Red Bull change pit stop practice for safety

F1 Fanatic Round-up

Mark Webber, Red Bull, Nurburgring, 2013In the round-up: Red Bull identify why their pit stop went wrong during the German Grand Prix.

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Your daily digest of F1 news, views, features and more.

Motor racing-Red Bull change pitstop procedures (Reuters)

“When the mechanic with the wheel gun removed the nut to put another on, the gun slipped in his hand and he accidentally depressed a trigger that sent a ‘go’ signal to the man on the front jack.”

Honda to base F1 operation in Milton Keynes (F1)

“Honda plans to begin operations in Milton Keynes in June 2014, with the facility – already being used by Honda associates Mugen – providing a base for their trackside support operations, as well as a suitable location to rebuild and maintain power units.”

Ecclestone: Sauber need help (Sky)

“Ecclestone, however, will not be lending a helping hand as he said: ‘We have agreements that require us to treat all the teams equally’.”

In Brazil… (Joe Sward)

“The current contract runs out in 2015 and the work is necessary for the city to secure another five year deal. The new facility will include 40 pit garages with VIP hospitality above it, plus a new race control and podium area and a new media centre.”

How the pitlane TV ban will affect F1 fans (The Buxton Blog)

“At the end of last year, we as pit reporters lost a key tool with the end of Fanvision?s deal in F1. Having lost one critical link to real time information we had to rely on what we could see again with our own eyes in the pitlane in practice. Now this tool has been taken away, too.”

Lotus and Ayrton Senna agreement, 1987 (University of California)

This PDF of Ayrton Senna’s contract to drive for Lotus in 1987 is part of a large archive of documents from tobacco companies on the University of California’s website which includes more on other F1 drivers and teams who had tobacco sponsorship over several decades. Have a search through the archive here.

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Comment of the day

@Colossal-Squid is surprised how much assistance drivers receive from their engineers:

You could take the view that the engineers are micro managing their drivers to an almost ridiculous degree. You often hear Rob Smedley telling Massa exactly when, where and how much KERS to use, or what gear to use going round a corner.

It?s shocking to me to hear a driver (as an F1 driver, supposedly one of the best in the world), being told how to drive their car, or take a drink.
@Colossal-Squid

From the forum

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Abishek, Sohan and Speeder_76!

If you want a birthday shout-out tell us when yours is by emailling me, using Twitter or adding to the list here.

On this day in F1

Michael Schumacher scored a controversial win in the British Grand Prix 15 years ago today.

The race was run in soaking wet conditions and led by Mika Hakkinen until he went off and the Safety Car was deployed. Schumacher was given a drive-through penalty for passing overtaking under yellow flags but contrived to serve it on the final lap after he’d already won the race.

Hakkinen survived to take second ahead of Eddie Irvine.

Image ?? Red Bull/Getty

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87 comments on Red Bull change pit stop practice for safety

  1. JPedroCQF1 (@joao-pedro-cq) said on 12th July 2013, 0:05

    Hasn’t Ecclestone financially helped other teams in the past? Seem to remember something like it.

    • HoHum (@hohum) said on 12th July 2013, 0:31

      I believe you are right, Bernie always talks with forked tongue. The best way the teams could be helped is to give them a more equitable share of the revenue they produce by building and racing F1 cars.

      • Joe Papp (@joepa) said on 12th July 2013, 2:51

        exactly. it’s unconscionable that vulture fund CVC extracts hundreds of millions while the teams starve (save for Ferrari)!

      • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 12th July 2013, 5:15

        Or maybe they could stop spending hundreds of millions of dollars a year and make the sport more sustainable. Getting more money from Bernie is only going to encourage them to spend more money, and sooner rather than later, we’ll be back here having the same debate with the key difference being that Bernie cannot give them any more money because he doesn’t have any more money to give them.

        Also, the teams are already paid all of the money from television rights. They can’t get “a more equitable share” because they’re already getting all of it.

        • HoHum (@hohum) said on 12th July 2013, 13:27

          When I was at school 63% was nowhere near all of anything, and 50% , which is all that the teams have been given so far, was even less.

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 12th July 2013, 13:50

            That doesn’t change the way your “solution” is a short-term fix and will likely only make the situation worse in the long term.

            Worse is the way you’re only proposing it to spite Bernie, rather than to genuinely fix the problem.

          • HoHum (@hohum) said on 13th July 2013, 23:59

            It’s nothing to do with “spiteing” Bernie and everything to do with fixing the problem. How can giving the teams a greater share of the income they generate make their financial position worse?

    • Pennyroyal tea (@peartree) said on 12th July 2013, 3:53

      Sauber is swiss, I don’t think they are going down, they are just alarmed, seriously alarmed but someone will seep in.

    • BJ (@beejis60) said on 12th July 2013, 6:09

      I can’t explain it, but I’m starting to hate Bernie more these past two years than the past 10ish years combined.

  2. Deej92 (@deej92) said on 12th July 2013, 0:27

    Those are interesting plans for Interlagos. It would feel very strange for the start to be at Reta Oposta. The article also suggests that the track would go around the lake and then join back behind the then start/finish straight, so somewhat using part of the old lay-out.

    • Cucamest (@kevincucamest) said on 12th July 2013, 0:58

      I think that the main problem with getting the track to run around the lake is the fact that there would be no runoff area as long as they do not fill up half the lake with dirt. Plus we might lose the Descida do Lago corners (turn 4 and 5) although they would be able to just make an absolutely exact copy of those two corners as the new turn 1 and 2
      Here is a rough example on how the track might look like:
      http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/?r=6001150

  3. F1Yankee (@f1yankee) said on 12th July 2013, 0:29

    re: schumacher
    what an absolutely classic moment for schumacher and for f1. the brilliance of his driving in the wet was matched only by the strategic comprehension. what made it right to do then is exactly the same thing that makes it wrong now – the definition of the rules. the greatest in sports always redefine the record book, the playbook and the rulebook.

  4. Calum (@calum) said on 12th July 2013, 0:37

    I’ve never seen a driver contract before. That was an interesting document to read for an F1 Fanatic! :)

    • DC (@dujedcv) said on 12th July 2013, 11:15

      Agreed. I have just read it (almost everything) and it is a very interesting insight into driver’s obligations to the sponsors and the team

    • McGregski (@mcgregski) said on 12th July 2013, 15:47

      I like this bit:

      …and further that for 1987 and 1988 the Driver’s status will be that of nuber one and that the Driver will be given corresponding priority (if applicable) in the allocation of equipment during 1987 and 1988

      I wonder how many current contracts that line is present in?

  5. George (@george) said on 12th July 2013, 0:42

    I remember watching that race live, still cant believe he got away with it. I guess that’s what having Ross Brawn in the team does for you :)

    • Scottie (@scottie) said on 12th July 2013, 1:22

      It was more the lack of thought from the stewards… I thought it was a great race :)

    • Sankalp Sharma (@sankalp88) said on 12th July 2013, 2:21

      What a race that was! Schumi and Brawn at their absolute best!

    • DC (@dc) said on 12th July 2013, 5:03

      I remember always wondering if someone could ever do that, and then I was surprised when it actually happened. I think they changed the rule after that, if I remember correctly, so the drive-through had to happen within three laps. If there weren’t three laps left to the race, so-many seconds would be added to the driver’s time.

      • Mike Dee (@mike-dee) said on 12th July 2013, 10:18

        I don’t think they would have gotten away with it. He kept his win solely because the stewards took too long to issue the decision (longer than allowed by regulations).

  6. Adam Blocker (@blockwall2) said on 12th July 2013, 0:58

    All teams are treated equally (except of course for Ferrari). That is why they get a vote on stuff that the others do not….

  7. Scottie (@scottie) said on 12th July 2013, 1:16

    “Ecclestone, however, will not be lending a helping hand as he said: ‘We have agreements that require us to treat all the teams equally’.”

    except for Ferrari in the Concorde agreement…

  8. Tommy C (@tommy-c) said on 12th July 2013, 1:45

    Regarding the COTD, you can see why Kimi flipped out in Abu Dhabi last year! I know I wouldn’t be able to handle it.

    • SoerenKaae (@soerenkaae) said on 12th July 2013, 2:17

      @tommy-c

      Thats how Kimi is always answering radio messages. Look at the transcript, he still answers bluntly when repeatedly told that they are unable to hear him from T1 to T12. His engineer probably knows that the day Kimi just follows his instructions, there is a problem.

      Massa on the other hand is a different type of driver. He needs confidence to do well. That is why Rob Smedley is always talking to him.

      As for Hamilton is again another type. He seems to talk quite a lot (and moan), and his engineer has to direct his focus away from the drivers around him, back to himself.

      Vettels communication seems to be very “german” in nature. Short and efficient. He might feel that too much talking interrupts his rythm or detracts from his focus.

      Everybody is different, and being on the radio with a driver requires a bit of preparation and a personal connection. Some drivers want to have as much info as possible, some need only the most important.

      • Joe Papp (@joepa) said on 12th July 2013, 3:11

        @soerenkaae – good observations on the “character” of the other drivers’ messages. I tend to agree w/ you, even if we’re being slightly stereotypical lol…

      • Pennyroyal tea (@peartree) said on 12th July 2013, 4:02

        I’m holding this for a while, I think it is obvious that the only reason Massa is behaving this way is because he is ashamed of his performances and that’s the reason why he is so open and honest about them. Massa is clinging to F1 because F1 is the life he knows, the facts are that Massa can’t seem to really get to grips with these era of F1 especially from 2011 onwards. Massa is an aggressive driver in typical brazilian fashion and that isn’t necessarily the quickest way to go around, he is the sole brazilian on the field and if brazil wasn’t a good market he would have left F1 much sooner that said the TNT sponsoring is not that significant.

      • Optimaximal (@optimaximal) said on 12th July 2013, 9:54

        Vettel’s short comms could also be representative of the native language barrier between himself and Rocquelin. For all the best will in the world, they both grew up with different primary languages…

  9. OmarR-Pepper (@omarr-pepper) said on 12th July 2013, 1:53

    So Red Bull did have a device which shows the lollipop man when the crew are ready to release the car. Now it’s time to make it totally sensor-controlled, because of course humans are prone to mistakes no matter how hard the full pit operation is practiced. Sensors can fail too, but 2 sensors making some kind of “double check” would reduce that possibility to almost nothing.

    • Two sensors are one two few. If the sensors disagree, which one is the faulty one? Sure, if they don’t agree you need further investigation and you still have a red light.
      In fly-by-wire airplanes they use three, even computers. This way you only get two scenarios, they all agree or two against one.

      If all agree it is likely that not all three have failed at the same time. If you have one against two it will be shouted down by the other two since it is more likely one have failed than two.

    • Tifoso1989 (@tifoso1989) said on 12th July 2013, 14:44

      Now it’s time to make it totally sensor-controlled, because of course humans are prone to mistakes no matter how hard the full pit operation is practiced

      The Air France Flight 296 & Ariane 5 comes to my mind

  10. OmarR-Pepper (@omarr-pepper) said on 12th July 2013, 1:58

    So Red Bull did have a device which shows the crew boss when they are ready to release the car. Now it’s time to make it totally electronics-controlled, because of course, humans can make mistakes no matter how much the full operation is practiced. Sensors can fail too, but 2 sensors making some kind of “double check” would reduce that possibility to almost nothing.

  11. Joe Papp (@joepa) said on 12th July 2013, 2:49

    RBR should be fined $1,000,000USD, lose x-# of WCC points, and receive an official “reprimand” so they can face civil liability in Germany for the cameraman’s injuries. A 30,000-euro fine, by comparison, is absolutely no deterrent whatsoever to ensure that innocents’ lives aren’t put at risk to save a MEASLY SINGLE (1) SECOND in a PIT STOP! Gah!

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 12th July 2013, 8:33

      And presumably you think Mercedes deserved the same in 2010?

      • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 12th July 2013, 9:18

        I agree. Unreasonable penalties for everyone!

      • Joe Papp (@joepa) said on 12th July 2013, 21:07

        And presumably you think Mercedes deserved the same in 2010?

        @keithcollantine – absolutely. There’s simply no excuse or way to justify releasing a car out of its pit box w/o all four wheels firmly and securely attached, especially when the cause is human-error, and especially when that error results from speed-greed.

        The teams and the FIA pay lip-service to safety but, as your example reveals, they still take inappropriate risks that put innocents’ lives at risk, all to save a few tenths of a second in a single pit stop that’s irrelevant in the context of possibly killing someone b/c a wheel was insecurely attached when a car was inappropriately released.

        I do, however, find your insinuation a bit offensive, that I would be inconsistent in penalizing reckless behavior that puts lives at risk. The teams have it entirely within their power to ensure that cars aren’t released w/ unsecured wheels, but the fact that it’s happened again here w/ RBR shows the need for a massive fine and for the team and its mechanics to face civil liability in Germany. It’s too bad that Mercedes wasn’t made an example of in 2010, if that’s the last time a wheel fell off a car after being improperly attached in a pit stop (but I thought there were at least a couple other instances of this b/w 2013 and 2010, no?).

        • dragoll (@dragoll) said on 13th July 2013, 0:40

          @joepa I think your sentiment is very good, you want to see safety standards take the forefront. Unfortunately F1 has many risks and as much as there is more of a safety conscious view these days, I believe there are many areas where performance and a certain degree of complacency override safety concerns. Teams and Drivers want to win, and they’ll use every single advantage they can, within the rules, to achieve that goal.

          If you’ve read Steve Matchett’s book about the 1994 season in the Benetton pit, and read about how his recollections of the Jos Verstappen pit fire during refueling in Germany. Then subsequently the decision by the Benetton mechanics to rock up at Hungary knowing full well they had to refuel the cars after something that was meant to be impossible, actually happened. You get to understand in their mindset that F1 is about performance and the will to win overrides such concerns. Is it right? probably not from a sensibility stand point, however, I think its a great insight into how human beings live their lives on a day to day basis. We don’t live in bubbles, cut off from the rest of the world, we engage with the world and many of us partake in risky hobbies or jobs.

          In the washup of the Cameraman incident in the German GP, I do believe the camera man understood there were risks, as it would be in his employment contract, like it is stated on the back of every single race ticket supplied to the public, motor racing is dangerous.

          I wish him all the best and a speedy recovery, the incident could have been worse, but thankfully it wasn’t. The FIA has reviewed the incident and put in place more stringent measures for the teams to follow and follow them they will. Will it prevent the same thing happening in the future, I don’t think it will, what it will do is reduce frequency in which it happens.

      • Joe Papp (@joepa) said on 15th July 2013, 4:54

        @keithcollantine – I agree that it was a mistake and certainly not intentional, but it’s a byproduct of an insane race for time-savings in maintaining the car during pit stops where the integrity of the work-product and the safety of unaffiliated co-laborers like the wounded FOM cameraman must come before sporting performance. Sporting excellence and time-saving in the pit stops need not be banned in pursuit of heavy-handed “safety,” but when a mistake borne of rushing and providing mechanics insufficient time to correctly perform their duties results in serious injury due to a wheel falling off a car before it’s barely left the box, then a brutal penalty must be swiftly delivered to serve as a deterrent against future unreasonable risk-taking during the performance of crucial maintenance to the car.

        I don’t agree with the FIA’s wild decision to ban media from the area, though I DO agree w/ Dieter Rencken that there may be an ulterior motive (hence why FIA must retain control of the accreditation process) for their removal that ISN’T safety. And while helmets can be helpful, they would not have done anything to address the root cause of Allen’s wounding: the unsafe release of Webber’s car, w/o a wheel attached. I’m not an expert on systems analysis but I strongly suspect the teams have the ability to ensure that a car can never again be released from the box w/o a wheel attached – they just need to be properly incentivized to do so, and that means making it far, far too costly for them to cut corners and play games with the safety of their own mechanics and non-team personnel by pushing their wrenches to save an unreasonable second. Let them do 2.4sec pit stops if they want, but w/ the knowledge that if they screw up and send the car out before all work is finished, and a wheel goes flying down pit lane, it’s going to cost them a million dollars plus some WCC points…

  12. scuderia_fan85 (@scuderia_fan85) said on 12th July 2013, 3:37

    so the question is will this new wheel gun design allow them to still perform under 3 second stops…

  13. Jay Menon (@jaymenon10) said on 12th July 2013, 6:42

    I dont understand Sauber’s plight. Didn’t Gutierez come in with significant money? Wasnt the reason for them to drop Kobayashi? Was it a good move? Well doesnt quite look like now does it? Halfway through the season and their rookie has 0 points. Their points scored is significantly less than last year, this will only have a detrimental effect on their yearly revenue, even with Carlos Slim’s money taken into account…so in hindsight..keeping Kobayashi might been wiser?

    Sauber have always been a team that has operated on a small budget (excluding the BMW years of course), and they have done so quite well. The main difference this year compared to last is that they are paying quite a bit for Hulk’s wages…but that should be offset by not paying EG.

    Im sure they will work things out. The question is, will Peter Sauber sell?

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 12th July 2013, 8:31

      That’s assuming they wouldn’t have been in trouble sooner if they hadn’t taken Gutierrez.

      • MJ4 said on 12th July 2013, 9:34

        If serious, driver-gets-no-pay kind of financial trouble arising “only” after one-third of the championship is the best of possible scenarios, then it’s hard to believe Sauber is a sustainable operation at all.

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 12th July 2013, 9:16

      I’ve heard that the team let Kobayashi go because he was difficult to work with, and the team wasn’t happy with his progress. He ultimately fell into the same pitfall as Heikki Kovalainen: talented enough to be in Formula 1, but not quite talented enough to justify keeping without sponsorship.

      However, the team are allegedly saying exactly the same things about Hulkenberg, so make of it what you will. Having said that, I don’t think letting Kobayashi go was a mistake. If you look at what he achieved, he didn’t come close to what the fanbase Saud he was capable of.

      • Deej92 (@deej92) said on 12th July 2013, 14:43

        I agree that letting Kobayashi go wasn’t a mistake. He never made a vast improvement over his F1 career. With not enough progress made and no sponsorship money, it seemed logical to release him to me.

    • HxCas (@hxcas) said on 12th July 2013, 9:26

      The main difference this year compared to last is that they are paying quite a bit for Hulk’s wages…but that should be offset by not paying EG.

      Hulk hasn’t been paid in months, that’s a non issue this year sadly.

  14. q85 said on 12th July 2013, 7:29

    New pit, media centre, VIP, Race control and podium….. Anything that will actually benefit the paying fan??

    bit like silverstone, the new pit looks fancy but the rest of it is still bit of a mess. For a £26 ticket at brands for the superbikes you get lovely grass banks with great views for £150 at silverstone you get a few meters of gravel and dust….

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 12th July 2013, 9:11

      I’d say the teams will get something out of a new pit building. The current pits are small and fairly shabby. The same thing happened at Silverstone.

      The fans will get something out of a new media centre, too as it means more coverage will be possible.

      • BasCB (@bascb) said on 12th July 2013, 9:20

        you mean, like the silverstone media centre, where the media do not even have a chance to see out at the track because it has no windows?

      • Funkyf1 (@funkyf1) said on 12th July 2013, 11:23

        @prisoner-monkeys its seems you misread the statement/question. It states that a person paying large amounts of money to actually go to the track, gets little in return. In case you haven’t noticed “The same thing happened at Silverstone” concept didn’t work, fans have been dissapointed at the track lack of “people orientated” upgrades/facilities since the re-investment. If F1 wants to focus itself towards a TV only audience it’s heading in the right direction.

        • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 12th July 2013, 12:52

          @funkyf1 – And you seem to be under the mistaken belief that if an upgrade doesn’t benefit the people paying money for tickets, then it’s obviously a bad idea.

          • Funkyf1 (@funkyf1) said on 13th July 2013, 9:11

            @prisoner-monkeys If nobody attends, it’s hardly a great spectacle is it. The tracks/organizers pay large amounts to host the event, the return on this event comes from their customers, the people who attend the event. Yes facilities do need to be upgraded, but don’t forget the general public, we are entitled to value for money. We you eventually go to GP, you might understand where I am coming from.

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 13th July 2013, 9:19

            @funkyf1 – But that assumes that there is no spectacle to begin with.

    • John H (@john-h) said on 12th July 2013, 10:28

      I think you’re being unfair. The paying fan situated in the F1 Premium Paddock Club™ will benefit from these changes. Please spare a thought for those sipping champagne in the VIP hospitality areas above the pits. These areas would also provide a decent view of the adjoining favelas, hence meaning said fans can feel even more special in a relative sense by enhancing the disparity between rich and poor.

    • Nick (@npf1) said on 12th July 2013, 10:29

      Anything that will actually benefit the paying fan?

      The race actually happening between 2016 and 2020?

      • Q85 said on 12th July 2013, 12:55

        But does the fan, the people who are paying to make this investment possible get a better weekend out of it? No as its all about making the VIP and teams a bit more comfortable(which is important, but not over the paying fan).

        So Bernie is saying put in millions so I(and my VIP guests) have a more relaxing time then you can have a race. What about the 100,000 in the stands Bernie? Bernie : who?

        • Nick (@npf1) said on 12th July 2013, 13:25

          I’d say being able to visit a GP in your country is a better thing than not being able to do so. Or than having every single team complain about the facilities year in year out.

          Don’t act like the FOM and the circuits haven’t put screens around race tracks, put more stands around (as opposed to a track like Zandvoort where getting sand in your pants is a daily phenomenon) and have improved spectator safety. F1 isn’t only about TV audiences, it isn’t only about the teams, it isn’t only about the spectators. It’s a balancing game and if Bernie really didn’t care about spectators and the message they send, we’d still have a Turkish Grand Prix.

          • q85 said on 12th July 2013, 21:52

            Totally missing the point. You seem to think its ok to have a dump of a track while paddock is shiny with the smell of fresh paint.

            Its not asking for much to have to spectator error thats larger than a few feet wide for £150

            As for the screens. At becketts half of the view is blocked by a Rolex sign that isnt even visible on the TV….and a few other corners them same type of signs go 3 foot above the tyres making it impossible to see the track from the official general admission errors.

            Is that right? No not for the money WE put in. Yes you want a race but with out us fans they dont have a race anyway

          • q85 said on 12th July 2013, 21:54

            area*

          • q85 said on 12th July 2013, 21:56

            also it doesnt need stands. Just grass as at Brands Hatch. Silverstone is a few feet of gravel is some places then a massive drop behind it. They could easily get 30,000 more in with a bit of mud moving and seeds lol (ok bit more lol)

          • Nick (@npf1) said on 13th July 2013, 12:57

            Just because they haven’t announced anything, doesn’t mean it’s not going to happen. You seem to think the rich are in a conspiracy to stiff it to the middle class.

            Like you said, without fans there will be no race. Dissatisfied with the track’s decisions? Don’t give them your money: action speak louder than words.

          • Nick (@npf1) said on 13th July 2013, 12:59

            I’d really enjoy an edit button on the comment section.

            I’m very sure Silverstone is looking inward as to figure out why attendance was down on last year. Even if they end up blaming Vettel again, that can’t last and they will have to figure out how to attract fans to the track.

  15. Maciek (@maciek) said on 12th July 2013, 13:22

    Thank you for that COTD @Colossal-Squid. Been saying it for a long time: if drivers had less assistance and had to rely more on their own instincts, we would see far more interesting – because more unpredictable – races. You can’t roll back time, but to me it’s as plain as day that if drivers made more of their own decisions one of the outcomes would be that that we (or at least I) would find sustained levels of on-track success that much more admirable.

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 12th July 2013, 15:20

      exactly @maciek, comment well made @colossal-squid – Lets have these top drivers drive their cars, instead of getting the impression they are just the radio controlled multifunctional CPU/robot operating the controls!

      That would get rid of all complaint about hearing drivers saving fuel/tyres/their teammates/gearboxes and whatnot, and let them show their skill in reading the signals the car gives them for themselves and do their best job at it.

      • Colossal Squid (@colossal-squid) said on 14th July 2013, 0:57

        Thank you very much @maciek and @bascb ! I agree that having a less monitored or instructed field of drivers would make things far more interesting, and help to reward an intelligent driver, in tune with their car.
        It’ll never happen though, and with such fragile tyres these days and coupled with all the extras being put into the cars next year (more powerful KERS, turbos ect.) the micro-management will only continue! All in all I enjoy listening to team radio, but this kind of constant direction of a driver is a large downside.

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