How F1 can make pit stops safer

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Felipe Massa, Ferrari, Hockenheimring, 2010

Formula 1 got a wake-up call at the Hungaroring when two potentially dangerous accidents happened within seconds of each other in the pit lane.

Fortunately the only lasting damage to come from the incidents was financial – Renault and Mercedes were each handed $50,000 fines.

But the accidents serve as a reminder that safety can never be taken for granted in Formula 1. What can be done to improve safety in the pit lane?

The two incidents were very different but they shared a common cause. Robert Kubica was released from his pit box too soon – causing a collision with Adrian Sutil – and Nico Rosberg was allowed to depart without all four wheels properly attached.

These mistakes happened because their teams were striving to waste as little time as possible in the pits. Although the fines will have concentrated the teams’ minds on not cutting corners when it comes to safety, it’s impossible to completely eliminate such mistakes from pit stops.

Instead, F1 should ask how to better protect the mechanics who are most at risk. The logical thing to do would be to reduce the number of them that are in the firing line.

Limiting the number of mechanics

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Hungaroring, 2010

Lewis Hamilton's car serviced by 19 McLaren mechanics at the Hungaroring

At present there is no upper limit on the number of people who may work on a car in the pits. The only restriction prevents mechanics from standing in the pit lane when their car is not coming in for a pit stop:

Team personnel are only allowed in the pit lane immediately before they are required to work on a car and must withdraw as soon as the work is complete.
Sporting Regulations article 23.1 (b)

Teams use as many mechanics as they can lay their hands on to get the car turned around as quickly as possible: as the picture above shows, McLaren had 19 men on hand for their pit stops in Hungary.

In other series the number of mechanics allowed to work on a car are limited to minimise their exposure to danger. In IndyCar a maximum of six are allowed, and that includes two to refuel the car, which are not needed in Formula 1 at present.

Built-in jacks remove the need for mechanics to raise and lower the car. Have a look at IndyCar pit crews in action in this pit stop race from this year’s Indy 500:

F1 could easily impose a limit of six mechanics per pit stop, which would allow two for front wing changes in addition to the four changing tyres.

It wouldn’t negatively affect the racing. Yes, it would slightly slow down the speed of pit stops for all teams but that could increase the potential for variety which is surely no bad thing.

During the safety car period in Hungary all 12 teams pitted their cars at once. Assuming all were using 19 (different teams may have been using more or fewer mechanics) there were potentially as many as 228 mechanics in the pits at once. Cutting the number working on each car to six would mean 156 fewer bodies in the pit lane for something to hit.

Closing the pit lane

Another solution could be to bring back the rule preventing drivers from pitting while the safety car is out. This would make it far less likely that we would see 16 cars (or more) pitting at once as happened at the Hungaroring, with obvious implications for safety.

It would have the added benefit of allowing the sport to do away with the complicated rules which restrict how quickly a car can go after the safety car has been deployed, which nine drivers received penalties for after the European Grand Prix.

This solution is slightly more controversial than the former, as it could disadvantage drivers who need to make a pit stop for tyres at the time the safety car is deployed.

But despite that, I would consider either of these changes an improvement. They would reduce the chance of a mechanic getting hit by a wheel or a car, something we never want to see in F1.

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167 comments on How F1 can make pit stops safer

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  1. graigchq said on 3rd August 2010, 14:53

    hear hear Keith.

    I find it fasciinating watching the World GT1 races where just two mechanics frantically run around the car to change all four wheels individually whilst the drivers help each other to swap places, it really adds something to the spectacle, as well as being far far lower in cost.. compare 2 reasonably paid Matech Ford GT1 race mechanics with 19 McLaren employees, and you can instantly see how much money could be saved (although clearly this argument has nothing to do with cost per se).

    The in-built jacks that are on the IndyCars, touring cars and most GT cars make the pit stop a lot more straight forward as well, and another standardisation that can reduce costs on a team by team basis – whilst also improving safety by requiring less people there to perform the work.

    • Reducing the number of pit lane mechanics won’t reduce costs – the mechanics all have other jobs at the track and would be there anyway.

      • Charles Carroll said on 3rd August 2010, 18:07

        I doubt that all 19 McLaren mechanics all have other jobs to do besides pitting. Whenever we see them not in pit lane, they are sleeping in chairs and looking extremely bored.

        Cut the mechanics down to 6, have built-in jacks, and save lives and lots of money in the process.

        This is an area where Indy Car is better than F1.

        • PeriSoft said on 3rd August 2010, 18:41

          “Whenever we see them not in pit lane, they are sleeping in chairs and looking extremely bored.”

          The guys who program the pit lane computers and display systems probably aren’t doing much during the races either, but that doesn’t mean they’re not needed.

          • Charles Carroll said on 3rd August 2010, 20:05

            Yes, you’re right on this and upon further review (considering everything that goes on during the weekend) I was wrong to assume they don’t do anything else.

            However, I still stand by my preference for seeing less pit crew members. I, for one, am not a “pit guy”. I enjoy the racing and can’t really get into the whole pit thing. I suppose part of that is because they are so short and usually only occur once during a race. I guess for me it is just a forgettable part of the action.

            Perhaps with less crew members there would be more margin for error and longer stops, which would make it more interesting for me and more safe for the guys.

            At the end of the day, having not done it, I cannot say for sure.

        • I’d be willing to bet you everything you had that most, if not all, of those guys are working on that car or parts of it when it is in the garage. I have NEVER seen a professional race team completely waste resources by only having people work 2-3 hours a day. Most of them are stingy as hell and work every last person on the team 10-12 hours a day if they can get away with it. If you every watch qualy or practice, you will see that very few people are just “sitting around” or “sleeping” during these times.

          • Ill agree to it, Formula 1 is a really tough business and why would any team waste their money hiring a worker whose job is to sleep? thats stupid!

            All the teams are working on bringing in more money to get more development and u think they hire ppl to sleep in the pit garage!!

          • MEmo said on 6th August 2010, 3:36

            They are truck drivers, pit garage contructors (the fake walls and all that) and other things: they just happen to be mechanics during the race…. or they are mechanics that happen to do something else beside the race…

        • DavidS said on 4th August 2010, 6:46

          They work on getting the garage ready for the weekend, assembling the car, fixing any problems on the car during practice. After the race they will dismantle the car (after it has been weighed by the FIA of course).

          The period after the final pitstops is when they actually have no work to do. They can’t work on the car when it’s out on track.

          The reason you see them sleeping is because they have get very little sleep. Mechanics in F1 teams often won’t finish until very early morning, and won’t sleep at all if the car has an issue. The time after the final pitstop is probably their only break of the weekend, so it’s a complete insult to those guys to suggest that they could run with less people.

          Even if you reduce the number of people allowed to work on a car during pitstops, it won’t reduce team numbers at all…each of those guys is absolutely necessary. All that will happen is they will rotate specialist guys in when there’s an emergency (for example, the front wing replacement crew)

          • I believe even after the final pit stop, the pit guys are still on standby, just in case they need to do an emergency tyre or wing change (tyre deflation, bald spot, stupid back-marker, etc). And I read somewhere that the FIA has actually limited how many people a team can bring to the race, so that the wheel-changers are actually the truckies outside of racing hours. Although watching the F1 forum in the McLaren motorhome makes me believe it’s not that bad when they still have a full catering staff with food-carriers.

        • mark said on 4th August 2010, 20:19

          You were right the first time Charles all of these guys (is there any female pitcrew members?) have other jobs and would still be there.

          Why try and destroy the spectacle of F1 watching an Indycar pit certainly does not raise your heart rate the way F1 does. The sport is inherently unsafe and given all the stops that have occurred since a fatality when ever that was, indicates what a wonderful job the teams have been doing in terms of safety.

          BTW as you revamped your website EXACTLY as to how I suggested ages ago it would have been nice for you to acknowledge to me my input!!!

  2. John H said on 3rd August 2010, 14:53

    New pit lanes should be built to look like paying stations at toll roads (parallel not series). That would be my suggestion… then the drivers can go side by side no problem (until they are away from the pit area) if the release is almost at the same time.

    This might be a problem to enforce at Monaco however!

    • John H said on 3rd August 2010, 14:55

      Come to think of it, this would also reduce the ‘length’ of the pit lane, and hence make impromptu stops for fresh tyres (and hence differing strategies) more appealing.

      • LosD said on 3rd August 2010, 15:57

        With that layout, it would be quite an advantage having a middle pit, as you have a more straight line.

        • Jonathan Proctor said on 3rd August 2010, 16:10

          Winning constructor would get the middle maybe? Still it looks like it takes up too much space.

        • Marc Connell said on 3rd August 2010, 16:10

          but with a speed limit, they would all still get to the end at the same time.

          • Karan said on 4th August 2010, 7:31

            But in a rush the ones on the side are disadvantaged. Just like having a pit garage at the end of the pit lane than the start. In theory they are the same but nobody wants the last garage near the exit.

      • LewisC said on 3rd August 2010, 16:10

        I do see what you mean – one ‘entry’ lane and one ‘exit’, no crossing. But you need to stagger the pits much more:


        -----------------
        ///////////
        --------------

        IYSWIM.

        (hope “code” tags work!)

      • rpaco said on 3rd August 2010, 16:26

        Looks like Toll booths on the Dartford Crossing.
        But as others have said it would take up a huge land area and unfortunately you seem to have lost the paddock.
        BTW from your logo, are you using a BBC on a 6502 processor?

        • Chris Monk said on 3rd August 2010, 16:37

          The cost of making that change would be huge.

          Also the spectical of people viewing would be very hard and it would be hard to cover on TV.

          On another point have people noticed how much the FIA seem to recieve in fines? Not that i count but it must be 50-100K a race must be rather handy? Anyway does anyone know how the FIA is funded?

          • Jim N said on 3rd August 2010, 23:07

            Until Bernie came along the FIA was funded mostly from licence fees and fines…. now of course they get most of their funding from a cut of F1’s revenue so they have a very vested interest in keeping F1 successful. Of course their costs are not as high as you might think because other than admin staff most jobs are voluntary and unpaid including that of Jean Todt (although his expenses are very generous).

        • John H said on 3rd August 2010, 18:52

          Ok guys, admittedly it all needs more work. $:)

          Obviously this could only be feasible if you were building a brand new venue and land area wasn’t really be an issue (I mean, they did it at Dartford!).

          But… it would be safer… perhaps.

          PS: How I wish I still had my beeb, 6502 or just

          • Lee said on 4th August 2010, 9:26

            I would love to see the drivers having to get out, replace all the wheels, front wings etc and then get back in and race.

    • couple of questions. Car comes in to pits, and after some pit-lane deliberation they decide to retire it. How do they get the car from the pit box to the garage? Very dangerous to try to wheel a car and several guys across 10 lanes where cars could be coming down at 100kmh.

      Same concept, how do crew/equipment/tyres get safely and quickly from the garage to the pit?

  3. George said on 3rd August 2010, 14:54

    Indy pit stops are much better to watch cus there not so quick u blink n miss them!!!

  4. AlanP said on 3rd August 2010, 14:55

    I have to agree with Keith here. There are far, far too many people in pit lane just to service a single car. If something very bad were to happen DOZENS of mechanics could be hurt or injured. It’s time to reduce the number of people in the pit lane during stops. Do they really need three people per wheel? No, it’s pure overkill to save fractions of a second.

    • Jim N said on 3rd August 2010, 23:15

      And of course at many times there are walls of mechanics in the sight line of the lolipop man making it very difficult to see other cars. I a gree a very serious accident just waiting to happen

  5. Alex Barr said on 3rd August 2010, 14:55

    Presumably part of the reason why the cars are allowed to pit during the safety car is because before this season some cars might be close to running out of fuel just as the safety car was deployed – now this is not the case there seems little reason not to change the rule.

  6. Avril F1 said on 3rd August 2010, 14:59

    How about minimum time of pit stop, for example 5 seconds, so mechanics would do calmly their job and wold have second or smth to check everything.

  7. George said on 3rd August 2010, 15:00

    we should make some sort of petition thing saying the rule should be 6 mechanics maximum!!!!! who’s with me?

  8. George said on 3rd August 2010, 15:04

    And send a copy to F.O.T.A see what they think?

  9. I think closing the pitlane during safety cars is a very good idea, and I’ve been championing the idea since Valencia.

    Not only is it potentially safer, it is fairer as well.

    • Furthermore, it gives drivers less motivation to race back to the pitlane when a SC is called, which can be very dangerous if there are marshalls/cars/debris on track.

      It is also very hard to police, as we saw in Valencia, when Kubica and co. got the same penalty as Petrov and co. even though some had one corner, and others had a sector or more.

  10. DaveW said on 3rd August 2010, 15:19

    Great topic and as always, timely and insightful.

    Limiting the numbers of guys in pit lane is essential. That is one good thing about IRL. The pitlane looks like the first 5 feet around the bar in a Cancun nightclub. You can’t even see what’s gonig on because you see nothing but bodies and cables for the airguns.

    It amazes me that it’s been years since we’ve seen a driver properly lose it in the pit lane and hit a lot of mechanics. Ferrari’s horrible and dangerous pit work in 2008 was as close as we got but we learned nothing from that. I’m not hating on Ferrari but it shows that the best teams are only split seconds from disaster in the pits.

    Also, I know a pit wall is logistically impossible in F1 but it amazes me that we have mechanics, dangerous equipment, volatile chemicals, supermodels, and other valualbe items unshielded from potential lethal mayhem in the pit lane. What if an engine let go when being redlined before the jacks dropped—do we want to see Nicole Scherzinger showered wtih molten exhaust valves? (Putting your music tastes to the side.) There should be some kind of moveable barrier.

    Another innovation we need is a sensor that detects improper wheel attachment. I don’t think this will be the Manhattan Project. They can come up with sensor that triggers lights on the steering wheel and in the garage showing whether the wheels are on properly.

    One good thing ALMS/LMS does is require the cars to be off during the stop, with no ignition until the mechanics hands are off or refueling is done. This would require starters on the cars, but that would be good anyway.

    • LewisC said on 3rd August 2010, 16:14

      There are people who would pay to see Scherzinger showered in molten exhaust valves. Ex-Pussycat Dolls, mostly ;)

    • KlBD said on 3rd August 2010, 18:05

      Besides being for safety reasons, I think the ignition rule in endurance racing is also down to those series’ roots as a test of a racing car’s reliability (from the days when racing cars were still vaguely related to road cars) as a part of the endurance test.

      Come to think of it, this could work in f1? How hard would it be to attach the starter motor stick thing to the rear jack?

    • The temperatures on an F1 car during a pit are higher than the flash point of the fuel mix, so having the engine off wouldn’t make too much difference.

  11. newdecade said on 3rd August 2010, 15:20

    Indycar style automatic lifting jacks are a good idea. Prevents this sort of thing:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l-xcYd8oSMg&feature=related
    Also 6 mechanics max. gets my vote. Even if stops take longer, surely not longer than refuelling stops took? Could permit an additional pair of guys for front wing changes etc.

  12. Steve C said on 3rd August 2010, 15:23

    Indy car does it with far fewer people and more cars pitting at the same time. NASCAR has 6 or 7 people over the pit wall at one time with 43 cars. I think F1 needs to limit the number of people working on the car at one time.

    I’ve always thought that F1 could have a pit lane that resembles a toll booth (yes we have them here in central Texas as well) but not so much as a parallel but more like driving into your pit at a 45° angle and then going forward to get out at the same 45° angle.

  13. CNSZU said on 3rd August 2010, 15:26

    Yet another silly discussion about improving safety. When was the last time someone got killed in the pitlane? Without refuelling, the pitlane is safer than it has ever been, especially at the modern tracks.

    Limiting the number of crew to make it resemble Indycar? What a joke. Is F1 not the pinnacle of motorsport with the most rescources and the fastest pitstops on the planet?

    And don’t get me started on the issue of cost. Fans and spectators are NOT interested in reducing cost in F1 to the point where we have a pathetic show of two lonely mechanics running desperately around the car like monkeys.

    • Alastair said on 3rd August 2010, 15:49

      Yes I agree – if you want Indycar type pit stops, watch Indycar. I love F1 pitstops, nothing needs to change. Stupid article. I’m off to JamesAllenonF1′s site – he has some great knowledgable insightful stuff on there.

    • Christian said on 3rd August 2010, 15:58

      I don’t think I could have put it much better myself.

      Formula One is the pinnacle of motorsport, and fast pit stops are part of the genetics of the sport. It’s what attracts people to F1; it’s the fastest- the best.

      This is true of particularly true of pitstops. I no other motorsport do they happen faster.

      People should stop calling for endless rule changes to Formula One. Tinkering with the rules every race turns the sport into a bit of a joke.

    • Pan151 said on 3rd August 2010, 16:12

      Totally agree with CNSZU. The number of mechanics does indeed have to be limited, but not to 6 – it would be ridiculous. F1 is meant to be over the top -in a good sense- after all! And let’s not fool ourselves, the cost reduction such a measure would provide would be insignificant compaired to the teams’ annual budgets. These guys in the pits are not exactly millionaires, you know, and that is a good reason why they are so many: they don’t cost so much to hire, anyway…
      And I don’t know why do we always have to look to American series for solutions. If they had solved all their problems and they were actually better than what we have in Europe or in f1 and other world championships, then they would have a clearly superior status. But f1, and many other European-based series retain ther superior status, and that’s for a reason.

      • Steph90 (@steph90) said on 3rd August 2010, 16:36

        I agree that it wouldn’t reduce much money so you make a good point there but just reading back I picked up on something…

        “If they had solved all their problems and they were actually better than what we have in Europe or in f1 and other world championships, then they would have a clearly superior status. But f1, and many other European-based series retain ther superior status, and that’s for a reason.”

        That would be arrogant for the F1 world to dismiss what everyone else has done. If F1 doesn’t look at different ways to evolve then it’ll quickly slip behind. Just because it’s F1 doesn’t mean other series don’t have good ideas.

      • AgbNYC said on 3rd August 2010, 22:00

        Didn’t the – universally praised – HANS device come from an American series???

    • Steph90 (@steph90) said on 3rd August 2010, 16:32

      “When was the last time someone got killed in the pitlane?”

      So basically if Nico’s tyre had swerved slightly and killed Nigel or someone else then you think this article would be relevant? Clever. Why does it have to get to the point that someone is killed until action is taken?

      The pitlanes are a lot safer without refuelling but Keith makes good points. It could have turned out so differently on Sunday.

      I don’t watch F1 for the speed of the pitstops but for technology and quality of the racing. The stops will always be quick but it can be asked whether they need to be more safe.

      “And don’t get me started on the issue of cost. Fans and spectators are NOT interested in reducing cost in F1 ”

      Actually everyone is interested in cost. F1 survives as a business. If the numbers don’t add up or money is wasted then teams will leave and the sport will be worse off. It can be looked at if cost cutting is needed right now and how it can be done but money is fundamental to the sport or it collapses.

      • Pan151 said on 3rd August 2010, 16:56

        I am not dismissing other series – even though I have to admit that the way I phrased my comment may make it seem like that I am. I do like some things in American racing series – I am a fan of oval racing and I would certainly like an oval track to enter the F1 calendar, although that seems unlikely. But, as a matter of fact, European series generally do have a higher status than the American ones – not nececerily justified, if you wish, but they do. And I do also believe that they are superior in terms of technology and, most important, driver talent – after all, Sebastien Bourdais used to be by far the best driver in the other side of Atlantic for quite a few years, and he was never able to show that talent in F1.
        Anyway, I still think that there is not really much in American series that could benefit F1 -but that is just my opinion, of course. I think that F1 has to find new ideas by itself, becose those that work for other series quite probably won’t work for F1.

      • yeh, seriously, how can anyone say that fans don’t care about the costs of F1? Clearly you’d have to have no sense of economics. Fans are the ones who pay for tickets, merchandise, products from sponsorship, and so on. the cost of F1 directly affects fans and anyone who thinks otherwise is delusional. no fans = no f1.

        and exactly right steph, why the flip should we wait for another person to be killed in the pitlane before making modifications? top logic. it’s unbelievably lucky that someone or several people weren’t killed on sunday. something definately needs to be done, whether you agree with keith’s suggestions or not.

    • Tiomkin said on 3rd August 2010, 16:54

      Knee Jerk silly season is open, ’till the racing re-starts. Let’s all come up with non-sense to kill F1 once and for all.

      How about one Mechanic and no power tools. With one FIA approved supervisor with a clip board (iPad) to check the bolts on the wheels etc. He can then look up the pit lane to check for safe release. 10 mins work tops. 100% no risk 100% boredom guaranteed.

      • I think they are well thought through and not knee jerk comments.

        As has been mentioned, should we wait until there’s a bit injury/fatality before suggesting changes? No.

        Limiting the number of people in pit stops (and hence increasing the pit stop time) will put the action where it belongs, on the track. The less time spent in the pits the better. While they’re at it, scrap the stupid tyre restrictions too!

        Closing the pits while the SAFETY car is out would be much better. Of course, closing the pitlane means less options for strategy and excitement, but it’s for SAFETY, right?

    • bosyber said on 3rd August 2010, 17:25

      So why can’t F1 teams use automatic jacks? Too much technology to go wrong? Hmmm. To avoid costs too much, get them (partly?) standardized.

      Taking away fuelling has definitely helped a lot.

      Still, if not 6, it couldn’t hurt to have maybe a maximum of two guys for each of the wheels, and then three extra: lollypop and two multi-purpose, 11 maximum.

      • Xibi said on 3rd August 2010, 18:34

        IF I remember correctly, there is a rule that outlaws mechanical moving parts to raise the car during a pitlane. I remember reading something about this so pit stop times remain reasonable. However, if they implement this system with safety in mind, such as not jacking the car down until everything is fixed well, it can only be beneficiary. Sensors can also be used to enforce safe pit stop releases.

        If F1 should copy something from the IRL, it must be the jacking system. Due to its nature, a standard FIA system for all cars would be the best.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 3rd August 2010, 17:34

      When was the last time someone got killed in the pitlane?

      So we should wait until someone does?

      Limiting the number of crew to make it resemble Indycar?

      No, limiting the number of crew to make it safer.

      And don’t get me started on the issue of cost.

      I didn’t say anything about cost.

      • I like the 6 man crew idea. If you watch the IndyCar video the stops really aren’t much slower than F1 stops, and Formula 1 could learn something from IndyCar.

        Aside from the improved safety that Keith’s excellent article pointed out, I would say that with a 6 man crew there is less potential for screw ups, when compared to a 19 man crew. With the 19 man crew, three people are assigned to each wheel. If the three men assigned to each wheel aren’t perfectly in sync it could actually take longer than it would to have one very well trained and practised man take off the old tyre and put the new one on.

        Having said that, CNSZU and Pan151 are right in one sense. Formula 1 is the pinnacle of motorsport. Like any business or organisation that is at the pinnacle of their respective industry, Formula 1 should be demonstrating that they are at the pinnacle through their tireless dedication to improvement of all facets of their business, including the way pit stops are handled. The race in Hungary is the latest example that is there is room for improvement when it comes to pit stops. After all two cars crashed into each other, and one mechanic was knocked unconscious.

    • @CNSZU,

      Yes because the duty of care should only ever be activated once someone is killed.

      If on the way to your work there was a giant hole in the road, should it only be filled in (or at least highlighted with markers) only once someone has been killed by driving into it? or perhaps should someone take a common sense approach and think “perhaps we should fix that hole before someone is seriously hurt”?

      I am not a big fan of our health and safety culture but some things are just disasters waiting to happen and we almost watched it happen in Hungary. One mechanic was missed by less than an inch as rosbergs tyre raced along and it would have only taken a few more meters for the Kubica/sutil incident to have possibly hurt someone. Less mechanics is a sensible approach without really having to make draconian rules. How many cars have almost hit each other coming out of their boxes this season because the lollipop controller can’t see the car behind through the wall of pit crew?

  14. Eric said on 3rd August 2010, 15:27

    stopping cars pitting under the safety car is fine but once you have caught up to one another and the pits are opened your in more trouble because now you have 2 cars per pit and only one can change tyres at a time.
    that is just asking for a bigger fiasco.

    i fully agree there are miles too may people in pit lane,
    20 people on one car is absolutely ridiculous.
    http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v132/lethalnz/F1%20racing/?action=view&current=Pitstop2.jpg
    look how many are when you look up the pits.
    http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v132/lethalnz/F1 racing/?action=view&current=Pitstop2.jpg
    4 or 5 people is heaps.

  15. Patrickl said on 3rd August 2010, 15:29

    Closing the pitlane during a safety car situation is just a horrible idea.

    Limiting the number of mechanics might be feasable, but that hardly improves safety. At best it would reduce the number of casualties if something goes horribly wrong (car going trhough the pitlane at 300km/h or a car exploding or somethng)

    We’re not really talking about fatalities here. Only about people getting bruises or at worst a broken bone.

    • DaveW said on 3rd August 2010, 15:37

      Have to differ about fatalities. That is what has happened, but there remains a massive risk. A loose wheel or a car spinning out could kill many people. Without any kind of barrier, a wheel, parts, or a whole car, could enter a garage and kill numerous bystanders F1 allows to hang out in the garage.

      I almost sense that we’re in a kind of pre-94 mindset about the pit lane. The cars and tracks have become radically safer, but we treat the pitlane, where men and machine come in direct contact, without the same constant vigilence and demand for constant improvement.

    • dyslexicbunny said on 3rd August 2010, 15:57

      “Closing the pitlane during a safety car situation is just a horrible idea.”

      Care to say why? I don’t know how far Williams’ garage was from the Mercedes one but it looked like at least two teams. I imagine that a tire hitting someone in the immediate vicinity can do more harm than just some bruises. The tire bounced well above everyone standing around. Twice.

      I posted that I think it’s surprising that this hasn’t happened yet this season in one of the race review articles and I wanted no more pitting under safety car. Eric makes the same point that I was thinking about too. Now you potentially have cars doubling up after SC comes in. Maybe requiring teams to complete a full lap after SC comes in to spread people out a little bit. It’s not like those laps are hard on tires.

      Plus, you’d also have to allow any team that had vehicle/tire damage from an incident to pit to repair said damage.

      “Limiting the number of mechanics might be feasable, but that hardly improves safety.”

      Limiting mechanics does actually improve safety but only because there are less bodies in the pits. Less bodies = less targets and realistically that would be still a good measure of safety. It does nothing to the car’s safety. However, counting on the car to be safe isn’t enough.

      Imagine if you have the table saws with the handguard technology that stops running if it detects skin. Example: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FbndZtkfcqs

      So you don’t care about safety because your saw will do it for you. What happens if it isn’t working? How teams conduct pit stops is just as important as the safety technology.

      I say all this but unfortunately, I’m not sure if that will improve things. You now have less guys trying to do a job even faster. I guess in the middle of thinking this through, I went from a yes to maybe.

      “How about minimum time of pit stop, for example 5 seconds, so mechanics would do calmly their job and wold have second or smth to check everything.” – Avril F1

      Enforcing a minimum time will likely just get griping from the teams. Pit stops have always been considered a spot to gain or lose time. You need to reward teams that do it better than others.

      • Patrickl said on 3rd August 2010, 21:39

        People still need to pit. When they have to wait behind the safety car and all bunch up, that makes the mayhem only bigger.

        Also we have seen how losing the pitlane completely ruins peoples races. I guess some people would prefer that seeing how it would “spice up the racing”, but I’d rather see a straight race. One where the outcome is least interfered with when the safety car goes out.

        In that the current rules are clearly superior.

    • lance said on 3rd August 2010, 16:01

      Not closing the pitlane during a safety car is even more horrible if u look at the Valencia race.

      • Patrickl said on 3rd August 2010, 21:36

        No. Then everybody on soft tyres would have been disadvantaged. That’s a whole lot more people than just Alonso and Massa.

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