Should F1 drivers be forced to make two pit stops?

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Jules Bianchi, Marussia, Circuit of the Americas, 2013Formula One drivers could be required by the rules to make two pit stops per race in 2014.

F1’s Strategy Group has proposed forcing drivers to pit twice per race and limiting how long each driver can run on each type of tyre, according to a report in Autosport.

Would this be a positive change for the sport?

For

The proposed change would impose tight limits on how long each driver could run on a set of tyres for, reducing their incentive to preserve their tyres. Excessive tyre preservation has been a criticism of racing this year.

This could also have a safety benefit, as drivers would not be able to run the tyres until they are at risk of failing. At the Indian Grand Prix this year Pirelli expressed concerns over teams running the tyres for longer stints than they felt was safe.

Against

Forcing drivers to make a minimum number of pit stops could reduce the scope for variety in the racing. On several occasions this year battles for position have been created by drivers making fewer pit stops than their rivals, which will be harder to do with these restrictions.

Races which feature a single pit stop for most drivers are not necessarily viewed as boring. For example last year’s United States Grand Prix was rated as one of the best dry races of the season.

Ensuring that drivers use tyres safely would be better achieved by giving them more time to test them, which has already been arranged for next year.

I say

This proposal would further reduce the freedom drivers and teams have with their tyre strategies. But past attempts to do so by forcing them to use both tyre compounds during races (in effect, requiring one mandatory pit stop) and making the top ten qualifiers start on used tyres have not achieved this goal.

It’s not hard to see why. Genuinely exciting racing comes from the unpredictable and unexpected. Rules such as these serve only to make racing more predictable and less exciting.

I’ve watched DTM and A1 Grand Prix races with multiple mandatory tyre stops and found the inevitability of each pit stop made for unexciting, dumbed-down racing. Formula One should avoid making the same mistake by replacing genuine racing strategy with fixed-duration tyre stints.

Instead of dubious sticking-plaster solutions like this F1 needs to address the deeper problems inhibiting good racing which have been ignored for too long. Such as how aerodynamic turbulence prevents cars from following each other closely, and why F1 hasn’t had a full grid for 18 years.

You say

Do you want to see more mandatory pit stops in F1? Cast your vote below and have your say in the comments.

Should drivers be required to make two pit stops per race in 2014?

  • Yes (8%)
  • No (89%)
  • No opinion (3%)

Total Voters: 521

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169 comments on Should F1 drivers be forced to make two pit stops?

  1. PhilEReid (@philereid) said on 29th November 2013, 14:13

    I’ve long wanted the two tyre rule gone, the same with the top 10 qualifiers starting on the same tyres the qualified on. Both served to make the racing more exciting, but with the new tyres, it’s failed to do so. This would be the same for the mandatory tyre stops. It would reduce strategy, and the chances are, the cars would be more spread out due to less performing teams having the option to run for longer than others.
    The only way mandatory pits works is if the cars are equal, and therefore are already close on track. With F1, as the cars aren’t equal (although they could be close next year, being the only thing that could possibly make it work but is highly unlikely to), it’s a bad idea. It’s why it works in GP2, DTM and the like… But not for F1.

  2. raddie (@raddie) said on 29th November 2013, 14:14

    Why two, I suppose five pits per race :-)

  3. Why not no mandatory pitstop? Basically dare the teams to try finishing a race without pitstop.
    Or if they want to introduce 2 mandatory pitstops, for me, it’s better to just make a stronger tyre because the effect would be the same (more flatout racing). The fact that they think adding pitstop for a better racing tells me that they thought process is flawed. Why stop at 2? Why not 3? The more the merrier.

    • HoHum (@hohum) said on 29th November 2013, 20:23

      Right on Frans, and don’t forget the holy grail of making F1 less expensive, no pit stops equals a quarter of the tyres to build, transport and buy and less than half the pit-crew to fly, acommodate, feed and pay, big savings for the lesser teams.

    • Personally, I liked the 2005 tyre regs that required the teams to use one set in the race unless there was a “danger” element – it meant there was an element of tyre management but it wasn’t so insane as to make drivers scared to push for even a couple of laps before they fell off the cliff.

      You got a bit of wild racing towards the end of the race as those who’d pushed too hard lost some pace (but not 3 seconds a lap like you see with 2012-2013 Pirellis.)

      Still never want to see refuelling back frankly though.

  4. Osvaldas31 (@osvaldas31) said on 29th November 2013, 14:16

    Another artificiality, which will never work. We saw during the last few seasons that artificial things reduces the excitement of racing. DRS and quickly degrading tyres looked like a good idea at first and I really liked it. But eventualy it made races unexciting – last year’s Vettel’s Abu Dhabi charge from last to third wasn’t as much exciting as Raikkonen’s charge to victory in 2005 Japanese GP, because it was aided mainly by tyres and DRS and it didn’t feel as hard-worked as Raikkonen’s. So mandatory two stops would make it even more artificial, therefore dminishing excitement even more.

  5. Wasn’t the the point of getting rid of refueling to open up strategy options? Now F1 is heading back to the refueling minimum 2 stop with the option for a 3 stop. Just bring on the sprinkler system and be done with it.

    • In which case Charlie throws out the red flag until the track is as dry as a dead dingo’s donger.

      Why do Pirelli even bother making Wet tyres? Every time it rains Charlie red flags the Grand Prix and by the time things resume everyones jumping straight on to inters. F1 has become a joke

  6. crr917 (@crr917) said on 29th November 2013, 14:26

    No because 2 many pit stops

  7. verstappen (@verstappen) said on 29th November 2013, 14:27

    Yes
    BUT ONLY IF
    – rock hard tyres.
    – no mandatory pit window except not in first or last lap.
    – free compounds.
    – no start on qualifying tyres.

  8. McKenzie (@mckenzie) said on 29th November 2013, 14:33

    One of the attractions of motor sport is the unpredictability factor (I know, I know…Vettel). At the top of the grid, the cars are (generally) fairly closely matched. Strategy has often come into play, thus allowing a car to get ahead of another via a pitstop.

    If two stops become mandatory, the teams with the best car/driver combos are going to be pretty much unbeatable. Variable pit stop strategies help to reduce the advantage of best car/driver, albeit Vettel still dominated in 2013. Take away that wee bit of uncertainty though, and Vettel could be even more dominant in 2014. If next year’s Red Bull is a good car, and Riccardio turns out to be comfortable in that car, we could be facing the prospect of Red Bull 1-2s virtually every race.

    There are issues over tyre wear, granted. Enforcing a two-stop strategy isn’t the way to deal with the problem. In any case tyre management, like it or not, is part of the skill of an F1 driver. Sort out the wear issues and leave the pit stops up to the team strategists.

    At first blush, the idea of a fixed number of pit stops seems rather unappealing.

  9. Sharon H (@sharoncom) said on 29th November 2013, 14:42

    I think that if compulsory pit stops are going to be mandatory then they should stipulate that all 4 compounds must be used during a race. The 4 different sets of compounds could come out of the allocation of 6 sets for the weekend, with the other 2 sets being the prior choice of the team. The teams should be able to choose which compounds to use on a given weekend beyond the mandatory 1 of each.

  10. Baron (@baron) said on 29th November 2013, 14:53

    No to more rules, however has anyone ever thought about using Success Ballast in F1?

  11. Rahman (@arahman93) said on 29th November 2013, 14:53

    exactly, (Such as how aerodynamic turbulence prevents cars from following each other closely) That’s the biggest problem with F1 cars currently. Bring back hard durable tyres less aero sorted.

  12. Atticus (@atticus-2) said on 29th November 2013, 14:56

    Hell, no, at least we have some strategy. In the old days – well, since 1994 – it was fuel strategy with no tyre fall-off, in the turbo days we had tyre strategy dominating race strategy again, etc., we need one of them.

    Okay, okay, we’ll have very strict fuel limits next year, so fuel strat could come back as it were in the Eighties a bit, but… Ugh, well, if we want no-holds-barred push-likehell racing we could just as well ban tyre change again a la 2005 and increase fuel limit and we’re done.

  13. Mike Dee (@mike-dee) said on 29th November 2013, 14:57

    NOOOOOO!

    I would not like a season where drivers generally only stops once at all or virtually all races. There is no problem if it happens at some races (but why then not allow zero stops?).

    Besides the reasons many others mentioned above, part of the excitement is often whether a driver will still need to make a second pit stop or whether he can make it to the end. With mandatory pit stops, this excitement would be gone.

  14. Aren’t there enough things changing for 2014 already? Surely we should wait and see how good the racing is with turbo engines, increased KERS etc. before introducing another rule to try to fix a problem that may no longer exist!

    • How good could it possibly be? There’s 3 engine manufacturers in the sport. Even V8 supercars (20 years of Holden vs Ford cause the Aussies couldnt stand being romped by Godzilla in their own touring car championship) has more engine makes than F1 now

  15. Steven (@steevkay) said on 29th November 2013, 15:14

    Completely against this; I remember Sauber in 2012 where they would place a lot higher in the race because of their ability to run 1-stop races compared to other teams.

    I would actually prefer if teams had to choose a tyre compound ahead of the race, i.e. after FP1/FP2 and restrictions on running 2 compounds lifted. No more of this tyre-nursing nonsense, let the teams pick what works best and let them drive the hell out of the tyres.

    They have the mandatory system in DTM and more often than not, the results are very predictable. There are changes that need to be made to F1, but this is not one of them.

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