Ferrari using pit lights again in 2010

Ferrari will use their infamous pit stop traffic lights once again in 2010.

The lights, which were blamed for Felipe Massa’s botched pit stop at Singapore in 2008, are being reintroduced an effort to speed up their pit stops.

The team said:

The team has developed a new ??traffic light?? system, more sophisticated and safer than the one used previously. Therefore this is an additional option for releasing a driver back into the race.

Massa’s early exit from the pits with his refuelling hose still attached cost him a potential win at Singapore and could have changed the outcome of the championship. Ferrari suspended use of the lights after the blunder and brought back a traditional lollipop.

Like Renault, Ferrari are also using special wheel nuts to speed up their tyre changes, which are expected to take less than three seconds in 2010 now that in-race refuelling has been banned.

Pit stops in 2010

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79 comments on Ferrari using pit lights again in 2010

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  1. Daffid said on 10th March 2010, 14:26

    excellent… no refuelling but still plenty of pit stop hilarity to come…

    • Maybe but the hilarity was as a result of the refuelling combined with the lights.

      • Patrickl said on 10th March 2010, 14:32

        The hilarity was caused by someone pressing a button too soon.

        • ajokay said on 10th March 2010, 14:49

          This time Massa will leave the pits with a wheelman still grabbing onto the tyre.

          • mfDB said on 10th March 2010, 15:12

            If the wheelman is still holding the tire, the car will be off the ground. If the light turns green when the car is off the ground and the wheelman has the gun to the rear wheel nut and the driver hits the gas…..well….wow….

          • TMAX said on 10th March 2010, 17:55


        • James said on 10th March 2010, 23:13

          That’s true, but the wheels were already on by this point.

          • mfDB said on 11th March 2010, 19:57

            Yes, the wheels are on, but unlike last year with refueling, if the car is released before the crew is ready, the last person touching the car will be the wheel-nut-gun guy and the gun will be attached to the car. If three of them are finished and the light (or lollipop) is released too soon, the wheel will begin spinning when the gun is still attached to the wheel…..

        • Leon said on 11th March 2010, 11:45


          …leave Button out of this will you… ?

  2. mtss said on 10th March 2010, 14:39

    Oh deer!

  3. spawinte said on 10th March 2010, 14:43

    Mclaren have something like this too for this season don’t they?

  4. GeeMac said on 10th March 2010, 14:45

    “The team has developed a new “traffic light” system, more sophisticated and safer than the one used previously.”

    What’s safer than having an experienced mechanic standing in front of the car with a lollypop? This will end in tears… again.

    • verstappen said on 10th March 2010, 19:10

      if it’s linked to the wheels actually being on the ground again, then it could work. and then again maybe not, because there’s also traffic.

      another question: what about the front man?
      is it mandatory to have someone at the front of the car?
      I would design someting where the front man only lifts the car, but that later on the car can be dropped down from the side of the car. I mean, the last ‘thing’ preventing the car to get away, will be the front man, won’t it?
      he used to be able to walk away, because they were still refuelling the car, but this season…

      Oh boy, what a season!

      • macahan said on 11th March 2010, 2:39

        Front man will not be able to do anything if the rear wheels are on the ground. But to the driver that is pretty obvious. I could see the car driving off without a wheel gun removed (with the round wheel nut I would think the gun will fall straight off), but what I can see is the car drives off without the rear jack properly detached and rip it out of the hand of the rear guy.. Biggest worry this year with no refueling I believe will be traffic.

  5. Didn’t Schumacher used to have a mirror on the lollipop when he was at Ferrari, so he could see how the tyre changes were going?

    If he brought that back with Mercedes, Nico could use the mirror to check his hair.

  6. Recent history has shown that either using a lollipop or traffic light system can cause problems at pit stops. I wouldn’t be surprised if a few teams opted for the traffic light system if they think it is quicker and they have sorted all the potential problems out.

  7. Icthyes said on 10th March 2010, 15:04

    I thought the system had actually been banned?

    Can’t say I’m too happy about any team using it. F1 still needs a human element, and I don’t see the benefit of this coming anywhere close to justifying allowing these lights. Or maybe I’m just a hopeless romantic?

    • Invoke said on 10th March 2010, 15:53

      The lights were never automatic though, they only released the driver once the person controlling the lights deemed that everyone had finished their work, and it was safe to go, exactly the role the lollipop man had, just with different equipment.

      If it’s done properly, I don’t see why it can’t work.

  8. UneedAFinn2Win said on 10th March 2010, 15:05

    Probably a system where the lights go when the “nut gun” stops rotating, thats what I’d design anyway

    • sjlyons50 said on 10th March 2010, 15:58

      Images of Grommet and an electric drill in ‘A grand Day Out’ spring to mind!

    • mfDB said on 10th March 2010, 19:58

      What about when the nut doesn’t go on properly and the guy with the nut gun stops temporarily to fix it…..don’t see that working well.

  9. Stephen_P83 said on 10th March 2010, 15:07

    Silliness. The traffic light system, arguably, cost Massa the world title. I don’t understand this decision.

  10. This will end in tears

  11. BasCB said on 10th March 2010, 15:37

    Well this makes up for their rantings at new teams, they introduce an element of comic relieve themselves.

    Possibly Ferrari want to show a certain ex-employee the red light, when he wants to stop at their pit crew!

    Or they think their cars will be so good, they must add an element of risk to make the other teams able to win races as well.
    Or maybe it is just to make sure Alonso gets in front of Massa, just in case Massa doesn’t follow team orders?

  12. Woffin said on 10th March 2010, 15:46

    Not good. Not just because of the mechanics but because of the oncoming traffic situation. Imagine the mechanic pressing the button gets his judgement wrong and releases the car into oncoming traffic. With a lollipop, the mechanic can put the lollipop back down again and the driver will see this right away. With the lights, once the driver sees green then he’s off and there’s nothing obstructing his path if the light turns to red again.

    • mfDB said on 10th March 2010, 20:02

      wrong. if the driver is looking at the lollipop that closely, he can also look at the lights. There have been multiple times where the lollipop man puts it down and the driver goes right through it (it usually slides along his visor on the helmet) and with the acceleration these cars have, the car is at least 20 feet out….

      • Icthyes said on 10th March 2010, 20:22

        The difference is that the lights are usually above the driver’s straight line of sight, so if they turn back to red then the driver will not be looking at them. Also, many times in the past bringing the lollipop down quick enough has been good enough to stop the drivers entering the outside lane in the pits, and if not, then to at least alert him of the danger. That won’t happen with the lights.

        • mfDB said on 11th March 2010, 20:00

          the lights are further away than the lollipop. there have been plenty of incidents where the lollipop man was at fault, lowered the lollipop at the last second and the car still sped away – Kovalinen when he doused Kimi with the gas coming out of the fuel line still attached to the car is the most recent that I can think of….

  13. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 10th March 2010, 15:47

    With a lollipop, the mechanic can put the lollipop back down again and the driver will see this right away.

    That very scenario happened to one of the GP2 Asia drivers at Bahrain last week – think it was Oliver Turvey.

    • Invoke said on 10th March 2010, 15:58

      This could easily be implemented with a red and green button on the controller, to allow the controlling person to switch back to red if he makes a mistake. The light change would perhaps be even quicker than trying to slam down the lollipop.

      • but what if the driver already started the car and isn’t paying attention or isn’t in the visual range of the traffic light system anymore?

        • Jarred Walmsley said on 10th March 2010, 18:27

          Well if thats the case then whats to stop him from paying attention to the lollypop and only realising it when he gets whacked on the head?

          • at least he can notice being whacked on a head with lollipop – lights can blink all the colors of specter and driver has already driven away.

      • Eje Gustafsson said on 11th March 2010, 16:49

        With a light system driver wouldn’t know something was wrong until he was all the way down the pit and they got him on the radio. Might even made it out on the track in this case since there was no big hose flailing. He was still slow on the stop IMO. Didn’t sound that he lifted until he was almost out in the lane.

  14. Invoke said on 10th March 2010, 16:19

    I seem to be the only person who thought the traffic light system Ferrari developed was quite good.

    Obviously I don’t like to see mechanics get hurt like in the fiasco with Massa in Singapore, but wasn’t this still down to human error?

    Perhaps Ferrari forgot to build in the option for the crew to change their minds if they get it wrong (by switching back to a red light) and this was the major fault. However that surely has been fixed, and expanding on that… what’s to stop them from say, linking the light’s with the clutch and brakes on the car to forcibly prevent the driver from exiting his box if the mechanics see something that’s not right?

    I think this system has the potential to be even safer than the lollipop man if used in the right way.

    • Xanathos said on 10th March 2010, 16:53

      I’m not sure, but I think that the rules forbid any means of remote-controlling the car from the pits.

  15. If I recall correctly the original system was connected to the pneumatic guns they use for tyre change and fueling line. Ideally the light would go green at the same time as all the guns would disconnect from the wheel-nuts. Singapore blunder happened because they switched to manual and chief mechanic was trigger happy.

    It could end in tears all over again but it could earn them a few tenths…

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