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?


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?

  1. Adam Tate (@adam-tate) said on 2nd March 2011, 10:31

    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.

  2. JCCJCC (@jccjcc) said on 2nd March 2011, 10:31

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

  3. Coefficient said on 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?

  4. James said on 2nd March 2011, 10:42

    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.

  5. Dan_the_McLaren_fan (@dan_the_mclaren_fan) said on 2nd March 2011, 10:53

    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).

  6. Alex Bkk (@alex-bkk) said on 2nd March 2011, 11:02

    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.

  7. Rob Wilson said on 2nd March 2011, 11:28

    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 :)

    • James said on 2nd March 2011, 11:41

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

    • HounslowBusGarage said on 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’?

      • Rob Wilson said on 2nd March 2011, 12:40

        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.

        • HounslowBusGarage said on 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.

          • Rob Wilson said on 2nd March 2011, 14:36

            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.

  8. Rob Wilson said on 2nd March 2011, 11:44

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

    • Pete Walker said on 2nd March 2011, 13:21

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

      • Rob Wilson said on 2nd March 2011, 14:15

        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.

        • DASMAN said on 3rd March 2011, 13:43

          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.

  9. soundscape said on 2nd March 2011, 11:47

    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?

  10. Paulipedia said on 2nd March 2011, 11:55

    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 ;)

  11. HounslowBusGarage said on 2nd March 2011, 11:59

    My first reaction was to vote to scrap this stupid and artificial rule, but then I stopped to wonder why we had tyre rules in the first place.
    Back in the days when there was more than one tyre supplier, there was a competition between manufacturers to make the best tyres. And these tyres were a compromise between the extremes of grip and durability on a track-by-track basis. Some tyres favoured some cars, others performed less well on the same tyres.
    When F1 became a single tyre category, the tyres dropped out of importance – they were the same for everyone – and the supplier became almost invisible, to their chagrin.
    So to raise the profile and topicallity of this single supplier, a rather artificial rule was introduced to require each car to run on multiple grades of tyre. The idea was that the viewing public would re-consider the tyre as an attractive ingredient of the entertainment and become re-enthused by particular brand of tyres as a whole.
    I’m not sure why the ‘Top Ten Rule’ was introduced. Didn’t it come at the same as the ‘no-refuelling between qualifying and racing’ rule?
    But we seem to have arrived at a fairly complex rule situation that was based on the need of the sole tyre supplier to get his products mentioned by commentators live on air. And i don’t think that’s terribly sensible.
    In fact, I think it’s pretty stupid. A bit like saying that footballers have to change theor boots partway through the match so that Puma or Adidas or Gola or whoever get extra ‘product placement’ camera time.
    But then, I’m not convinced that F1 should have become a single-tyre series either.
    Obviously, I have way too much time on my hands today.

  12. ubiq said on 2nd March 2011, 11:59

    I hate the top 10 start on tyres they qualified on rule. it is the worst rule in formula 1! Why can’t the top 10 start on tyres they wish, it would make racing at the front so much more exciting as different guys could go on different strategies. As it is, you are practically forcing the top 8 drivers to start on the soft compound.

  13. anTONIo said on 2nd March 2011, 12:19

    True racing is done on the circuit!

  14. Keith, Since the overwhelming majority of fans on the world’s biggest F1 fansite think that dropping the 1 stop rule would make for better racing from a fan’s perspective- Do you think that you could somehow let Bernie know how the fans feel? Would be nice to think that the spectators have a little say on what Formula 1 does in the future!

  15. Chalky (@chalky) said on 2nd March 2011, 12:29

    I never like the rule. Keith has summed up how I feel exactly.

    If you can drive slower \ better and save the tyres for the whole race then fine. But I’ve never liked the mandatory pit stop rules either with fuel or tyres.

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