and three pit stops, everyone will know they have to stop twice.

Races will instead hinge on who can get their pit stops out of the way quickest. An early safety car period will result in drivers flocking to the pits to get one of their mandatory tyre changes out of the way.

Making it even worse: pit stop windows

We know this because we’ve seen exactly the same thing happen in other championships where mandatory pit stops have been introduced, like A1 Grand Prix and DTM.

Having found that mandatory pit stops did little to spice up the racing those series reacted by introducing another artificial device – pit stop windows. This meant that drivers not only had to pit twice per race but could only make their stops during two specific periods of the race (usually around the one-third and two-thirds distances).

This just served to make the racing even more prescribed, even less varied and consequently, less entertaining.

Simpler is better

Last year the F1 teams’ association surveyed fans on their opinions of the sport. One of their key findings was:

F1 isn?t broken, so beware ??over-fixing? it.
Formula One Teams Association survey findings

That applies perfectly here. Forcing drivers to pit would add an unnecessary level of complexity to F1 without making it more exciting.

Simpler rules make for a better show. Mandatory pit stops and pit stop windows are over-complicated ideas which come out of the same box that held aggregate qualifying and fuel credits – and they will be just as unpopular and unsuccessful.

Over to you

That’s my opinion – now I want to hear yours. Do you think a ‘mandatory pit stops’ rules should be introduced? Vote above and have your say in the comments below.

Pit stops and rules changes

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112 comments on Should drivers be forced to pit? (Poll)

  1. Ads21 said on 18th January 2010, 10:56

    The constant rule tinkering and politics is precisely what is driving casual fans away, not a problem with ‘the show.’ How is the casual fan supposed to keep up with the rule changes from one season to the next. We already have a new points system that will take even F1 fanatics a season to get used to, over the past 5 yrs we’ve had everything from no tyre changes to no fuel stops with 3 or 4 different qualifying system. We’ve had a budget cap that wasnt, a ‘gold medals’ system that wasn’t and Bernie coming up with an insane idea on shortcuts which will never happen in a game of politics to get a different rule change.

    The rules need to stay consistant, and the fewer of them the better. Rule changes shouldn’t be there to improve ‘the show’ we don’t eliminate the offside rule in football to try and create more goals, or increase the value of a 6 in cricket to encourage more boundaries. If F1 wants to appeal to a wider audience the rules should be simplified not made more complicated, and it should be run like a sport not a business/political playground.

  2. JohnBt said on 18th January 2010, 10:56

    Pit when drivers need to. It’s about tyre management, SIMPLE.

  3. Woffin said on 18th January 2010, 11:03

    Too many parameters are being changed at once here! If we are going to get rid of refuelling, then lets see how that works first instead of adding a whole load of other new rules at the same time. Only then will we be able to tell if we need mandatory pitstops or not. I personally believe total freedom would be the best way to go. Make as many, or as few pitstops as you like (maybe even none)! Save your softs for qualifying and do the race without stopping on hard tyres? Or maybe go for a few stops on the softer tyres and try and sprint your way through the race (probably Hamilton’s preferred option as his tyre management skills are quite poor, see Turkey).

    Let the strategists have free roam I say!

  4. Dont make even a single pit stop mandatory. Let Bridgstone provide 2 tyre compounds. Now the choice of the tyre depends on the driver, the car and the weather(i m only talking about dry weather). For ex, If the car works better on hard tyres as in the case of Lewis, let him run the whole race on HARDs.
    And if the car works better on SOFTs as in case of Jenson
    ( he always struggles to generate heat in his tyres), let him run on softs. Let driver decide

  5. McPhil said on 18th January 2010, 11:07

    NO! We want a race, not a procession…

  6. HounslowBusGarage said on 18th January 2010, 11:14

    I’m something of a DTM fan, and I have to say that introducing mandatory stops into that class of racing has been a disaster. I never did understand the reasoning for DTM to do so, as there wasn’t the compulsion to use different grades of tyre either.
    What would contstitute a ‘mandatory’ pit stop? As there would be no refuelling, a car would only come in to change tyres. But let’s pretend that it’s a wet race on a low-speed circuit and one particular driver doesn’t want to change tyres on his second ‘mandatory’ pit-stop. Would he just be able to drive straight through? Or would the car actually have to come to a stop and have a sticker removed or switch a light on to show that he’d stopped?
    Over regulation to the point of idiocy.

  7. fabzx said on 18th January 2010, 11:27

    wow a while ago i was fretting over the idea of getting points for pole and fastest lap but after thinking more about this issue i dont even care about the points thing anymore.
    As long as there are no mandatory pit stops i will be happy

  8. fabzx said on 18th January 2010, 11:30

    how about if a driver doesnt want to stop then thats ok but if he does then he needs to use both compounds.
    i think that would be best and everyone would be happy

  9. F1 should be the pinnacle of all motorsport and known for its innovation and creativeness. If pitstops are compulsory it’s just another rule making racing artifical, controlling freedom and stopping teams really gambling or being creative with strategies. It’s just bringing everyone down and who copes best or has the less disadvantage with pitstops wins and that’s a pretty cynical and negative way to have a race.

  10. Jim N said on 18th January 2010, 11:33

    Ever since mandatory pit stops were introduced I have been fed up with the majority of drivers just hanging around waiting for the car in front to pit so that they could leapfrog them. Schumacher and Raikonen were masters of it. It might have been successful for them but it’s made for many, many boring races. What I want to see it overtaking on the track, or at least battles to try to overtake on the track. But with compulsory pit stops all we get, time after time, is a couple of half hearted attempts to overtake, which fail for what ever reason, then the pursuing driver just sits back and waits for the pit stop. That doesn’t and never has made for entertaining racing.

    Pit stops are an amusing novelty for people new to the sport, but something which just adds confusion and frustration as people become more interested.

    Please, please, please NO COMPULSORY PITSTOPS!

  11. Are you “No” voters thinking that drivers will have to pit for tyres anyway? In which case what’s the problem with it being mandatory? Allowing them not to pit just means they can work their strategy towards that goal and when they achieve it we end up with a parade.

    This isn’t GP2, there is no reverse grid.
    The cars are closer than ever, on track overtaking isn’t going to suddenly become more possible than it was before. I’d say quite the opposite. Without cars running varying fuel weights and fresher tyres I would expect on track overtaking to fall not rise.

    Races without a single position change the entire race are perfectly possible if qualifying goes without a hitch and no one pits.

    • Regards the “mega exciting” tyre management a lot are mentioning.
      Do you really want to watch drivers not really pushing for two thirds of the race just so they can conserve their tyres?

      If you got your “No” vote through, I would drive the fastest car to pole, put on hard tyres, hold the entire field up and just cruise to the end.
      If you think they will stop anyway then there shouldn’t be a problem with it being mandatory!

      • Journeyer said on 18th January 2010, 12:10

        “Are you “No” voters thinking that drivers will have to pit for tyres anyway? In which case what’s the problem with it being mandatory? Allowing them not to pit just means they can work their strategy towards that goal and when they achieve it we end up with a parade.”

        I might agree with that if there was a tyre war, but we have a control tyre, remember. Bridgestone can make tyres marginal enough that if handled well, they can last the whole race, but can also go a lot quicker if stops are made.

        And you would also see that we had a lot of good racing when we had no forced pitstops in the late 80s and early 90s…

        “Regards the “mega exciting” tyre management a lot are mentioning.
        Do you really want to watch drivers not really pushing for two thirds of the race just so they can conserve their tyres?”

        Not really pushing? Let’s go back to the late 80s/early 90s example. Senna, Prost, Mansell, and co were hardly cruising during the middle of the race, were they?

        “If you got your “No” vote through, I would drive the fastest car to pole, put on hard tyres, hold the entire field up and just cruise to the end.

        If you think they will stop anyway then there shouldn’t be a problem with it being mandatory!”

        Let’s go to a more recent example: Monaco 2005. The Renaults tried running hard tyres to the end. Was it possible? No – the tyres just over-grained and they fell like rocks. In fact, we saw some of the craziest overtaking in Monaco for YEARS during those laps. And we had a tyre war then, so Michelin was pushing like heck to make the most optimum tyres possible – which won’t be the case now.

        But why force them to stop? If they think they can handle it, let them try it. It shouldn’t be for us to say if they need to stop or not.

        • “I might agree with that if there was a tyre war, but we have a control tyre, remember. Bridgestone can make tyres marginal enough that if handled well, they can last the whole race, but can also go a lot quicker if stops are made.”

          I think at some circuits everyone or most will manage the tyre to last. They will all do the same thing and it will be a procession.

          “And you would also see that we had a lot of good racing when we had no forced pitstops in the late 80s and early 90s”

          I first got into F1 in 91 and know what you are referring to but I think the nature of F1 is too different. The teams are too close in terms of car and profficiency and the circuits some would say are worse than ever for overtaking.

          “Not really pushing? Let’s go back to the late 80s/early 90s example. Senna, Prost, Mansell, and co were hardly cruising during the middle of the race, were they?”

          No but again I think times have changed too much and we won’t be seeing much overtaking, just one driver holding up another for longer. Like you said some drivers will be able to make a tyre last the entire race and I think that “some” will turn into “most” on certain circuits.

          “Let’s go to a more recent example: Monaco 2005. The Renaults tried running hard tyres to the end. Was it possible? No – the tyres just over-grained and they fell like rocks. In fact, we saw some of the craziest overtaking in Monaco for YEARS during those laps. And we had a tyre war then, so Michelin was pushing like heck to make the most optimum tyres possible – which won’t be the case now.”

          On the circuits they can make their tyres last they will do and there won’t be any falling off and overtaking either at all or until the very end of the race.
          I really don’t want to sit through 2 thirds of a race with nothing going on.

          I see where your points are coming from, it’s obvious we have different visions of what racing would be like and no way of knowing which is right.

          Double Decker diffusers being banned won’t even register an improvement in overtaking in my opinion let alone make a big difference. On the current path and in the current situation I think pit stops are needed to make things more interesting. To me removing them would add very little but potentially take a lot of unpredictability and interest away.

          I appreciate I am in the minority on this site. Only time will tell how the spectacle of F1 racing changes.

          • thestig84 said on 18th January 2010, 15:54

            “If you think they will stop anyway then there shouldn’t be a problem with it being mandatory!”

            The same goes for the reverse of your argument. You want a mandatory stop but if they are going to probably stop anyway why make it mandatory. You get your way as they will make stops and the other 88% get their way as there is a possibility’s of some other strategies such as a none stop

          • @GQsm I actually voted for one mandatory pit stop, which they will probably do anyway because I think the cars still rely heavily on strategies.. I’m not against them not stopping at all, specially if it’s the teams wisest strategy plan, but are the cars ready for that?

            I wouldn’t want to see all the teams slowly evolve to mastering one favored strategy of not stopping at all. The tyre makers will also adjust and provide tyres that are more suitable, no more high grip softs..

            @Sam O nice breakdown but I can’t see why would they risk not stopping at all and losing it at the end because the tyres have no grip, stopping once and then either sticking to the same compound or switching to the other seems to make more sense..

            Btw, what is the rule for 2010 on using both compounds, is it still mandatory? And are Bridgestone still the manufacturers?

            Of course more than 1 compulsory pit stop is beyond me, it would be nothing but a waste of racing. The point of a pit stop is to provide the driver with a more reliable and faster car. If they are able to survive with no pit stops then bravo, but I think the pit stops have benefits and add suspense with all the different possible strategies..

  12. making them pit twice would be a stupid idea because then the drivers wouldn’t have to preserve there tyres as much as if they decided to only make 1 or no stops and for me at least that is one of the interesting things about the refulling ban. Aspecially with button and hamilton because hamilton is the quicker driver but buttons smoother style might be kinder to tyres and level the playing field a bit.

  13. Same rules as MotoGP. Full tank of gas and race. How many times have we seen in MotoGP wear a riders tires are going off at the end of a race with following riders catching and passing within the last 5 laps . That’s what we want to see in F1

    • Its Hammer time said on 18th January 2010, 17:11

      Amongst all this inane wobbling on this thread someone has hit the nail square on the head. It’s a race, not chess. Cut the rules back and LETS RACE. Lorenzo (Hamilton) vs Rossi (schumacher) vs Pedrosa (Alonso)

  14. What is the point!? I want to see some people stay on the same tyres the whole race, only for some one to risk pitting for tyres and catch them in the closing laps.

    That’s what I was most looking forward to in 2010 :(

    And pit stop windows!! WHAT!!!

  15. Xanathos said on 18th January 2010, 12:15

    This idea is horrible and shows that the teams are not willing to try anything new.
    I voted for no mandatory pit stops, but I’d be fine as well with the rule that they have to run both tires.

    I’ve rarely seen a poll on this site which had such a clear result. Keith, do you have any chance of sending this to someone connected to the SWG to prevent them from making a huge mistake?

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