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 say drop it

  2. 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.

    1. 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.

    2. 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.

  3. 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!..

  4. 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.

    1. 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.

    2. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

    1. 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.

      1. 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

  7. 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! :>)

  8. somerandomguy
    2nd March 2011, 10:24

    drop it. bring back one or two refuelling stops

    1. Bringing back refuelling would also limit strategic variety, as well as being undesirable for a host of other reasons (see 14 reasons to love the refuelling ban).

  9. 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!

  10. @ 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.

    1. I covered that angle in the 2010 season review here: The six ingredients of F1′s classic 2010 season

  11. I don’t think refueling should be banned either, if a team wants to run full tanks, let em. If a team wants to run on fumes to try and gap the field then stop for fuel, let em.

    I hope 2013 can bring changes like these, and the return to ground effects like Sasquatch and many others have mentioned.

  12. It’s an artificial and complicated rule.
    I believe F1 rules should be clear and natural. So, I would naturally drop the rule.

  13. Coefficient
    2nd March 2011, 10:41

    Drop the rule and bring back refuelling. The cars look obese with hige tanks and don’t look anywhere near as nimble in the twisty stuff. In fact, they look positively clumsy round Monaco.

    Surely they can come up with some device that prevents the driver from selecting 1st gear if the fuel hose is still attached?

    Does anyone know if running lighter and refuelling uses more or less fuel than running filled to the gunnels?

  14. Keep it. Pit stops add an extra dynamic to the race. It’s a team sport, so some part of the race should involve the team. It’s all good having the best car on the grid, but if the team behind you arent up to scratch, then the driver is nothing.

  15. The only good reason that they keep this rule is that all tyres for the dry races are used. But, even with that, I think the rule is too strict. I think it’s already good to have a limited number of sets of tyres to use in 1 GP, so the drivers would not use 1 compound on the whole week-end. And now the Pirellis will make the cars pit more than once, so the mandatory pitstop rule will become pretty useless.

    As for the Q3 tyre rule, I don’t have an opinion right now because I don’t know how it will be this year : maybe we will see more gambles (driver trying to have the pole position with soft tyres, with the risk to have a difficult strategy the next day), but maybe the strategy in qualifying will be the same for everyone, so we should wait to see a few races to spit on this rule (again).

  16. F1 didn’t need refueling and it doesn’t need to keep the mandatory 2 compound pit stop rule.

    I’m presently preparing a draft to be sent to the FIA regarding a new rule for leveling the playing field in F1. This rule has the endorsements of several legendary F1 greats including Nigel Mansell and Ned Flanders.

    The gist of this proposal is that all drivers must stop, exit their their vehicle and run around it 3 times whilst being flogged by their pit crews with wooden paddles. This will all be monitored under the stringent scrutiny of paddock stewards and electric timing sensors. They may then re-enter their vehicles, scream “Bernie is a Nutter!” and resume their race.

    I think it has a chance…. really.

  17. Right this is what they should do, listen up everyone – best idea since sliced bread.

    In a Saturday Qualifying session at a Grand Prix every driver qualifies in the same car – one issued by the FIA at the start of the year and cloned 24 times, just painted different colours to identify which driver is in which car.
    They will then take part in one 45 minute session and the driver that hooks up the perfect lap will claim pole – not the fastest car. This will mean that the gap between pole position and 24th on the grid suddenly becomes around 3 or 4 tenths of a second and it would probably produce a different pole sitter at each event.

    For the race the drivers will then drive their normal teams cars, not the car they qualified in. This means that (for example) Timo Glock could claim pole position on Saturday and then be sat on the grid on Sunday in his Marussia Virgin on pole position thinking how the hell am i going to pull this off! and Vettel could be sat on P18 in the fastest car and have some work to do. Then we see the overtaking.
    It adds an element of randomness into Grand Prix’s that would take the sport to a whole new level. What you would eventually start seeing if this was brought into play would be the top teams employing the driver that can hook up the perfect lap in quali so that their car starts from the front.
    Basically the theory behind this is – The fastest driver gets the pole position, not the fastest car.

    Think about it, the most boring it could possibly get is if Vettel gets pole position…which is what happens now all the time anyway! I see no flaws in this. Can you?

    Thanks for reading. R.Wilson :)

    1. In a nut shell, what you have described is more or less GP2, GP3 and F2.

    2. HounslowBusGarage
      2nd March 2011, 12:13

      So, you would be doubling the number of cars required, equipment, engineers etc etc, all to be moved from race to race around the world. How would this be paid for, and where would these cars be ‘pitted’?

      1. It would cost a large sum at the start of the year for 24 identical Formula 1 cars yes, but it would be worth it out of anybody’s pocket. (FIA & Bernie) there’s no need for any extra engineers and such as they arn’t working on the quali car and race car at the same time. Plus they wouldn’t be allowed to mess with the quali car anyway as the aim is for them all to be exaclty equal. The Quali & Race cars swap places from Parc Ferme to garage on the Saturday Evening.

        1. HounslowBusGarage
          2nd March 2011, 13:31

          Sorry, I think this is a rubbish idea. Have you ever seen how many engineers and pit crew it actually takes to start a Formula 1 car? They’re not like Ford Focuses, you know. A field of 24 identical F1 cars will need nearly as many pit personnel as a full GP2 field. It’s impossibly impractical and ludicrously expensive.

          1. Like i said, why would the teams need to employ anymore people, they arn’t working on the quali car and the race car at the same time….there is no complication.

            I think what it is, is that i just want to see the drivers in equal eqiupment, it would be fascinating to see who is actually the fastest under pressure, for all we know Buemi could be the fastest guy on the grid for example, but how could we ever tell. So i came up with that idea, yes i realise the cost would be mad, i’m not thick i just think it would be worth the extra cost of it all.

  18. No because for the race, they drive their normal cars, so they arn’t equal, only equal equipment in quali, thats the key.

    1. Pete Walker
      2nd March 2011, 13:21

      But Formula 1 is about the best car/driver combination – that includes qualifying…

      1. For me Formula 1 is about the best driver, not the best car, the one flaw in F1 is that you can never really tell who is the best. With the system i have come up with, for the first time, you will be able to tell who the fastest is, thats the beauty of it. Personally though i think there will be that little between them that it would be a different pole sitter at each event which i think would be really exciting when theres thousands of seconds between them.

        1. And thats where you are wrong. F1 has never been about the best driver. That would only be the case if F1 had ever been a spec formula and it hasn’t. Therefore the whole premise of your argument is against what most fans consider the beauty of F1: the driver/machine combination.

  19. Won’t the Pirelli tyres eventually get to the same stage as the Bridgestone tyres were? i.e. harder compound lasting most (if not all) of the race? If this happens wouldn’t it be better to have the rule than to not have it?

  20. The cars are the most reliable and closest they have ever been. By introducing rules like this, it forces pretty much everyone to stick to the same strategy depending where they are on the grid.

    We saw this with fueling where every team would try and overtake during pitstops. I think last season proved what a mistake that rule was.

    With a new tyre company things will be a lot more open as teams and drivers will be getting used to them and will not have the data they have been used to help them be consistent and know exactly what the cars will do.

    I say leave it to the drivers, that’s what there paid for.

    The only person I think would disagree would be Our Nige ;)

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