Alonso says extra pit stops “does not favour” Ferrari

2011 F1 season

Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, 2011

Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, 2011

Fernando Alonso says he is “not keen” on having more pit stops during races in 2011.

Speaking to media in Madrid he said: ??From what we have seen so far, degradation is very significant, which means we will have races with lots of pit stops.

“I?m not keen on that because I think this increased uncertainty does not favour the strongest teams: it?s as if in football, it was decided to have a penalty per team each half hour in which case Barcelona and Real Madrid would not be jumping for joy.

“However, the situation is the same for everyone: it will be important to be fastest because I don?t think we can make one stop less than our main rivals.??

He added it was too soon to make predictions about Ferrari’s performance:

“We will only really know where we stand compared to the others when we are in Melbourne.

“At the moment, I am happy because we proved to have a reliable car.

“If all goes to plan, we will be in the group of teams capable of fighting for the title, along with Red Bull the reigning champions, McLaren, Mercedes and also Renault, who had already made a step forward towards the end of last season. Even Toro Rosso has made significant progress.??

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150 comments on Alonso says extra pit stops “does not favour” Ferrari

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  1. Fernando has a point but more pit stops will improve the racing for sure…

  2. US_Peter (@us_peter) said on 28th February 2011, 19:50

    He’d prefer of course if everyone followed The Horse Whisperer’s script he’s written, in which Massa follows Alonso across the finish line ahead of all other teams at each race…

    Fortunately for the fans, increased uncertainty IS a good thing.

    • He wasn’t talking about what is good for the fans, he was simply saying that it won’t favor the faster teams in response to a question about how it will effect the driving….not the fans. And as many have pointed out, this will shake things up by making more of a show, but will also potentially lessen the pure racing by deciding positions in the pits.

      Personally, I think a little more degradation than last year will be nice. Maybe not more pits stops, but just more of a struggle on the tires. this will not only help the show, but will also make the drivers work harder….

    • Increase uncertainty IS NOT a good thing.
      Increase RACING IS a good thing.

      • Maciek said on 1st March 2011, 8:08

        Well the two kind of go together, no?

      • Mike said on 1st March 2011, 8:10

        Errr, Obviously Alonso said it’s not good for him, and he’s right.

        But I think for us, increased uncertainty is fantastic. What it means is its not only Red Bull, Mclaren and Ferrari who have a chance.

  3. eternalsunshine said on 28th February 2011, 19:51

    I’d prefer that the race be decided not on the pits.

    • Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 28th February 2011, 20:00

      Thing is…I’ve been saying the same thing for a long while, but when a race is dull, sometimes it’s the pit stops that keep it going. That’s why races like Barcelona were even worse last year, only one stop to mix it up.

      • BasCB (@bascb) said on 1st March 2011, 7:28

        The problem with pitstops last year was, almost all cars stopped in about 2-3 laps at many races, and the tyres showed it was just a gimmick.

        With more pitstops and bigger difference between the tyres there is more of a chance of doing something different.
        And that might make for better racing. Someone trying to save tyres to have a stop less or get newer tyres at the end. Someone else going full out with 2 stints on softer tyres to take it agressive.
        Hope it will work out fine, but to be sure I am rather not expecting too much of it.

    • jess said on 1st March 2011, 2:20

      not me, it is a bit of fun. and adds to the “team thing”

    • sato113 (@sato113) said on 1st March 2011, 3:52

      yep. imagine if Turkey 2010 had more pit stops… it would have been a bit boring…

    • sato113 (@sato113) said on 1st March 2011, 3:53

      yep. imagine if Turkey 2010 had more pit stops… it would have been a bit boring… not as intense

  4. Alejanddro said on 28th February 2011, 19:59

    Is he comparing Ferrari pitstops with penalty kicks? you never know where the ball will end up?
    If i was a Ferrari mechanic i wouldn’t feel particularly encouraged….

    • Last year they were perfect and fundamental during the pits. Just remember Canada and Italy…

    • F1iLike said on 28th February 2011, 21:05

      He has a point. A pit stop is always a gamble. Much bigger risk of loosing time there than on track and/or even failing miserably.. But should improve the show.. Can’t believe how much more stress the drivers will be under this season.. Even more than usual.

      • BasCB (@bascb) said on 1st March 2011, 7:31

        I suppose that’s it. Taking uncertainty out lessens the chances for smaller teams to spring a suprise (or bigger ones to mess up).

        Normally that is why rules are changed in sports, so that the big teams do not make it a league of only 2 or 3 for the top spots just by spending.

    • No, that is not what he meant.

  5. Well, he’s just worried that Hamilton might block him. :P

  6. Translation: “Our strategists would probably fail unless it’s a boring race. Leave them alone and never ask them to think anything seriously.”

  7. Hi Keith.
    I think it should say not keen on having, instead of “Fernando Alonso says he is “not keen” on the having more pit stops during races in 2011.”

    Cheers, and thank you for your hard work on this amazing site!

  8. Joey-Poey (@joey-poey) said on 28th February 2011, 20:05

    I don’t buy it, though. The teams will just as easily figure out the degradation and the pits stops will be just as carefully planned. It’s not an unknown variable, it simply means two pit stops instead of one, which if anything favors Alonso so that he won’t get stuck behind drivers who are only marginally slower for 50 laps.

    I’m still on the fence about this. Yes, it sucked that even the super softs would last an entire race at times. But one upside was that it forced drivers to take action on track rather than leap-frog in the pits. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: the real variety will come when they open it up to allow them to use any set at any point. They can still limit the amount they are allowed. Or hell, they could say “you can pick any of the four, but only two.” Then we’d see cars with tires in different states and would lend itself to passing.

    • spudw said on 2nd March 2011, 14:38

      I’m not really on the fence about anything to do with the fundamental characteristic of the cars, in this case the tires, that will lead to races where the emphasis is on strategy, pit stop timing and on-track passing. Given the characteristics of the cars, prime tires that last 30 laps and options that last 25 will guarantee a boring race.

      Alonso is taking a typical Ferrari view that the rules should cater to their strengths and minimize the risk that they will actually have to do the work on-track and in the pits to win anything.

  9. Bonedwarf said on 28th February 2011, 20:06

    You’re only as good as your last race, which means Alonso isn’t very good. HAHA!

    Anyhoo it’s sad to see whining like this. I read that as moaning about winning now being harder. Regardless of the motive, the fact is it does add uncertainty and may actually encourage them to overtake on track.

    I mean dumping refueling livened up F1, as I and my friends predicted all the way back in the mid 90’s. (Too bad it took so long.) But if we can see something akin to Capelli almost winning in a March simply due to tyre strategy… Then BRING IT ON I say, and screw Ferrari. They always moan when the sport does something that doesn’t favour them.

  10. mcmercslr (@mcmercslr) said on 28th February 2011, 20:09

    Sounds like he is not completely confident of the pace of the new Ferrari. If the carnis fast enough then you can be far enough ahead for a slow-ish pit stop not to bother you. Excuses have started

  11. Reasons to be cheerful, parts one, two and three, methinks…

  12. SennaNmbr1 (@sennanmbr1) said on 28th February 2011, 20:33

    Lots of faith in your mechanics, Fernando.

    • fullthrottle said on 28th February 2011, 21:24

      The mechanics showed like the strongest part of the team last year, he can expect no mistakes from them in the pit stops.

      • Pitstops are always uncertain, no matter how good your mechanics are; remember Hungary last year, anyone?

  13. Magnificent Geoffrey (@magnificent-geoffrey) said on 28th February 2011, 20:44

    I’m not keen on more pit stops, either. Wasn’t the whole point of getting rid of refuelling to allow races to be decided on the track and not the pit lane?

    • Red Andy (@red-andy) said on 28th February 2011, 21:04

      Yes, but it was always a strawman argument as was demonstrated thoroughly last year.

      The argument went something like, “Drivers don’t overtake on the track because they just wait for the pit stops.”

      Of course, as many of us pointed out at the time, the reason drivers didn’t overtake was nothing to do with the presence or absence of refuelling stops. It was simply that they couldn’t overtake without resorting to the pit lane, because of aerodynamics and “dirty air” making passing too difficult. (Think about it – if it had been refuelling that had stopped drivers from overtaking, we should have seen much more passing in the closing stages of a race, when there were no stops left. But we never did).

      This position was vindicated last year when there wasn’t significantly more overtaking despite there being fewer pit stops. Because altering the number of pit stops doesn’t solve the root cause of the problem, which is that the design of the cars doesn’t lend itself to enough overtaking.

      • Magnificent Geoffrey (@magnificent-geoffrey) said on 28th February 2011, 21:34

        I agree. Drivers didn’t ‘want’ or choose to wait til rivals pitted to pass them, it was often because they had no other realistic opportunity to do so.

        The thing I’m concerned about is that having more stops will lessen the liklihood of us having straight races to the finish like we had in Turkey last year. After everyone stopped in the early stages, we had the two Bulls and two McLarens right together on the racetrack and had a 40 lap or so sprint to the line and it was tremendously exciting as you knew the result would be decided on the track and not in the pits. With high tyre wear on the new Pirellis, I’m just concerned that the extra stops that may be needed will do away with that sort of a scenario.

        Especially with the return of KERS and the introduction of the AWS, we’re hopefully going to have a year where the disease of dirty air finally begins to be alleviated. So I think it would be a shame if at the same time the racing becomes more dependant on strategy as that would detract from the overall aim, if you see what I’m trying to say.

    • sw6569 (@sw6569) said on 28th February 2011, 21:04

      But then F1 remembered that overtaking in a race is impossible!

      I don’t think more tyre changes will lead to races being decided in the pits. Instead, we should hopefully see what we would have seen last year if the tyres were more marginal – drivers gambling on an extra pitstop for better rubber so that they can overtake on the tract. Similar to what Hamilton/Webber did at Melbourne.

      We unfortunately never got to see the climax of that decision courtesy of Webber forgetting how to brake

      • BBT said on 1st March 2011, 7:34

        But then F1 remembered that overtaking in a race is impossible!

        Errr. Simply not true. It that a joke? Where did this myth come from? Just because the last race I suspect. There was more over taking last season than any of the previous three seasons.

    • MondoL said on 1st March 2011, 9:06

      and to save money. ( less mechanics, less engineering, etc)

  14. Oliver said on 28th February 2011, 20:46

    Lets face the facts, the average pitstop failings are hardly caused by incompetent pit crews. More often than not, they are usually a result of jammed wheel nuts or air guns. And the probability of such happening, increases with every pit stop.
    The man simply doesn’t want to be a victim of chance.

  15. If F1 was like penalties you just know the Germans would win it :-)

    • Magnificent Geoffrey (@magnificent-geoffrey) said on 28th February 2011, 21:39

      …they already do!

    • It’s so true – F1 2011’s unpredictability will match the football World Cup!

      Alonso another Spanish Champion?
      Vettel and the usual German precision?
      Barrichello with experienced Brazillian flair?
      Mclaren representing England, carrying the weight of expectations of a nation…

      Add into it the 107% rule and I’m half expecting Scotland’s Di Resta not to qualify…

      So many parallels!!

      • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 28th February 2011, 21:58

        It’s unlikely di Resta will fail to qualify. The VJM-04 is comfortably within the 107% margin, and based on his Friday running in 2010, di Resta is fairly close to Sutil on pace.

        If you’re worried about someone not making the 107% margin, worry about Virgin, Lotus and Hispania.

        • Actually I think there is a possiblity that quite a few drivers will find themselves outside of 107% – even those who people might not expect. If the tyres go off as quickly as they seem to and they have left time for only one run and make a mistake on their first lap, it could cause them problems. Hopefully though they will have set a time in practice which allows them to start. Actually I expect teams to treat saturday practice qualifying simulations much more seriously than last year, as setting a fast time then could be the difference between making the grid and not.

          • BasCB (@bascb) said on 1st March 2011, 7:35

            Now that would be good, if some 5-10 drivers do not make it through the 107% at the first few races, then get allowed in anyhow.

            That would mean the FIA dropping the rule again after the fly away races, something I really support.

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 1st March 2011, 7:41

            It would have to be an incredibly short lap for a driver to be eliminated because he lost three seconds a lap when his tyres went off. If a lap time is 1min 40sec (one hundred seconds), then the 107% margin is a lap time of 1min 47sec. So, according to my crude estimates, the leader would need to set a lap time of just under fifty seconds – somewhere between forty-five and forty-eight – for a driver to be eliminated by his tyres going off. And right now, the circuit with the fastest lap time is Interlagos; Juan Pablo Montoya’s record for the fastest lap is 1:11.473, twenty-five seconds slower than the required lap time needed for the 107% margin to be more than three seconds per lap. The only palce where such a lap time could be reasonably possible is the perimeter layout at Bahrain (or possibly a shortened version of Abu Dhabi or the national circuit at Silverstone … or any other “national” circuit, for that matter, but there are all shorter than the minimum allowable circuit length set by the FIA).

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 1st March 2011, 8:30

            Now that would be good, if some 5-10 drivers do not make it through the 107% at the first few races, then get allowed in anyhow.

            That would mean the FIA dropping the rule again after the fly away races, something I really support.

            I seriously doubt anyone will fall victim to it. The only way I could see it happening is if a) a driver crashes during qualifying, or b) qualifying starts out wet, but ends in the dry and the driver is unable to return to the circuit, like with Takuma Sato in Melbourne a few years ago. Even then, the FIA will likely consult the driver’s previous times set in practice and let him race. I don’t think any team is genuinely in danger of failing to qualifiy with at least one of their cars; the only team that faces any uncertainty is Hispania, and even then, we’re only assuming that the F111 will be no better than the F110 (and judging by the renders, we already know the F111 has more sophisticated aerodynamics).

            In short, the 107% rule is a joke. It was only brought in to appease Ferrari after Alonso got blocked by di Grassi in Montreal and Jenson Button was able to pass him. Ferrari complained loudly, and the FIA brought the 107% rule back to satisfy them, even though few believe anyone will be knocked out by it. Even if the 107% rule was used in 2010, I think Hispania would have qualified for more races than they did not, and in most of the races where they would have failed, it only would have been by a few tenths. Monaco was the only circuit where they genuinely woud have struggled to make it.

            The more challenging question in all of this, however, is what the hell was Alonso doing in Montreal? At the time of the incident where he was blocked, Lucas di Grassi was well off the racing line because he knew Alonso was there. And yet Alonso still managed to get held up by him even though the racing line was open …

        • Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 1st March 2011, 7:26

          He’s referring to the fact that Scotland have a hard time qualifying for major football tournaments :)

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