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. Bigasshammm said on 29th November 2013, 15:14

    Why not bring back refueling? Refueling mid race brought on multiple different strategies. Plus if they’re worried about teams running out of fuel or saving fuel next year that’s a big joke. With refueling there’s almost always 2 stops during the race. It would take the pressure off the tire degradation and would also slow the pit stops down. They can scream safety safety safety but almost every other racing has refueling and they work just fine. They could even implement something like endurance racing where no work can be done to the car until refueling was complete.

    Mandatory two stops with the current rules is blatant stupidity and will dumb down the racing even further.

    • Why not bring back refueling? Refueling

      Because refueling killed the racing.

      From race #1 of refueling been allowed (Brazil 1994) the number of on-track overtakes plummeted, As soon as refueling was banned in 2012 the level of on-track overtaking shot back to pre-94 levels.

      Refueling may well have allowed for tons of strategy, But those strategy options killed the racing. There was nothing worse than enjoying the prospect of a good scrap for position only for refueling strategy to completely kill it & result in a boring pass via the pit stops.

      The on-track racing should be the most important & exciting part of the race, not fuel strategy & pit stops as was the case from 94-09 under the awful refueing era.

      • ScuderiaFerrariMarlboro27 said on 30th November 2013, 3:10

        Pop the rear wing open and glide past on the longest straight. Thats real “racing”

  2. Andreas said on 29th November 2013, 15:16

    DTM had mandatory pit stops this year, and it actually made for some quite interesting racing. But in F1, the “doctoring” of the racing that’s been going on seems to only have led to less actual racing (lap times that’s 10-12 seconds off the quali pace, anyone?). Frankly, it scares me that the idea of these kinds of constructs are even entering the minds of the Strategy Group – that tells me that they have fallen for the idea that the racing itself is secondary to “the show”… It is going to kill F1 over time.

    I agree completely that the right way forward is to reduce the aero dependency – if the cars could actually follow each other closely, we wouldn’t need any other constructs like DRS and fragile tyres. Then we might even have a season where we don’t have to hear “maintain 2 second gap to save the tyres”…

  3. sumedh said on 29th November 2013, 15:20

    I don’t understand the logic of voting NO here.
    You vote NO saying it is artificial and takes away strategy element of the race.

    But then, when drivers try to do a 1 stop by conserving the tyres, you will complain saying it is the tyres are hurting the sport. (2013)

    Then, when super durable tyres are given, you will complain yet again that there is no overtaking and there is no strategy (2010).

    There is simply no pleasing some people, is there?

    Oh, before I forget, regarding the question posted in the article

    Such as how aerodynamic turbulence prevents cars from following each other closely

    SCIENCE is the answer for that. The reason this wasn’t a problem in the “classic” era of formula 1 is simply because aerodynamics wasn’t as developed as it is today.
    But now that it is developed, you cannot go back to not having aerodynamics. People have to live with this (whether they like it or not). I hope the powers to be make their decisions based on the real situation of today’s F1 cars and not based on some rose-tinted view of how F1 was in the past.

    • matt90 (@matt90) said on 29th November 2013, 18:37

      That wasn’t even a question.

    • HoHum (@hohum) said on 29th November 2013, 20:37

      I thought 2010 was a very good year.

      You can go back to not having aerodynamic dominance, reduce the size of ( or ban ) the wings.

    • Michael Brown (@) said on 30th November 2013, 1:22

      Then, when super durable tyres are given, you will complain yet again that there is no overtaking and there is no strategy (2010).

      2010 had more on track overtaking than any season with refuelling. Just because there was no overtaking in Bahrain or Abu Dhabi does not make the 2010 season boring.

      • matt90 (@matt90) said on 30th November 2013, 14:19

        I think the trouble is that there was rarely much overtaking right at the front of the grid, so although there was a spread of winners, the win itself wasn’t contested much.

  4. scuderia_fan85 (@scuderia_fan85) said on 29th November 2013, 15:20

    the FIA is slowly killing the sport and its sad they do not see that. from V8 to V6, forced two stops, must use both tire compounds. no more engine development. no race re-fueling….WOW!

  5. andae23 (@andae23) said on 29th November 2013, 15:22

    NOOOO!

    Stop over-complicating things. Just make good tyres and let drivers provide the fireworks.

  6. AndrewT (@andrewt) said on 29th November 2013, 15:28

    this sounds like way out of the context, they are reacting to a problem, instead of elliminating the problem. the problem is that almost no car potential can be exploited 100% (not even Red Bull!), because of the quickly destroyable tyres and the fuel consumption.

    a Pirelli representative stated, that manufacturing tyres that would last 10 000 kms is easy, but producing these tyres F1 today requires is a pain in the butt. now, why don’t they create those tyres that the driver cannot destroy in a few laps or behind another car? F1 is all about going green, but i don’t see where a set of tyres going into the wastebin after just a couple of laps is green… i like the idea of the 3 compounds @ogamii mentioned above, if they are well balanced.

    the other issue is the fuel consumption that would be critical next year. how about an average target number, that an engine needs to get to the checquered flag, adding 15% to it, and that’s the fuel amount you are starting with, which is controlled at the start of the race. if you have that, you are good to go, and don’t have to worry about running out just because you want to drive fast, you have a reasonable amount of movement room you can play with.

    however, these concepts are also like firefighting, the whole concept of F1 should be revised to avoid the fire.

  7. For goodness sake what a stupid idea. If you want drivers to make more pit-stops and allow for alternative strategies and make more exciting races: BRING BACK REFUELLING!!!

    I love watching the old races on Sky Sports F1 and it reminded me of how much better the racing was when we had refuelling. Cars didn’t start the race bloated with fuel and actually looked *quick*.

    Surely with next years formula being an ‘economy’ drive – it would be more efficient for the cars to run lighter? (e.g. more miles per gallon as the cars would run lighter without 100kg of fuel).

    Maybe with Refuelling, crappy Pirellis, Turobs, ERS and DRS it might actually make things interesting again…

    • PeterG said on 29th November 2013, 19:23

      it reminded me of how much better the racing was when we had refuelling.

      The racing was awful when we had refueling. It was better pre-refueling & has been better since (DRS & Pirelli’s aside)

      All refueling did was move the racing off the track & into the pits.
      Fuel strategy was decided Saturday by the strategy guys & there computer simulations & races were run according to that.
      If a driver had a poor start & ended up further back in the pack, There was no chance to recover as fuel strategy was planned around starting position & where the simulations showed you would be based on predicted race pace.

      At least since refueling was banned race strategy is more in the drivers hands, If a driver has a poor start or whatever it is possible to recover & we have seen it many times the past 4 years.

  8. matt90 (@matt90) said on 29th November 2013, 15:34

    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.

    Call me crazy, but if a tyre fails while it is still providing enough grip for teams to consider staying on them, them it is an inferior (not to mention dangerous) product. I’d have thought that ‘Tyre 101′ would be to ensure that grip runs out before the tyre explodes. In the same vein, I don’t expect to get a deadly case of alcohol poisoning from a single cider.

  9. BasCB (@bascb) said on 29th November 2013, 15:54

    Sure introduce 2 mandates pitstops one after 25-35 % of the distance, one after 60% of the race +/- 5%. That way Pireilli can just make one tyre type (save cost and need for extra testing) because there is no scope to have an advantage from alternative strategies and another advantage is that drivers won’t have to be told how to manage their tyres (or is it better to fix stops based on grid positions? making the first guy stop first, then the guy in 3rd, then the guy in 2nd and in 4th etc. to mix up the field a bit?).
    I would improve even on that, why not also look at safety and mandate that each stop takes a minimum of 5 seconds to increase safety (or go to 7-10 seconds and reduce the crew). While we are at it, it does need improving the show a bit, so we should mandate that a race winner has to do a minimum of 1 doughnut, and a maximum of 4 before coming back into parc ferme. Second and third are allowed to do up to one too.
    And couldn’t we spice up the action by having each driver have to make at least one on track passing move in front of the main grandstand (if it must be, they can first let the guy behind them past to HAVE someone to pass in the first place). A DRS pass is preferred, so as to avoid overly abundantly interesting action.

    WARNING – this comment is NOT meant to be serious.

  10. David not Coulthard (@) said on 29th November 2013, 16:04

    No, and I’d like to also see the top-10-start-on-Q3-tyres and use-both-compounds-in-the-race rule removed.

  11. yeah thats a good idea and lets also have a rule that says we will have sign boards which say how fast the driver is allowed to go and how many times he is allowd to brake during a lap. that would be real exciting racing.
    i am very close to quitting watching F1, just need a small push. may be this is it.

  12. Michael Brown (@) said on 29th November 2013, 16:07

    Please don’t make this happen. There should be three compounds available for each race. The drivers pick which ones they want and don’t have to make any pit stops, although given the tire life they probably will have to. Also, remove the 10 qualifying tire rule. Let then start on any tire they want. This will increase strategic possibilities and unpredictability.

    Or introduce the 2 stop rule. I’ll watch WEC instead.

  13. Hamilfan (@hamilfan) said on 29th November 2013, 16:15

    Pirelli , please build some better tyres or else sod off from the sport. Enough of mandatory rules.

    F1 hasn’t had a full grid for 18 years.

    @keithcollantine Well said . That is the exact problem . Lesser entries , more performance gap between top teams and backmarkers , escalating costs and tyre conservation. There are thousands of problems to be addressed the right way and not not the “DRS” artificial way .

  14. bull mello (@bullmello) said on 29th November 2013, 16:21

    Drivers should also be required to take a minimum number of drinks from their sippy cup during a race or face disqualification.
    (/extreme sarcasm)

  15. adamf184 (@adamf184) said on 29th November 2013, 16:37

    91% voting NO. I await confirmation of mandatory 2 stops rule soon then :-(

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