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

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