Should drivers be forced to pit? (Poll)

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

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

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

  1. wow I don’t think there’s ever been so much agreement on this site about anything. 90% opposed to it in the poll and all but one or two comments are against it. We’re all saying the same thing, if only the fans were listened to…

  2. I would like to draw peoples attention to the fact that currently only the SWG are considering mandatory stops and not the FIA. All will become clear (or not) at the end of this month. But you just have to hope that some individuals in the teams or the FIA actually bother to look at F1 forums.

    1. I think there’s enough evidence to suggest they do not unfortunately!


  3. If I recall correctly, the original reasoning behind the 2-compounds rule was so that people would still talk about tyres with only 1 supplier.

    Seems to me that people are more likely to talk about tyres (in an interesting way at least) if the drivers are free to choose how many stops to make and whether to use both compounds or just 1, as you will have different drivers running different strategies which will revolve around their tyre choice.

  4. keith you should be the fan’s spokesperson to FOTA or even the FIA! I’m sure they’d listen. after all this must be the biggest F1 fanbase on the web.

    1. I’ll second that. Let’s organize an e-mail campaign to FiA, asking for a Fanbase Liason, and nominating Keith.

      What do you think folks?

      1. Well, I don’t know if this is at all realistic, but I’ll third it anyways.

  5. I want to see a driver that has not pitted being chased down by 1 or 2 seconds a lap by a driver who has pitted twice or three times and having to battle for the win in the last lap. If this rule makes it through, that vision will be dead.

  6. I would not mind 1 pit stop as a rule, but not forcing more than 1.

    However, I have tickets across from the pits this year, so if they force cars to pit more, I just get to see a little more action!

    1. Isn’t it better to see the cars out on the track rather than in the pits?

      And the problem with the one stop rule is that an awful lot of drivers are going to pit at around the same time. You might get to see more than you bargained for!

      1. I agree it’s better to see them on track, but the last time I had tickets across the from the pits the interesting things I saw were the practice sessions and pre/post race. For the race the cars just whip by (however my seats were not the best since they drove close to the wall, which meant I didn’t even see much of the car as it did whip by)

        I usually get tickets at a corner that has some overtaking opportunities, when I booked my seats this year I wasn’t thinking about the refueling ban.

  7. Could Bridgestone be behind this idea, maybe they foresee problems with their tyres lasting if drivers decide to make only one very late stop to switch to the other compound?

    Or does the FIA want to keep the three quick sprints to the chequered flag that making 2 stops mandatory would result in?

  8. There’s absolutely no reason for a rule like this, all they need to do is design the tires so that they dont last a whole race distance and let the teams decide how best to deal with it.

  9. The reason I voted for 1 mandatory stop is that I’m worried to see pit stops go altogether. Due to the no refuelling rule multiple stoppers lose the weight advantage they used to have and the tyres themselves might not make the extra stops profitable. Refuelling or not, it’s still about 20 seconds and a major screwup factor.

    I’d be okay with no mandatory stops if it took A LOT of skill to pull it off, however I’m afraid that Bridgestone would err on the side of caution and make it relatively painless to race with just one set of tyres.

  10. its means its strategic again!

    stop ******* about and just let them race!

    clean racing, heavy fueled.

    will they go all out to get past him and ruin his tyres?
    or bide his time with his tyres?

    let them decide!

  11. Introducing mandatory pitstops would be an idiotic idea. What they need to do is bring only one tyre compound to each race, of a softness that makes completing the entire race on it possible but extremely difficult. Then we might see some good racing.

  12. What I didn’t like about the 1980’s and 1990’s non-pit stop racing was that the teams at the back had virtually no chance of staying with the leaders and the introduction of refuelling along with a mandatory pit stop for a change of tyres helped them immensely and removing that would create the ‘lapped with ten laps’ races again. That’s something that we don’t need.

    It’s great to see a GP without any cars being lapped ot with cars in the midfield or the back getting toward the front. It gives the cars behind the leaders a chance with strategy. Granted, there are those who believe that it should just be the car and driver, but do we really want to see Ferrari and McLaren win every race, again and again? (I cound write a lot of agains). That would be (and has been until recently) incredibly boring. Strategy counts and other teams can come to the fore as has been shown the last couple of seasons.

    To remove a mandatory pit stop would go back to boring races. Winning a race by three laps does not make a good race.

    1. The teams at the back would make the same amount of stops so it would not make a blind bit of difference to them not getting lapped.

      80’s and 90’s back markers getting lapped was due to many poor teams and massive time differences. 1st-3rd would be a couple seconds now days that covers the whole grid, due to the tightening of rules and frozen manufactures spec engines any team can buy for $5million. Pit stops or not will not effect lapping….that has long gone (it might return if the new teams are way off the pace mind you!)

    2. I would have thought that the reduction in backmarkers being lapped in recent years was more down to the improved performance of those teams rather than the introduction of refuelling. We saw in qualifying last year just how close the entire grid was overall, and I can’t remember it being that close before.

      This season however I wouldn’t be surprised if there are more car being lapped, not because of any changes to the rules, but because there will be four new teams on the grid this season and I would be very surprised if all those teams are as close to the top cars as the 2009 backmarkers were.

  13. I think the poll speaks for itself. Personally I didn’t expect it to be that conclusive, but a factor of ten towards less regulation certainly is conclusive!

  14. Firstly if ain’t broken don’t fix it. Let drivers and team choose what they want to do.

    Secondly if for whatever reasons FIA really feels that those pit areas needs some coverage then

    1) Insist bridgestone to make tires where each set will not last more than half the race distance.


    2) If a driver is not choosing to make any pitstop for the entire race he will have to perform a mandatory Pit-Lane drive trough before the Penultimate lap or white flag of the race. Reason to do it before the Penultimate lap is to cover incidents like the famous Silverstone 1998 Schumi-Brawn strategy for the 10 Sec stop and go penalty executed on the last lap.

    1. (2) sounds like a terrible idea. If a driver can nurse his tyres throughout an entire race, it sounds terribly unfair to then impose a penalty.

  15. Could this be the most one sided poll in F1 Fanatic history? Possible article for you there ‘Kieth’ :) “Most overwhelming polls on F1 Fanatic” and then show the FIAs response (if any) to the what the fans have to say.

  16. Paul said: “Lets just let the 2010 season play out and see what happens with this no re-fuelling lark, and review options afterwards.”

    I think what they are concerned about is, without no mandatory pitting there may be NO changes in the lead for the entire race. But I agree, at the least allow the season to unfold before changing, yet again,

    1. NO changes in the lead?? So even though the whole grid is covered by 1sec often last year the FIA think the lead car will always have roughly a 16second lead before stopping and come out in front?! That didnt happen often last year even with differing fuel loads. It will be harder to build a lead with the same fuel loads now.

      Or it thinks everyone will stop on exactly the same lap!?! I agree with Paul, lets see how it goes..please!

  17. Chris Gordon-Smith
    18th January 2010, 17:42

    Absolutely ridiculous. If they want drivers to pit why refueling ban???, looking forward to seeing who can manage tyre wear, and fuel consumption the best. And the nobody noddys running out of tyres, fuel and talent. The cream should rise…
    This must be a marketing ploy to keep us all talking?!?

  18. To an extent, I appreciate the notion of how much “spectacle” the pit stops create, but forcing that to happen would not be necessary in a racing series that provided enough entertainment and suspense with what happens out on the race track.

    Exactly because of the kind of experience with it in the DTM, I would appreciate it very much if there was no fixed number of pit stops. That would leave open the most room for still keeping race strategy as an important factor. I find it would be much more interesting if there was a range of options to draw from, especially rather than forcing a two-stop strategy upon everybody.

  19. This combined with the shortcuts would make for an exciting final lap. Since we know there are two mandatory pit stops the race has been very predictable with the two fastest cars slotting in 1st (Alonso) and 2nd (Kubica). Kubica is being held off by Alonso in all attempts to pass. Its the final lap and last few corners when Kubica dives for the shortcut, comes out in front, and wins the race.

    No passing or driver battles happened while the whole grid changed positions numerous times and everyone was confused.

  20. Pedel to the Vettel
    18th January 2010, 19:08

    If it does happen i will not watch F1 this year….period

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