Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Monza, 2010

Has the mandatory pit stop rule been a success?

Debates and PollsPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Monza, 2010
Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Monza, 2010

Four years ago the FIA introduced a rule requiring drivers to use two different sets of tyre compounds during a race.

The rule was devised to keep some interest in tyres as Bridgestone became F1’s sole tyre supplier.

After 71 races with it, has the rule been a success? Will it still be needed in the new Pirelli era?


Requiring drivers to use both types of tyre during a race weekend adds to the challenge. They have to find a set-up which works for both tyres.

That adds a further tactical dimension to the races, particularly when one tyre is poorly suited to the track.


The rule effectively forces drivers to make at least one pit stop in dry races. This restricts their strategic options, as no-one is able to gamble on making it through a race on a single set of tyres.

It can lead to contrived, artificial strategies. At Monza last year Sebastian Vettel postponed his tyre stop until the last lap.

The rule is a needless complication which makes the sport less about straightforward racing and more about satisfying the arbitrary demands of the rulemakers.

I say

With Pirelli supplying tyres whose performance will degrade more quickly than Bridgestone’s did, it should become even more apparent that this rule is unnecessary.

Hopefully it will be dropped, along with the “top ten qualifiers must start on the tyres they qualified on” rule as well.

You say

Should the ‘mandatory pit stop’ rule be kept or dropped?

Cast your vote below and have your say in the comments.

Should the 'mandatory pit stop' rule be kept or dropped?

  • Keep it (17%)
  • Drop it (83%)

Total Voters: 246

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This poll closes on March 5th.

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152 comments on “Has the mandatory pit stop rule been a success?”

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  1. i couldnt have said it better myself.

    1. me neither.

    2. I’ve been saying this all along.

    3. Bit of a stupid poll though.

      Do you agree with my opinion, you know, me the writer of the site’s?

      Could have put your opinion after voting, but I guess it’d get dressed up the same anyhow.

      1. I disagree with the opinions of people writing something all the time. I don’t see what is stopping you if you have a different opinion.

      2. Could have put your opinion after voting

        For what purpose?

      3. Its not really at all like that, is it. More; ‘what is your opinion, here’s mine.’ Its a way to promote discussion. the poll is a quick way to discover what the site readers think about it: its not as though we are all stupid enough to simply be convinced by everything that we read. I like to think that most of us are intelligent enough to form our own opinions.

        1. yea, not really a stupid pole at all.

          What if the Pirellis do hold up? I do like the fact that the drivers have to use both tires, but mandatory pits I don’t like. Maybe it could have read ‘if you do pit, then you have to use at least 2 different compounds’

          Also, the top 10 rule could be another pole…that rule should definitely be scrapped.

  2. It should be dropped.
    Doh forgot my password.

    1. Why? I love seeing the people who didn’t qualify in the top ten starting on the primes and doing lots of overtaking at the end when they put the options on. I like the rules regarding tyres and pit-stops exactly how they are.

      1. Because this year is could be an advantage to qualify 10th instead of say 8th or 9th, that is just wrong, I have other reasons but that one alone is good enough IMO

        1. You mean 11th instead of 10th? Well, it might be an advantage to qualify 2nd instard of 1st as well, because of the rear wing.

          1. Well, it this year is like most years, after 2 laps, the leader will be 3-4 seconds ahead of the number two car, so the flap won’t matter anyways. It really just helps when some slow car gets in front of a bunch of other cars and forms a train on the track or when there is a close battle between two cars.

          2. 10th too. Just put on harder tyres in Q3

      2. yeah i like the rule. what if a leading car was good on only one compound of tyre? he could just use that for the whole race. (boring!) the rule means he has to use a compound not suited for his car, thus mixing it up a bit!

      3. I agree, but I voted for “drop it” because there are few races in which no stops can be made, and seeing a race without a stop on the last lap isn’t something so bad.

  3. I remember a nervewrecking race in 2005 where Raikonnen where struggling with damaged tires. More of that please, but let the teams decide themselves wether or not to pit.

    1. That, of course, was when the rules required teams to qualify and complete the whole race on one set of tyres. Which also limited strategy choice.

  4. This one pit stop rule definitely reduced the chances of running alternate tyre strategies. And with the quickly degrading Pirrellis this season, there wont be any need for this rule anyways. So might as well drop it.

  5. I voted to drop it

  6. I’ve been against it all along. But hey, who asks the fans, right? ;)

    1. Pete Walker
      2nd March 2011, 11:02

      Hey, they’ve asked us many times. They just never listen to the answers… ;)

    2. Ah ha, true fans want proper racing.

      1. Proper racing where the 2nd placed has an advantage over the leader (or do you dislike the new adjustable rear wing)?

  7. Drop it. I want to see someone struggling all the way to the finish on the hard tyres, while someone else stops two times to refresh his softs.

    Also, while you’re at it: drop the “top ten qualifiers must start on the tyres they qualified on”

    I’m not sure what to think of the mandatory diirfent compounds rule, however. Allowing full freedom might end with everybody optimising their car for the softs. So let’s start with dropping the afore mentioned rules.

    1. Wouldn’t that mean going for 3-4 pitstops currently? I am pretty sure someone can have a go on mediums or hards and have only one or maybe even no pitstop at all.

    2. Mandatory different compounds rule requires a mandatory pit stop. You can’t change tyres on the racetrack!

      1. Yeah, I know, but I meant to question if it’s a good idea to give the teams the freedom to choose ALL compounds for every race.

        I can imagine the drop of the rule being implemented by saying: for this circuit you can choose between soft and hard. And what I meant to question was total freedom.

        And to make the dropping work the difference in laptimes should be so big as to make up for pitstops. But just close enough. However, it should probably come to 1 or 2 stops versus 0 or 1 stop to make it exciting enough. Otherwise the laptimes would need to differ too much.

  8. Drop it. It’s just another of those rules that were made only to make things interesting but didn’t quite make it, since most of the time all drivers were on same strategy.

  9. It can lead to contrived, artificial strategies. At Monza last year Sebastian Vettel postponed his tyre stop until the last lap.

    At the same time, the mandatory stop rule prevented drivers from doing a whole race on one set of tyres and gaining an advantage because everyone else needed to pit.

    1. But if Pirelli is making the tyres less durable, forcing them to pit anyway, what’s the point of keeping the rule? Reward teams and drivers that can take care of their tyres.

      1. Because the rule makes you change to the other kind of tyres, not only change the tyres.

        I think it’s good to make them use both kind of tyres.

    2. But that’s exactly the kind of thing we want to see. Different drivers trying out different strategies to see which one is ultimately fastest. If a driver can make a set of tyres last for a whole race, that should be something he should be rewarded for, not punished.

      1. But that just removes an element of uncertainty. Back when the rule was firt introduced, pit stops were the only time when a driver reasonably stood a chance of picking up positions. As was pointed out hundreds of times by Ferrari fans after Germany last year, Formula 1 is a team sport. Under this logic, the success of a driver doesn’t just hinge on a driver alone, but on the entire team, working as a team. Removing pit stops removes the team element.

        1. I’m not talking about removing strategy completely. I’m talking about increasing the variation in strategies, so we don’t have the situation we had last year, where: a) everyone is on the same strategy; and b) everyone simply pits in reaction to whoever has blinked first.

          The ideal would be a race where some drivers did one stop, others two, and perhaps one or two brave individuals tried to do the whole race without stopping at all. Then we’d see more action on the track as people on different strategies ran close to one another at different parts of the race, and a more interesting and unpredictable outcome as a particular strategy emerged as the fastest.

          Removing the mandatory stop rule wouldn’t compel everybody to run every race without stopping, if tyre degradation is high. It would increase uncertainty, not reduce it.

          1. And some crazy gamble by a driver going for 4 sets of softs in a 3 stop race with strings of Qualli speed laps to make it work.

            I think that is exactly what is needed Red Andy!

          2. Bigbadderboom
            2nd March 2011, 12:46

            The problem is that team stratagists are so much better at predictions, and also understanding other teams options. Although there maybe many ways to skin a cat, the fact is the technologies used are close enough to be able to say there is only 1 best way to skin the cat! Personally I think there is a danger of the races becoming more stagnant without an external stimulation to the stratagies. However having said that if tyre degredation is that high on the options then I suppose the rule is irrelavent. I agree that all teams should have the choice of starting tyre, top 10 rule does nothing really.

    3. I don’t understand, why would that be bad?

      Surely all drivers had the option of trying this, fair chance to everyone.
      If Bridgestone had made the tyres differently, it might have actually made sense to stop, but if the tyres last and are fast enough, why not do it?
      Had Seb needed a fast spurt in the end, he might have moved onto softs again to do some passing, but that was not needed.

      1. Although none of the teams last year, or the year before that tried any different strategies with multiple pits stops, I think because they were all forced to stop to change, so they ended up just watching each other for who would make the first move.
        If all the teams were allowed to chose one compound to last the whole race, we might see different strategies being tried even between the two cars in the single team – still keeping the ‘team’ element involved.
        As it is now, we have artificial stops, artificial overtaking and artificial power boosts.
        What’s left for the teams and drivers to actually do during a race?

    4. the mandatory stop rule prevented drivers from doing a whole race on one set of tyres and gaining an advantage because everyone else needed to pit.

      Nonsense, the rule is the same for everyone. If you can run the whole race on a set and the rest can’t so much the better for you. You must be doing something better than the rest if they need to change and you don’t, and you get rewarded for that. What you said would only make sense if one team was excepted from the rule. Which of course never happened.

  10. i voted to keep it.. but on second thoughts, i could have gone either way. as much as it is an almost useless rule, it stops people just no-stopping it through to the end.

    1. But why is that bad?

      If it means that someone holds up a faster car for an entire race, apart from it meaning there is a whole race with at least one fierce fight for a position rather than a procession, it might actually put a rocket up the backsides of those in charge to make some proper rule changes to remove the problems in overtaking.

  11. I understand why it was implemented but it adds nothing to the racing.

    I say drop it, especially now we appear to have tyres with higher degradation.

    1. Good point. I actually like the rule, but I doubt we’re going to need it this year! :P

      1. I voted to drop it, but wouldn’t have last year. If the tires degrade fast enough that drivers are essentially forced to pit, then I can see getting rid of it. I do think there’s an argument to be made though that IF drivers pit, they have to run both tire compounds. That means they have to compromise car set up to accomodate both tire compounds, but gives them the option to optimize setup for one compound if they think they can somehow nurse the tires a whole race distance. Honestly the more I think about it, the more I’m really torn. There are definitely good reasons for it and good reasons to do away with it. Either way I think we’ll have good racing this year, as long as KERS and DRS don’t end up causing artificial racing. Let’s get this season started already!!

  12. I voted to drop it but I think they should also bring back re-fuelling. Watching a race with the strategic addition of running heavy or running light, for me, adds to the excitement.

    I also think that being the “pinnacle of motorsport” as they call it, they should change the regulations to say that anything in front of the front wheels and behind the rear wheels is regulation free – give the designers free reign to truly innovate and invent performance enhancing solutions.

    No overtaking is led by the fact that all the cars are so closely matched they might as well all go out there in the same car and we’d probably see the same racing as we do now.

  13. I think this is an astonishingly stupid rule. I would love to see it dropped, and the ‘top ten’ rule was even more ridiculous, but luckily seems to largely have been irrelevant. When this came in, having FINALLY lost the dreadful ‘fuel-corrected’ qualifying farce, I was terrified we might still have non-representative qualy times. Thankfully, that never happened due to the top ten always being on the same compound.

    Overall, I would say just leave out the meddling and let’s get on with some racing. Thanks, FIA.

    1. The Last Pope
      2nd March 2011, 16:41

      Last year Button qualified 5th at the Japanese gp on the harder tyre when the rest of the top 10 was on the soft. It really didn’t effect the race at all.

      1. But that was mainly because the Bridgestone hards are not that much slower and the sofst lasted far to long.

    2. My thoughts exactly. I always considered the mandatory pitstop as a Mario-Kart gimmick. The motivation for overtaking on track would be much greater if pilots were not waiting for the pitstop.

      I am a big fan of Moto GP also, and never missed a forced pitstop rule. Granted, bikes are different, overtaking is easier and the races are shorter, but I can’t see the point of a forced pitstop. Of course I don’t want the rules to force drivers to end the race in one set of tyres. I’d let then change tyres when they want, or never it they don’t.

      Anyway it seems it will be a moot discussion this year, everybody will need to change. But last year many races could have been completed with one set of primes, and it was an absurdity that it wasn’t allowed

      1. Or not so moot. The rule is: you have to stop AND use at least two different types of tyres. It may well be to your advantage to change your shot tyres for a new set of the same type. Why should you be forced to change for a inferior set beats me. They could also force you to to drive with your hand tied to your back or something like that.

  14. But then arent we going to see a standard procedure anyway? With everyone pitting for the longer lasting tyre half way through (or near enough) and sacrifice outright advantage on the softs for the only slightly slower harder compound but the tyres degrade less?

    I can agree that Vettel’s pit on the last lap was not the best situation, but I think the manadatory two sets of tyres during a race is a good thing.

    With the Pirelli’s degrading as much as they do, and if it continues, I can’t see many doing what Vettel did last year…

    With overtaking being such an issue in F1, couldn’t a driver from the back of the field just drive the whole race, and gain places while other people pit because, put bluntly, it is so damn hard to overtake nowadays.

    Wouldn’t removing this rule make Bahrain (and other similar races) even more of a precession?

    I wouldn’t like to see races decided on whether they choose to pit or not. But maybe i’m wrong… :L

    1. I suppose it will be more like pitting in the first 8-12 laps for the top ten, then go to hard to wait for the guys outstide the top 10 to have their stops as well, then go for another set (soft or hard dependant on strategy, track position and car) to the end.

      Outside the top ten most going on the harder tyre, stop later, but then have a bit of a problem judging, weather the softs will last the rest of the race, or need another stop.
      Or do the same as the top 10 for the tyres not lasting enough to make it a 1 stopper.

    2. I would rather see a race decided on whether someone pits or not than if they lucked into choosing a slightly better point in the race to pit.

  15. I voted to drop the rule, but think with the new tyres it is probably a redundant rule anyway. Except I see in the regs, failure to run both types in a ‘dry race’ gets a disqualification. And if a dry race is suspended and cannot be re-started then if both haven’t been used, a 30 sec penalty.

    If the tyres do not last any longer than they did in testing, which has been at cool temps. Then most drivers are going to have to stop three times at least, assuming they have sufficient new tyres for the race.

    The allocation for 2011 is 11 sets total for the w/end with only 7 sets available for qualifying and the race.

  16. I say drop it, It just isn’t needed. We all know the boots are Pirelli’s. Because that’s all the rule was about initially.

  17. I dont think it makes any difference this season as the Pirellis degrade so quickly pit stops will simply have to be made, I do think re-fuelling should be re introduced as it adds a bit of spice to the racing if people are on different fuel levels. What about a mandatory stop for fuel ( no tyre change ) and a 2nd mandatory stop for tyres ( no fuel) in either order at the discretion of the team so you can choose your strategy a bit more and have to manage both tyres and fuel.

    1. Actually I see this rule hurting strategy a bit more this year, as it limits the choices.
      Those behind the top 10 would want to start on the harder tyres to inevitably jump the top 10 as they stop early. Ideally they would change to another set of the harder tyres for a 1 stopper. But as they need to put on the sofst they need another stop anyway, therefore pushing them to do just the same as the top teams, safe the rare individual saving the softs for a short stint in the end (with a 2-stop race)

      1. The way I see it, those outside the Top 10 get a choice the other’s don’t: what to switch to at the first stop. They can stay on hards and save the soft for lower fuel at the end (less degradation) or go straight onto the softs in the hope of making up some time and it all working out in the end. Depending on the difference in degredation, they could end up interfering with the front runners and then they would have to pass them on their fresh tyres, adding skill requirements. And in the case of drivers placed 8th through 12th, they could engineer their strategies to hold up their rivals and sneak some points.

        And then we could see someone like Button do something very different, interfere and win the race. I can’t wait – I just hope they take a few more risks this time!

  18. I for letting team strategy deciding tire stategy. On that note, I never understood why the tire manufacturer only brings two compounds to each race. Why not bring all four available compounds? This would definitely mix up strategies and you may see some surprises because of it.

    1. Costs, is the reason. If the teams were allowed to choose at the race, then twice as many tyres would have to be transported.

      1. But doesn’t Pirelli cover those costs and not the team? And if you don’t use a compound during a race then you still have the tires left for the next race. There is, of course, the added cost of shipping extra tires, but that wouldn’t be that much extra. I am sure there is a way that it could be done that would be minimize the added costs.

        1. As far as I have read, the FIA is trying to reduce all costs for F1, and they seem to think that the restriction of two types per race and 11 sets per car per race w/end reduces perceived costs significantly.

          1. And too, end of 2009 Bridgestone cited costs as one of the reasons to want out, and they were asked to stay until endo 2010 at least, but in exchange there would be less tyres allowed.

            Pirelli footing the costs of more tyres would probably have made them have to increase the price of their bid, so in the end teams would end up paying one way or the other.

        2. As far as I know, the teams now Pay for it.

          But it does not really matter, who ends up footing the bill, does it?

  19. I think it should dropped as a rule, quite like AG and Frow 14 ideas bith mix it all up a bit, also would like to see quali restrictions lifted, lets see all drivers just barnstorming arounds for quickest lap and highest grid position, once qualified then you should have freedom to choose tyre / fuel strategy accordingly. That way you could get a mid grid car going for the glory and getting towards front of grid and therefore having to be passed on track by proper overtaking

  20. Keep it, so everyone has to use both compounds.

    1. Why does that matter? Do you actually enjoy a race more because of knowing that they used two different types of tyre?

      1. It gives the drivers and teams a bigger challenge.

        1. But if it is up to the teams what compound they put on the car, it means the teams have to try and guess which compound their nearest rival will use. Currently if a driver has been on the same type of tyre all race everyone knows they are going to have to pit and put on a different set, while if the rule was changed you don’t know if a) they are going to pit at all, and b) what tyres they will put on if they do.

          I don’t think it is a ‘bigger’ challenge, just a ‘different’ challenge.

          1. You do have a point, but I still think it is a bigger challenge for the engineers and drivers, while it’s a smaller challenge for the strategists.

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