Has the mandatory pit stop rule been a success?

Debates and Polls

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. Tinakori Road (@tinakori-road) said on 2nd March 2011, 12:35

    I votes drop the rule but the one that really should be dropped is the “top ten qualifiers must start on the tyres they qualified on”. If they had decent tires at the start you would get more passing at it.

  2. wasiF1 (@wasif1) said on 2nd March 2011, 12:40

    Drop it,let the driver decide how many times they want to pit.It just spoil the race further,on the other hand if the difference between the two compounds are very big which weren’t the case in many races when Bridgestone brought their tyres then I think it’s OK to keep.

  3. PJA said on 2nd March 2011, 13:03

    I have never been in favour of the mandatory pit stop rule, so I would like to see it dropped.

    Ideally the degradation of the tyres would be at a level that it would be very difficult to go the whole race without changing them and that a driver choosing a three stopper and going flat out is competitive at the end of the race with someone who looks after their tyres and so does fewer stops.

    If they still wanted drivers to use both compounds, the rule could be modified so that if a driver does make a tyre stop he has to change to the other compound, but if they manage to make the tyres last all race, which shouldn’t be easy, then they don’t have to stop.

  4. KaIIe (@kaiie) said on 2nd March 2011, 13:12

    Drop it, since if the tyres will require two stops this year anyway, the rule is completely useless.

    For me, the ideal situation would be to have four compounds: supersoft for qualifying, soft that would require two stops per race but would be very fast, medium that would last about half a race (or 3/4 if you’d drive carefully) and a hard tyre that would go the distance, but would be slow. And ideally, the amount to do the whole race distance would be similar on all the compounds.

    Also, it would be nice to see back the old rule, when you didn’t have to have the same compound all round the car. For example, in Istanbul, the car could have a hard front right and soft/medium everywhere else.

  5. Boost (@boost) said on 2nd March 2011, 13:22

    I say keep the rule:

    * As a reminder for future tire manufacturers not to manufacture too hard materials.
    * During the last few years, the pit stops were a moment to wait for during many of the rather “boring” races so something different happened, a reshuffle because of different strategies etc. Making pit stops mandatory simply keeps one of the things that can make boring race more interesting.
    * Just like the part mentioned above a mandatory pit stop can help a blocked driver to actually race instead of being in tow after slower car with the impossibility to pass. This too makes the races more interesting.

    All rules that punish drivers for reaching Q3 – delete forever.

  6. AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 2nd March 2011, 13:34

    Well, there is no need for it now with Pirelli it seems. Drop it I say.

    I didn’t have anything against it in the first place.

  7. The rule just makes F1 appear even more complicated and combined with the silly top 10 qualifying rule and the ARW restrictions it’ll make the sport harder to follow and enjoy.

    It can make things more entertaining in some respects by the top 10 being forced into looking after their soft tyres in the race and cause a bit of a mix up if someone starts on the harder compound but it is completely contrived and artificial. It takes away from the purity of racing and doesn’t even begin to really address the problem of the lack of overtaking i.e. the aero rules and especially track design.

    What’s more the top 10 qualifying rule punishes those who have actually done well which isn’t fair (although the FIA didn’t even stick to it as in Aus Kubica was allowed a new set of the option tyre as he had a flat spot I believe) and the one stop strategy limits strategy or at least it did in the Bridgstone days but it seems everyone will have to stop at least once anyway with the Pirelli’s but it still forces the drivers to choose compounds they may not want to.

    Let the teams pit when they want and take on what compounds they want on both the Saturday and Sunday and let them plan their own race weekend instead of niggly little rules that may be designed to help overtaking but actually take away from the racing.

  8. Snow Donkey said on 2nd March 2011, 14:33

    With the Bridgestones, I think the rule took away from what could have been. The tires were durable enough that drivers could have made the gamble to go the whole way on the harder tires.
    With the Pirellis, this will not be the case. Unlike most of you though, I see this as a more valid reason to keep the rule. If the harder compound still needs 2-3 stops in a race, I feel forcing teams to use both compounds will add an element with these new tires as it will be much more difficult to decide where to use the soft compound.
    Also, with the uber-quick degradation of the softs, I see more potential for drivers in the top 10 shootout to try and qualify on the harder compound.
    Much as I hated these rules when Bridgestone was around, I vote to give the rules a chance this year with Pirelli. They could work well with tires that clearly cannot last the race distance.

  9. spudw said on 2nd March 2011, 14:42

    Drop the rule and mandate a tyre specification that will ensure they’re running on canvas by lap 30. But keep the rule in place that both specifications must be used in a race and mandate that those specifications should have a significant performance differential: ie. prime is an 25-lap endurance tire and option is a 15-lap performance tire.

    • spudw said on 2nd March 2011, 14:45

      That was actually a bit self-contradictory. I guess I’m in favour of requiring use of both compounds. But you could eliminate the mandatory pitstop such that, a driver could opt to go the whole race on a set of tyres, BUT if they pit, they are required to use both compounds at some point during the race.

      With the current Pirelli tyre, it’s all a bit moot anyway.

  10. StefMeister said on 2nd March 2011, 15:35

    I would like to see it removed, Been honest I was never in favor of it been brought in to start with.

    I’d like to see Pirelli bring more compounds to each race rather than just 2. Give teams 3 or 4 compounds & then just leave them to run them as they wish.

    I’d like to see tyres like this:
    Soft’s = Best performance, High Wear, last about 15-20 laps.
    Medium’s = Maybe half second slower, Last around half race distance.
    Hard’s = About 1 second slower, Can last a full race distance.

    No mandatory stops, Just let Teams & Drivers do whatever they want with tyres during the races. If Hamilton wants to go flat out on Soft’s planning 2-stops while Button wants to No-Stop on Hard’s then let them & if they switch strategy Mid-Race & opt to switch to another compound they can.

    As to the tyres, I personally think there falling away far too quickly, The Super-Soft’s/Soft’s are acting like the old qualifying tyres used to, 1 very fast lap & then a huge performance loss. The Drop-Off should be smaller, Tyres shoudn’t be 4-5+ seconds slower after 12 laps as thats not going to produce good competitive racing.

    If we see used tyres v fresh tyres the performance difference is going to be so large that its going to be like watching a race between a 2010 Red Bull & HRT, An easy pass with the faster car proceeding to run away & hide.

    Like Webber said recently, Im not sure how entertaining that sort of thing is going to be to watch.

  11. LHJBFTW (@lhjbftw) said on 2nd March 2011, 15:40

    As I see it what is needed is a rule that is not artificial, that allows the teams to decide and run their own strategies and does not increase costs.
    My solution to this would be to give the teams all the tires they need to race for the year at the start of the year. the teams would then be free to decide how and when to use their stocks of tires. So that the teams stratagies are wholly their own decision I would remove all rule governing what tires the teams can use in race/qualy, top 10, using both compounds etc. this I think could really mix things up and allow for some very different strategies lasting for a whole season which I would really enjoy watching.

  12. Electrolite said on 2nd March 2011, 16:04

    There are times where it has been successful, but other rules have changed since and there really isn’t any need for it now. Let’s hope it’s out for 2012.

  13. My view is simple. We had a fascinating close season last year, so in a way the Pit stop rule must have contributed to that. So what the hell keep it. Why fiddle if something works. Like the Ecclestone rain idea too! :)

    • Electrolite said on 2nd March 2011, 16:19

      It wasn’t just last year when the rule was in force though. As the article states, they’ve had to do it for four years.

  14. Joey-Poey (@joey-poey) said on 2nd March 2011, 16:19

    I’ve already voiced my opinion here many a time. Drop the sucker.

  15. Asanator (@asanator) said on 2nd March 2011, 16:28

    I refuse to vote as it is the wrong question. I don’t think there is a mandatory pitstop rule is there? Surely it is the rule that demands both tyre compounds be used which forces pitstops.

    I would agree that perhaps getting rid of this rule could spice up the racing but that would then hinge on the differences between the tyres and how each driver/chassis combo uses them. One driver may be able to get the hard tyres to go for a whole race whereas another may need to stop once. A third driver could go for the softs stopping 3 times. and all the different permutations in between. If you were going to do this though, I would think that it is prefferable to get rid of the second compound leaving us with open stops and the one compound!

    Oh back to where we started!

    The second compound was only introduced to keep Bridgestone happy because people would be talking about tyres!

    If Pirelli were to make one compound, maybe even the existing hard compound would do which I don’t think will even do a race distance, where the performance falls off a lot over distance, you would get a variety of strategies anyway.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 2nd March 2011, 16:37

      I refuse to vote as it is the wrong question. I don’t think there is a mandatory pitstop rule is there? Surely it is the rule that demands both tyre compounds be used which forces pitstops.

      Which is made clear in the first paragraph.

      • Asanator (@asanator) said on 2nd March 2011, 16:55

        So the question should surely be “should the rule mandating the use of both tyre compounds be dropped?”.

        I don’t see the point in voting to drop a rule that doesn’t exist.

        • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 2nd March 2011, 17:00

          No-one is in any doubt about the meaning of the piece, I’m obviously not going to write a headline that long and you’re just being pedantic.

          • AD (@ad) said on 2nd March 2011, 22:45

            Actually the title of the poll isn’t consistent with the poll question asked – the tyres are changing this year so what was successful in the past might not be suitable for the future.

            I think the rule was successful last year as it provided some variation for the Bridgestone tyres where neither new prime tyres nor option tyres provided a sufficient performance advantage. Most races would have been done on the prime tyre with no stops at all. This year a fresh set of Pirelli tyres provides more than a sufficient advantage to make stops beneficial.

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