Has the mandatory pit stop rule been a success?

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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?

For

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.

Against

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?

  1. 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.

  2. frow14 said on 2nd March 2011, 9:26

    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.

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 2nd March 2011, 9:55

      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)

      • Icthyes said on 2nd March 2011, 10:23

        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!

  3. 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.

    • W-K (@w-k) said on 2nd March 2011, 9:34

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

      • 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.

        • W-K (@w-k) said on 2nd March 2011, 9:46

          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.

          • bosyber (@bosyber) said on 2nd March 2011, 11:13

            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.

        • BasCB (@bascb) said on 2nd March 2011, 11:12

          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?

  4. welshieF1 said on 2nd March 2011, 9:32

    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

  5. OEL said on 2nd March 2011, 9:34

    Keep it, so everyone has to use both compounds.

    • Dobin1000 (@dobin1000) said on 2nd March 2011, 10:02

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

      • OEL said on 2nd March 2011, 10:11

        It gives the drivers and teams a bigger challenge.

        • Dobin1000 (@dobin1000) said on 2nd March 2011, 10:35

          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.

          • OEL said on 2nd March 2011, 10:40

            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.

  6. Davide said on 2nd March 2011, 9:40

    I say drop it

  7. Osvaldas31 (@osvaldas31) said on 2nd March 2011, 9:45

    If mandatory pit stop rule is dropped, then teams will only use one tyre compound during races, the one that degrades less, so I think that the rule should be kept.

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 2nd March 2011, 9:58

      Why? So Force India (or someone else) can take pole simly by gambling on sofst and make another stop during the race?

      Actually with the second time difference between compounds it will be a bit harder for the top teams, they might have to destroy most sofst during Q1 or Q2 already to be sure of making it to Q3.

    • Dobin1000 (@dobin1000) said on 2nd March 2011, 10:03

      But usually the one that degrades less is slower because it provides less traction. In the early 90s drivers could pick from (I think) compounds A-D, and usually there would be a mixture of B and C tyres as people traded off speed for durability.

  8. Dan Newton said on 2nd March 2011, 10:02

    For what it’s worth I feel they should free up the options on tyre choice including removing the ‘top 10 start on quali tyres’ rule but still leave the teams with the same amount of all compounds over the racing year.
    If any team feels like burning out all their soft and super-softs early in the season to gain an early advantage it could leave things interesting later on!..

  9. f1yankee said on 2nd March 2011, 10:03

    simplify wherever possible:
    drop the mandatory tire change
    drop the top 10 qualifiers rule

    and, drop the 2 out of 4 compounds rule. soft and hard are all that’s needed, especially without a tire war. ideally, softs would be good for about 33% race distance and hards good for about 60%. that leaves plenty of room to be creative, or have creativity thrust upon you.

    • Icthyes said on 2nd March 2011, 10:45

      I think that would be an excellent compromise. The reason there are 4 compounds is that different tracks give different levels of grip and degredation. But only have 2 compounds and at some circuits they will have the “wrong” tyres, which they would have to work around, again giving more uncertainty and excitement.

    • dyslexicbunny (@dyslexicbunny) said on 2nd March 2011, 16:13

      I agree.

      I’ve always been a fan of the idea of letting teams see what the tires can do and designing their cars to suit a certain tire. Maybe they can find a way to steal out another 5% on the hards in the design. Perhaps some teams build around the softs, others are hards, and the last few are try to build around both.

      I originally loved refueling as fuel strategy was a big deal to me. But after this season, I think getting rid of refueling was better for both safety and racing. Teams will have even greater interest to develop fuel efficient engines to make the cars lighter.

  10. Sasquatsch (@sasquatsch) said on 2nd March 2011, 10:12

    I say drop this rule and all other rules that makes for artificial excitement (like the moveable wing and wrong use of KERS)

    They didn’t need this 30 years ago, so why need it now.

    The only reason why they come up with these rules is that it is difficult to overtake on track, which the new Pirelli tyres makes only worse, because of the marbles outside the ideal line.

    I think last year was a lot better than the decade or so before, and to be honest I thhink this year will be worse than last year.

    IMHO I think that Pirelli should bring two compounds of tyres to the track. One that is quicker but only lasts half a race and one that is slower but lasts almost a full race. Let the drivers decide which compound(s) they will use. Some drivers can go the distance and some not. And some think they can go the distance but because they push to much can not. Looks fat better to me.

    And bring back the graveltraps. IMHO it is too easy now, because mistakes aren’t punished enough.

    For better overtaking we need less downforce generated by the wings. So bring back the groundeffect (in 2013?), so cars can drive in each other’s slipstream and can drive different lines through a corner. Sounds far better than moveable wings which can only be used at the end of a straight (which is too slippery anyway, because of the marbles). Sounds also a lot safer.

    And get rid of the use of KERS as a power boost. It isn’t green (they don’t need the extra power). If Formula 1 want to go greener use it like a true hybrid, all the time instead of a couple of times per lap. Maybe they should emulate the hybrid road cars and use KERS for low speeds and use the normal engine for high speeds.

  11. Icthyes said on 2nd March 2011, 10:13

    Drop it, it’s unnecessary now. I’m in two minds about the Top 10 rule; it’s artificial, but with the new tyres its full potential to mix things up could be unlocked. Plus it’s a block on having predictable processions where every front-runner starts on the harder tyres and switches to the softs only at the end. I say give it another year as it can be analysed independently now no-one is realistically going to nurse a set for the whole race. Really, I want them to have a choice of whatever strategy they want with whatever tyres they want.

    • Icthyes said on 2nd March 2011, 13:25

      Oops, I’ve just realised that without the two-compound rule, the Top 10 rule just becomes a way to hamper the front-runners.

      If there has to be a gimmick, why not have the Top 10 rule but for everyone on the odd-side of the grid? That way we could get rid of the silly situation where qualifying 3rd is better than 2nd in the majority of races, as the even-side will have fresher rubber, or choose to go for durability instead. And if there’s no gimmick, we could see such variations in strategy anyway, with a backmarker risking early pace and then nursing the durable set home, holding off the guys on fresh soft rubber.

      • Icthyes said on 2nd March 2011, 13:43

        Of course, I’m basing this on there only being two compounds and teams are free to use whichever they want whenever, as per my reply to f1yankee

  12. LPT said on 2nd March 2011, 10:17

    What all this comes down to is Bernie wanting to make the playing field that level, that it is a photo finish for all the drivers, on equal points, on the last race of the season – anything to increase audiences = $$$$$

    Artificial rain, rear wings that can only be used at certain times during the race, issuing the drivers with handguns…In this circus, anything is possible! :>)

  13. somerandomguy said on 2nd March 2011, 10:24

    drop it. bring back one or two refuelling stops

  14. Adam Tate (@adam-tate) said on 2nd March 2011, 10:27

    I’m so glad to see everyone in favor of dropping the rule! I hope they drop the top 10 must start the race on their qualifying tire rule as well.

    As many have pointed out, this rule wouldn’t be needed in the coming season anyway.

    I want to see more variation of strategy than ever before this coming season. Let them have no pit stops, or as many pit stops as their little hearts delight!

  15. Damon (@damon) said on 2nd March 2011, 10:29

    @ Keith and all

    Has there been an article about how refuelling ban worked out in 2010? Did I miss it?!
    Because it was a big thing and very controversial when it was introduced. It’d be time to sum it up.

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