Should drivers be forced to pit? (Poll)

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Drivers could be forced to pit twice per race in 2010

Rumours continue to grow that a late change to the 2010 F1 rules will force drivers to make at least two pit stops per race.

The plan has received a largely negative reaction on F1 Fanatic so far, so let’s put it to the vote and find out what most fans think of it:

Should the F1 rules force drivers to make pit stops?

  • Yes, three or more per race (1%)
  • Yes, two per race (4%)
  • Yes, one per race* (9%)
  • No, they should be able to choose if they pit (86%)

Total Voters: 2,794

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*This has effectively been the rule for the last three years.

Why the change?

For the last three years, F1 drivers have been required to use the two different types of Bridgestone tyre at least once per race in dry conditions – which has effectively meant they’re been forced to pit at least once per race.

The FIA has told its Sporting Working Group to come up with ways of “improving the show” in 2010. With in-race refuelling being banned this year one of the changes being considered would require drivers to pit twice per race.

It’s hard to see why anyone thinks mandatory pit stops would be a good idea.

The problem with mandatory pit stops

One of the ways the refuelling ban will make racing better in 2010 is that drivers will now have more flexible strategy options.

Forcing them to pit twice per race will drastically reduce those options. Instead of having a variety of drivers trying to complete the race with anything between no and three pit stops, everyone will know they have to stop twice.

Races will instead hinge on who can get their pit stops out of the way quickest. An early safety car period will result in drivers flocking to the pits to get one of their mandatory tyre changes out of the way.

Making it even worse: pit stop windows

We know this because we’ve seen exactly the same thing happen in other championships where mandatory pit stops have been introduced, like A1 Grand Prix and DTM.

Having found that mandatory pit stops did little to spice up the racing those series reacted by introducing another artificial device – pit stop windows. This meant that drivers not only had to pit twice per race but could only make their stops during two specific periods of the race (usually around the one-third and two-thirds distances).

This just served to make the racing even more prescribed, even less varied and consequently, less entertaining.

Simpler is better

Last year the F1 teams’ association surveyed fans on their opinions of the sport. One of their key findings was:

F1 isn’t broken, so beware ‘over-fixing’ it.
Formula One Teams Association survey findings

That applies perfectly here. Forcing drivers to pit would add an unnecessary level of complexity to F1 without making it more exciting.

Simpler rules make for a better show. Mandatory pit stops and pit stop windows are over-complicated ideas which come out of the same box that held aggregate qualifying and fuel credits – and they will be just as unpopular and unsuccessful.

Over to you

That’s my opinion – now I want to hear yours. Do you think a ‘mandatory pit stops’ rules should be introduced? Vote above and have your say in the comments below.

Pit stops and rules changes

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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112 comments on “Should drivers be forced to pit? (Poll)”

  1. What I would like to see is more overtaking on the track instead of in the pitlane and the FIA should put all effords into that.

    1. Passing on track is something they’ve been trying to throw money at and fix for years.

      Two required pit stops creates the illusion of passing and doesn’t require ridiculous funds. It also promotes in-pit action for the luxury boxes that float above them at many tracks.

      I’ve pretty much resigned myself to the fact that a pair of required stops is going to happen.

  2. I think we can all guess the result of this one! If only anyone would listen and common sense would prevail.

    Having mandatory pit stops decreases the amount of variables in an F1 race – and hence the potential for entertaining races that can surprise and delight. It doesn’t take a genius to figure this out….. arrrrrggghhh!!!

  3. No.

    Some of the most nail-biting races in my memory involved drivers and / or teams making clever, surprising, or last ditch pit stop decisions to turn the tide in a race.

    Why oh why would we cut driver and team options to try and add another level of control to the flow of the race. That flies in the face of the human side of racing, and does indeed tend to suggest the powers that be would prefer a predictable show to sell to their target demographic – which seems less and less to be true racing fans.

  4. Christ sake, that fact that they keep on introducing these ideas, tells me that there is something fundamentally wrong with F1 racing.

    Lets just let the 2010 season play out and see what happens with this no re-fuelling lark, and review options afterwards.

    1. There is nothing wrong with the racing, it’s the management that has fundamentally wrong it…

      I agree, leave it alone. Regulate the cars, not the racing.

  5. Absolutely ridiculous that this is being considered. Will just mean that everyone will have the same strategy. Start with a long stint on hards. Followed by two short ones on soft. Surely the whole point is bring into the mix the cars that may not be that quick but are kind on their tyres. Forcing cars that are kind to theirs tyres to pit unnecessarily defeats the whole point of the changing the refuelling rules.

    1. This will play into the hands of drivers who are hard on their rubber. Like Hamilton over Button for example.

      1. Agree, however we also have to bear in mind safety – We have seen consequencies in the past with running on damaged tyres – But again the whole idea is down to drivers and preservation of the tyres. To be forced to take pit stops will inevitably change the race strategy and again make races predicatble. Lets race and see what happens

  6. No. Never. Who can forget the two Leyton House cars ‘no stopping’ at the 1990 French GP and almost winning? And then there’s the classic 1987 British GP, which needs no explanation. Such dramatic races would not have happened if all the drivers had to stop.

    If mandatory pit stops are introduced, I’ll be hugely disappointed. It would effectively nullify all of the benefits of not having to refuel in terms of strategy variety and unpredictablity.

    1. Absolutely right Dan. The early 1990’s was great for this, I also remember Alesandro Nanini nearly getting the better of Senna at the German grand prix of that year too. By allow drivers to decide if they want to stop at all brings greater variance in results and allows drivers to display their skills in different ways. Managing a set of tyres for a whole race takes supreme skill, to be able to go fast enough to manage them to the end. If we have this prescribed pit stop window it will make everyone drive the same way and no one will be able to take advantage. It also puts more emphasis on the pit crews to turn the cars around faster, meaning a driver can blame his crew for losing a race rather than down to his own skill.

      I reckon just let them race however they want. The FIA should enforce that the hard tyre can do at least the race distance.

      I also loved the days when drivers would also mix compounds, it showed real intelligence, eg having hard compound on the right hand side and soft on the left!

  7. I really hope they don’t enforce this option, If they do I can only see it being enforced for commercial purposes to fit with Bridgestones contract and to line the pockets of CVC.

    I don’t think over-fixing is the issue, its more a case of the rights holders trying to bleed out every penny they can. They are holding the sport on a knife edge and they need to decide if they want a to wring every penny they can now, but loose viewers and in the long term sponsorship money. Or they can take less now, help improve the show and accessability for the public, which should in turn increase revenues, more people seeing the show should surley result in higher prices for a sponsor slot / ad?

  8. Jonesracing82
    18th January 2010, 10:28

    i recall Champcar had pit windows and TC introduced, and got rid of them after 1 yr as they did nothing to enhance the show!
    having pit windows etc will just kill off all advantages of the refuelling ban

  9. Absolutely not. This would undo the perceived benefits of the refuelling ban and it’s quite predictable that the end result – the race – will be far less exciting and therefore not an ‘improved show.’ Don’t be stupid FIA, don’t do it!

  10. I’m surprised it’s as low as 88% ‘no’ so far…

    I think tyre stops will add to the spectacle way more than the old refuelling ones did. The 3-second ones the teams are promising should be worth seeing.

    But the tyres will wear out anyway (unless they make them much much harder) and encourage one or two-stop races, why do we need silly rules about it? Non-stop races would be a rare treat as they were before (I’d add Thierry Boutsen’s win in Hungary to DanThorn’s list.)

    Is Bridgestone behind this move, or maybe FIA trying to drive up the bids to succeed them as tyre supplier?

    What’s the penalty, by the way, if you don’t do enough stops in a race – just a time penalty? Is there a loophole…

  11. I am very against the mandatory pit stop rule. As Keith noted it would dramatically reduce the drivers options and effectively negate many of the benefits of the refuelling ban.

  12. I believe the rational behind mandatory pit stops is due to the use-two-bridgestone-tyre-compounds rule. If pit-stops werent compulsory, everyone would probably be using the same tyre strategy.

    1. How do you know that? We saw last year certain cars getting the soft tyres to work when all the other teams thought they wouldnt. Whats more likely is the same tyre strategy id you force them all to make 2 stops.

      Worst idea ive heard for ages and we have a lot to choose from in F1 sadly! If its taken up I want to know who exactly is in this SWG. Name and shame the fools!!!!

  13. I’d rather have short-cuts and medals than two mandatory stops.

  14. Absolutely they shouldn’t!!!
    Stop fixing it, the more it is simple the better it is.
    Just flat out and drive!!!

  15. Trying to control driver decisions isn’t how we want it. If the driver wants to continue on a worn set of tyres, trying to gain some sort of track decision, then allow them, because this is what we want to see, the driver making this decision.
    I want it so that the drivers come in when they feel neccessary to allow for tyre changes, and if they want to stay out, caught up in a battle, trying to hold onto that last point paying position, with ever wearing tyres causing them to lose grip and fall of the track, now that’s my kind of racing.

  16. The constant rule tinkering and politics is precisely what is driving casual fans away, not a problem with ‘the show.’ How is the casual fan supposed to keep up with the rule changes from one season to the next. We already have a new points system that will take even F1 fanatics a season to get used to, over the past 5 yrs we’ve had everything from no tyre changes to no fuel stops with 3 or 4 different qualifying system. We’ve had a budget cap that wasnt, a ‘gold medals’ system that wasn’t and Bernie coming up with an insane idea on shortcuts which will never happen in a game of politics to get a different rule change.

    The rules need to stay consistant, and the fewer of them the better. Rule changes shouldn’t be there to improve ‘the show’ we don’t eliminate the offside rule in football to try and create more goals, or increase the value of a 6 in cricket to encourage more boundaries. If F1 wants to appeal to a wider audience the rules should be simplified not made more complicated, and it should be run like a sport not a business/political playground.

    1. Well said!

      1. Lol very good point!

  17. Pit when drivers need to. It’s about tyre management, SIMPLE.

  18. Too many parameters are being changed at once here! If we are going to get rid of refuelling, then lets see how that works first instead of adding a whole load of other new rules at the same time. Only then will we be able to tell if we need mandatory pitstops or not. I personally believe total freedom would be the best way to go. Make as many, or as few pitstops as you like (maybe even none)! Save your softs for qualifying and do the race without stopping on hard tyres? Or maybe go for a few stops on the softer tyres and try and sprint your way through the race (probably Hamilton’s preferred option as his tyre management skills are quite poor, see Turkey).

    Let the strategists have free roam I say!

  19. Dont make even a single pit stop mandatory. Let Bridgstone provide 2 tyre compounds. Now the choice of the tyre depends on the driver, the car and the weather(i m only talking about dry weather). For ex, If the car works better on hard tyres as in the case of Lewis, let him run the whole race on HARDs.
    And if the car works better on SOFTs as in case of Jenson
    ( he always struggles to generate heat in his tyres), let him run on softs. Let driver decide

  20. NO! We want a race, not a procession…

  21. HounslowBusGarage
    18th January 2010, 11:14

    I’m something of a DTM fan, and I have to say that introducing mandatory stops into that class of racing has been a disaster. I never did understand the reasoning for DTM to do so, as there wasn’t the compulsion to use different grades of tyre either.
    What would contstitute a ‘mandatory’ pit stop? As there would be no refuelling, a car would only come in to change tyres. But let’s pretend that it’s a wet race on a low-speed circuit and one particular driver doesn’t want to change tyres on his second ‘mandatory’ pit-stop. Would he just be able to drive straight through? Or would the car actually have to come to a stop and have a sticker removed or switch a light on to show that he’d stopped?
    Over regulation to the point of idiocy.

  22. wow a while ago i was fretting over the idea of getting points for pole and fastest lap but after thinking more about this issue i dont even care about the points thing anymore.
    As long as there are no mandatory pit stops i will be happy

  23. how about if a driver doesnt want to stop then thats ok but if he does then he needs to use both compounds.
    i think that would be best and everyone would be happy

  24. F1 should be the pinnacle of all motorsport and known for its innovation and creativeness. If pitstops are compulsory it’s just another rule making racing artifical, controlling freedom and stopping teams really gambling or being creative with strategies. It’s just bringing everyone down and who copes best or has the less disadvantage with pitstops wins and that’s a pretty cynical and negative way to have a race.

  25. Ever since mandatory pit stops were introduced I have been fed up with the majority of drivers just hanging around waiting for the car in front to pit so that they could leapfrog them. Schumacher and Raikonen were masters of it. It might have been successful for them but it’s made for many, many boring races. What I want to see it overtaking on the track, or at least battles to try to overtake on the track. But with compulsory pit stops all we get, time after time, is a couple of half hearted attempts to overtake, which fail for what ever reason, then the pursuing driver just sits back and waits for the pit stop. That doesn’t and never has made for entertaining racing.

    Pit stops are an amusing novelty for people new to the sport, but something which just adds confusion and frustration as people become more interested.

    Please, please, please NO COMPULSORY PITSTOPS!

  26. Are you “No” voters thinking that drivers will have to pit for tyres anyway? In which case what’s the problem with it being mandatory? Allowing them not to pit just means they can work their strategy towards that goal and when they achieve it we end up with a parade.

    This isn’t GP2, there is no reverse grid.
    The cars are closer than ever, on track overtaking isn’t going to suddenly become more possible than it was before. I’d say quite the opposite. Without cars running varying fuel weights and fresher tyres I would expect on track overtaking to fall not rise.

    Races without a single position change the entire race are perfectly possible if qualifying goes without a hitch and no one pits.

    1. Regards the “mega exciting” tyre management a lot are mentioning.
      Do you really want to watch drivers not really pushing for two thirds of the race just so they can conserve their tyres?

      If you got your “No” vote through, I would drive the fastest car to pole, put on hard tyres, hold the entire field up and just cruise to the end.
      If you think they will stop anyway then there shouldn’t be a problem with it being mandatory!

      1. “Are you “No” voters thinking that drivers will have to pit for tyres anyway? In which case what’s the problem with it being mandatory? Allowing them not to pit just means they can work their strategy towards that goal and when they achieve it we end up with a parade.”

        I might agree with that if there was a tyre war, but we have a control tyre, remember. Bridgestone can make tyres marginal enough that if handled well, they can last the whole race, but can also go a lot quicker if stops are made.

        And you would also see that we had a lot of good racing when we had no forced pitstops in the late 80s and early 90s…

        “Regards the “mega exciting” tyre management a lot are mentioning.
        Do you really want to watch drivers not really pushing for two thirds of the race just so they can conserve their tyres?”

        Not really pushing? Let’s go back to the late 80s/early 90s example. Senna, Prost, Mansell, and co were hardly cruising during the middle of the race, were they?

        “If you got your “No” vote through, I would drive the fastest car to pole, put on hard tyres, hold the entire field up and just cruise to the end.

        If you think they will stop anyway then there shouldn’t be a problem with it being mandatory!”

        Let’s go to a more recent example: Monaco 2005. The Renaults tried running hard tyres to the end. Was it possible? No – the tyres just over-grained and they fell like rocks. In fact, we saw some of the craziest overtaking in Monaco for YEARS during those laps. And we had a tyre war then, so Michelin was pushing like heck to make the most optimum tyres possible – which won’t be the case now.

        But why force them to stop? If they think they can handle it, let them try it. It shouldn’t be for us to say if they need to stop or not.

        1. “I might agree with that if there was a tyre war, but we have a control tyre, remember. Bridgestone can make tyres marginal enough that if handled well, they can last the whole race, but can also go a lot quicker if stops are made.”

          I think at some circuits everyone or most will manage the tyre to last. They will all do the same thing and it will be a procession.

          “And you would also see that we had a lot of good racing when we had no forced pitstops in the late 80s and early 90s”

          I first got into F1 in 91 and know what you are referring to but I think the nature of F1 is too different. The teams are too close in terms of car and profficiency and the circuits some would say are worse than ever for overtaking.

          “Not really pushing? Let’s go back to the late 80s/early 90s example. Senna, Prost, Mansell, and co were hardly cruising during the middle of the race, were they?”

          No but again I think times have changed too much and we won’t be seeing much overtaking, just one driver holding up another for longer. Like you said some drivers will be able to make a tyre last the entire race and I think that “some” will turn into “most” on certain circuits.

          “Let’s go to a more recent example: Monaco 2005. The Renaults tried running hard tyres to the end. Was it possible? No – the tyres just over-grained and they fell like rocks. In fact, we saw some of the craziest overtaking in Monaco for YEARS during those laps. And we had a tyre war then, so Michelin was pushing like heck to make the most optimum tyres possible – which won’t be the case now.”

          On the circuits they can make their tyres last they will do and there won’t be any falling off and overtaking either at all or until the very end of the race.
          I really don’t want to sit through 2 thirds of a race with nothing going on.

          I see where your points are coming from, it’s obvious we have different visions of what racing would be like and no way of knowing which is right.

          Double Decker diffusers being banned won’t even register an improvement in overtaking in my opinion let alone make a big difference. On the current path and in the current situation I think pit stops are needed to make things more interesting. To me removing them would add very little but potentially take a lot of unpredictability and interest away.

          I appreciate I am in the minority on this site. Only time will tell how the spectacle of F1 racing changes.

          1. “If you think they will stop anyway then there shouldn’t be a problem with it being mandatory!”

            The same goes for the reverse of your argument. You want a mandatory stop but if they are going to probably stop anyway why make it mandatory. You get your way as they will make stops and the other 88% get their way as there is a possibility’s of some other strategies such as a none stop

          2. @GQsm I actually voted for one mandatory pit stop, which they will probably do anyway because I think the cars still rely heavily on strategies.. I’m not against them not stopping at all, specially if it’s the teams wisest strategy plan, but are the cars ready for that?

            I wouldn’t want to see all the teams slowly evolve to mastering one favored strategy of not stopping at all. The tyre makers will also adjust and provide tyres that are more suitable, no more high grip softs..

            @Sam O nice breakdown but I can’t see why would they risk not stopping at all and losing it at the end because the tyres have no grip, stopping once and then either sticking to the same compound or switching to the other seems to make more sense..

            Btw, what is the rule for 2010 on using both compounds, is it still mandatory? And are Bridgestone still the manufacturers?

            Of course more than 1 compulsory pit stop is beyond me, it would be nothing but a waste of racing. The point of a pit stop is to provide the driver with a more reliable and faster car. If they are able to survive with no pit stops then bravo, but I think the pit stops have benefits and add suspense with all the different possible strategies..

  27. making them pit twice would be a stupid idea because then the drivers wouldn’t have to preserve there tyres as much as if they decided to only make 1 or no stops and for me at least that is one of the interesting things about the refulling ban. Aspecially with button and hamilton because hamilton is the quicker driver but buttons smoother style might be kinder to tyres and level the playing field a bit.

  28. Same rules as MotoGP. Full tank of gas and race. How many times have we seen in MotoGP wear a riders tires are going off at the end of a race with following riders catching and passing within the last 5 laps . That’s what we want to see in F1

    1. Its Hammer time
      18th January 2010, 17:11

      Amongst all this inane wobbling on this thread someone has hit the nail square on the head. It’s a race, not chess. Cut the rules back and LETS RACE. Lorenzo (Hamilton) vs Rossi (schumacher) vs Pedrosa (Alonso)

  29. What is the point!? I want to see some people stay on the same tyres the whole race, only for some one to risk pitting for tyres and catch them in the closing laps.

    That’s what I was most looking forward to in 2010 :(

    And pit stop windows!! WHAT!!!

  30. This idea is horrible and shows that the teams are not willing to try anything new.
    I voted for no mandatory pit stops, but I’d be fine as well with the rule that they have to run both tires.

    I’ve rarely seen a poll on this site which had such a clear result. Keith, do you have any chance of sending this to someone connected to the SWG to prevent them from making a huge mistake?

    1. Perhaps this belies a certain… lack of faith in the OWG to create a proper overtaking solution. Are they afraid that the cars really can’t overtake?

      1. Plenty of people think the OWG changes last year were scuppered by the legalisation of double-diffusers.

        Adrian Newey doesn’t, of course (article: Adrian Newey says banning double diffusers won’t help overtaking), but even if you don’t agree with him I think he’s right when he says the OWG’s approach was correct and piecemeal fiddling with the rules is not the way to run a sport.

  31. Mandatory pit stops would especially be detrimental to drivers like Jenson Button, who I’m sure could do a race on one or no stops!

    More aggresive drivers like Hamilton probably won’t be affected as much.

    I think they should leave it alone. As these strengths/weaknesses will naturally define pace/number of stops over a race.

  32. I suppose you do need Mickey Mouse rules for the new Mickey Mouse tracks

  33. I believe teams should be allowed to choose if and when they want to make pit stops for both tyres and fuel. If a team wants to go the whole race on one fuel load, and just pit for tyres, then they should be able to do that. If a team wants to spend the whole race on a super-hard tyre, and pit 3 times for fuel, then so be it.

    Some might develop a longer car with a 100% fuel tank, and only stop for tyres. Others could create a car with a maximum of 50% capasity and choose to pit for fuel at least once a race, and tyres if they wish to.

    That would create the most flexibility for the teams and drivers, without forcing anyone into mandatory pitstops or windows, or having to use a silly green striped tyre once during the race.

    1. The only problem is that cars with smaller fuel tanks will easily have an advantage in speed over those who are fuelled for the whole race, despite having to stop an extra 10 seconds to put their fuel in.

      Let’s consider the numbers: estimates say the difference between lap times at the start and end of the race could be about 5 seconds. So if a car has 50% of the fuel onboard compared to another, they would be 2.5 seconds a lap faster every lap, more than enough to cover the deficit of a pit stop.

      However, it’s an intriguing idea, and perhaps a better margin of leeway could be introduced to give choice? If, as Dominic Harlow, chief engineer at Force India suggests, 5kg fuel could equal 10 seconds in the race, and a stop for fuel and tyres takes about 30 seconds, so perhaps there could be a leeway of 15kgs of fuel. The only problem with this it’s a stupidly small amount of fuel to bother doing so, especially as the main reason for banning re-fuelling was cost-cutting (which goes some way in explaining why they want to bring in mandatory pit stops, which would nullify the benefits to racing the ban will bring).

    2. Do you mean that stop can only be made for fuel OR tyres? Because otherwise it’s just like it has been in recent years apart from two-compound rule. Anyway, fastest way to drive the race is stop for fuel and tyres, probably two times.

  34. Another no to mandatory stops.

    They’re going to stop anyway, so just let them have the maximum amount of freedom to determine when and how many times.

    We all want to see if someone can do a 0 or 1 stopper on hards and beat someone who does 2 or 3 on softs.

  35. What I would like to see is more overtaking on the track instead of in the pitlane and the FIA should put all effords into that.

    Oh, yeah, that about covers it. Unfortunately, it appears that FiA has forgotten that it’s supposed to be about the racing, and not about the show.

    That flies in the face of the human side of racing, and does indeed tend to suggest the powers that be would prefer a predictable show to sell to their target demographic – which seems less and less to be true racing fans.

    Yes. See paragraph above.

    I just don’t understand Fia at all these days. Rather than let teams innovate, allow them to really race, they continually micro-manage and make more rules in a sport where I thought there was no more room left for rules–referring here to the rule covering the placement of the champagne bottles on the podium, and the like.

    I’ve said for a long time the more rules there are, the less racing there is. I have continually advocated LESS rules, less restrictions, and the teams again being given freedom to innovate. Competition bulds fast-and safe-racecars, and provides good racing. The way things are, might as well forget F1 and just watch GP2. At least THEY can overtake. I don’t want a spec series, I want what F1 used to be…truly THE PINNACLE of motorsport!

    OK, sorry, rant over. Making two pitstops mandatory very simply defeats the stated purpose of banning in-race refueling, which supposedly was to make the show better. You will still have two stops, just like a two-stop fuel strategy, with drivers crusing behind waiting to leapfrog when the other driver in the pits. No change, in the end, in the show. What in the WORLD can FiA be thinking of ???

  36. there used to be a statement about the influence of human and technical factors to the performance of an F1 driver.

    a few decades ago it was 50% driver + 50% car.

    from the 1990s, as the technique became more advanced, it turned out to be 30% driver + 70% car.

    but recently it seems like 10% driver + 40% car + 50% rules that try to elliminate the effects of the previous 2…

    imagine this on a football match: “and soon the defending period for Manchester United will be over, attacking will be allowed for the next 5 minutes! however, strikes are only allowed from inside the penality area…”

    1. lmao! You’re not even exagerrating! That is the level of crap FIA puts into F1!

  37. If the FIA wants to force pit stops, I’d prefer it to be through making tyres that performed better but were used up quicker, rather than taking yet another element of control away from the competitors. In fact, forcing pit stops in the first place is an idea of limited attractiveness.

    By removing the element of choice on pit stops by force, the FIA makes it easier for people who can’t preserve their tyres. It doesn’t make overtaking any more tempting; in fact, it’s the opposite because people can and will wait for their compulsory pit stop sequences to play out. Predictability is decreased because there are so few plans that can be made to work if swathes of strategies are blocked. It also clashes with the environmental awareness and cost-cutting the FIA is trying to promote because consumables usage increases.

    Sometimes you get the impression that the FIA is staffed with frustrated racers who prefer to be competitors even though they’re supposed to be organising and regulating the sport. I just feel like quoting from Dune, “Highly organised research is guaranteed to produce nothing new”. Forcing research into race strategies, or car design, or anything else down one or a very few narrowly-trammelled lines simply produces expensive, inefficient, non-innovate competition. We’ve had several years of that now; we want a change.

  38. It seems that some teams aren’t prepared to let their drivers do too much thinking for themselves.

    Making two stops mandatory will just be like any other time we’ve had refuelling, with the guys on the pit wall calling the shots and the ever obedient driver doing what he’s told rather than what ‘he’ feels or thinks is right.

  39. Drivers should defiantly not be forced to pit at all.

    I would really like someone from The FIA or FOTA to say why there are even considering this as I can see no positives to the idea at all. The only thing they should be doing is getting rid of the rule whereby drivers have to use both compounds of tyre during the race so drivers are not forced to pit unless they choose to.

    The reason drivers have to use both compounds of tyre is usually put down to Bridgestone wanting to make sure they get enough exposure now they are the sole supplier, was this the official reason The FIA gave when the rule was introduced or did they try to justify it in with another reason?

    Compulsorily pit stops cancel out most of the benefits of no refuelling, it unnecessarily complicates F1 when surveys show that people prefer things kept simply with no gimmicks, and when it has been used in other Championships it hasn’t worked to ‘improve the show’ there either.

    The only thing that is surprising about the poll results at the moment is that only 89% have voted no.

  40. Why was the mandatory multiple tyre-compound rule introduced in the first place – I mean what were the reasons for that?

    I guess it was to “spice things up”… The FIA has been (and looks like it very well still may be under Jean Todd) caught in some weird self-perpetuating bureaucratic dynamic – like any other over-regulating body, I think that subconsciously they justify their own jobs for themselves by coming up with new rules for people to figure out; if they didn’t, what would be the point of their jobs? By the way, does anyone know how many people are on the FIA council, how many participate in the final decision-making, who they are, but most of all – what are their salaries like?

    1. Bridgestone’s suggestion.

      They wanted the benefit of being sole tyre supplier, but with no tyre war realised noone would talk about the black round things unless they failed, pretty much, so the must use option/prime thing was their idea.

      1. Thanks for the info, Robert McKay. What a sad comment on the state of the sport, really.

  41. wow I don’t think there’s ever been so much agreement on this site about anything. 90% opposed to it in the poll and all but one or two comments are against it. We’re all saying the same thing, if only the fans were listened to…

  42. I would like to draw peoples attention to the fact that currently only the SWG are considering mandatory stops and not the FIA. All will become clear (or not) at the end of this month. But you just have to hope that some individuals in the teams or the FIA actually bother to look at F1 forums.

    1. I think there’s enough evidence to suggest they do not unfortunately!


  43. If I recall correctly, the original reasoning behind the 2-compounds rule was so that people would still talk about tyres with only 1 supplier.

    Seems to me that people are more likely to talk about tyres (in an interesting way at least) if the drivers are free to choose how many stops to make and whether to use both compounds or just 1, as you will have different drivers running different strategies which will revolve around their tyre choice.

  44. keith you should be the fan’s spokesperson to FOTA or even the FIA! I’m sure they’d listen. after all this must be the biggest F1 fanbase on the web.

    1. I’ll second that. Let’s organize an e-mail campaign to FiA, asking for a Fanbase Liason, and nominating Keith.

      What do you think folks?

      1. Well, I don’t know if this is at all realistic, but I’ll third it anyways.

  45. I want to see a driver that has not pitted being chased down by 1 or 2 seconds a lap by a driver who has pitted twice or three times and having to battle for the win in the last lap. If this rule makes it through, that vision will be dead.

  46. I would not mind 1 pit stop as a rule, but not forcing more than 1.

    However, I have tickets across from the pits this year, so if they force cars to pit more, I just get to see a little more action!

    1. Isn’t it better to see the cars out on the track rather than in the pits?

      And the problem with the one stop rule is that an awful lot of drivers are going to pit at around the same time. You might get to see more than you bargained for!

      1. I agree it’s better to see them on track, but the last time I had tickets across the from the pits the interesting things I saw were the practice sessions and pre/post race. For the race the cars just whip by (however my seats were not the best since they drove close to the wall, which meant I didn’t even see much of the car as it did whip by)

        I usually get tickets at a corner that has some overtaking opportunities, when I booked my seats this year I wasn’t thinking about the refueling ban.

  47. Could Bridgestone be behind this idea, maybe they foresee problems with their tyres lasting if drivers decide to make only one very late stop to switch to the other compound?

    Or does the FIA want to keep the three quick sprints to the chequered flag that making 2 stops mandatory would result in?

  48. There’s absolutely no reason for a rule like this, all they need to do is design the tires so that they dont last a whole race distance and let the teams decide how best to deal with it.

  49. The reason I voted for 1 mandatory stop is that I’m worried to see pit stops go altogether. Due to the no refuelling rule multiple stoppers lose the weight advantage they used to have and the tyres themselves might not make the extra stops profitable. Refuelling or not, it’s still about 20 seconds and a major screwup factor.

    I’d be okay with no mandatory stops if it took A LOT of skill to pull it off, however I’m afraid that Bridgestone would err on the side of caution and make it relatively painless to race with just one set of tyres.

  50. its means its strategic again!

    stop ******* about and just let them race!

    clean racing, heavy fueled.

    will they go all out to get past him and ruin his tyres?
    or bide his time with his tyres?

    let them decide!

  51. Introducing mandatory pitstops would be an idiotic idea. What they need to do is bring only one tyre compound to each race, of a softness that makes completing the entire race on it possible but extremely difficult. Then we might see some good racing.

  52. What I didn’t like about the 1980’s and 1990’s non-pit stop racing was that the teams at the back had virtually no chance of staying with the leaders and the introduction of refuelling along with a mandatory pit stop for a change of tyres helped them immensely and removing that would create the ‘lapped with ten laps’ races again. That’s something that we don’t need.

    It’s great to see a GP without any cars being lapped ot with cars in the midfield or the back getting toward the front. It gives the cars behind the leaders a chance with strategy. Granted, there are those who believe that it should just be the car and driver, but do we really want to see Ferrari and McLaren win every race, again and again? (I cound write a lot of agains). That would be (and has been until recently) incredibly boring. Strategy counts and other teams can come to the fore as has been shown the last couple of seasons.

    To remove a mandatory pit stop would go back to boring races. Winning a race by three laps does not make a good race.

    1. The teams at the back would make the same amount of stops so it would not make a blind bit of difference to them not getting lapped.

      80’s and 90’s back markers getting lapped was due to many poor teams and massive time differences. 1st-3rd would be a couple seconds now days that covers the whole grid, due to the tightening of rules and frozen manufactures spec engines any team can buy for $5million. Pit stops or not will not effect lapping….that has long gone (it might return if the new teams are way off the pace mind you!)

    2. I would have thought that the reduction in backmarkers being lapped in recent years was more down to the improved performance of those teams rather than the introduction of refuelling. We saw in qualifying last year just how close the entire grid was overall, and I can’t remember it being that close before.

      This season however I wouldn’t be surprised if there are more car being lapped, not because of any changes to the rules, but because there will be four new teams on the grid this season and I would be very surprised if all those teams are as close to the top cars as the 2009 backmarkers were.

  53. I think the poll speaks for itself. Personally I didn’t expect it to be that conclusive, but a factor of ten towards less regulation certainly is conclusive!

  54. Firstly if ain’t broken don’t fix it. Let drivers and team choose what they want to do.

    Secondly if for whatever reasons FIA really feels that those pit areas needs some coverage then

    1) Insist bridgestone to make tires where each set will not last more than half the race distance.


    2) If a driver is not choosing to make any pitstop for the entire race he will have to perform a mandatory Pit-Lane drive trough before the Penultimate lap or white flag of the race. Reason to do it before the Penultimate lap is to cover incidents like the famous Silverstone 1998 Schumi-Brawn strategy for the 10 Sec stop and go penalty executed on the last lap.

    1. (2) sounds like a terrible idea. If a driver can nurse his tyres throughout an entire race, it sounds terribly unfair to then impose a penalty.

  55. Could this be the most one sided poll in F1 Fanatic history? Possible article for you there ‘Kieth’ :) “Most overwhelming polls on F1 Fanatic” and then show the FIAs response (if any) to the what the fans have to say.

  56. Paul said: “Lets just let the 2010 season play out and see what happens with this no re-fuelling lark, and review options afterwards.”

    I think what they are concerned about is, without no mandatory pitting there may be NO changes in the lead for the entire race. But I agree, at the least allow the season to unfold before changing, yet again,

    1. NO changes in the lead?? So even though the whole grid is covered by 1sec often last year the FIA think the lead car will always have roughly a 16second lead before stopping and come out in front?! That didnt happen often last year even with differing fuel loads. It will be harder to build a lead with the same fuel loads now.

      Or it thinks everyone will stop on exactly the same lap!?! I agree with Paul, lets see how it goes..please!

  57. Chris Gordon-Smith
    18th January 2010, 17:42

    Absolutely ridiculous. If they want drivers to pit why refueling ban???, looking forward to seeing who can manage tyre wear, and fuel consumption the best. And the nobody noddys running out of tyres, fuel and talent. The cream should rise…
    This must be a marketing ploy to keep us all talking?!?

  58. To an extent, I appreciate the notion of how much “spectacle” the pit stops create, but forcing that to happen would not be necessary in a racing series that provided enough entertainment and suspense with what happens out on the race track.

    Exactly because of the kind of experience with it in the DTM, I would appreciate it very much if there was no fixed number of pit stops. That would leave open the most room for still keeping race strategy as an important factor. I find it would be much more interesting if there was a range of options to draw from, especially rather than forcing a two-stop strategy upon everybody.

  59. This combined with the shortcuts would make for an exciting final lap. Since we know there are two mandatory pit stops the race has been very predictable with the two fastest cars slotting in 1st (Alonso) and 2nd (Kubica). Kubica is being held off by Alonso in all attempts to pass. Its the final lap and last few corners when Kubica dives for the shortcut, comes out in front, and wins the race.

    No passing or driver battles happened while the whole grid changed positions numerous times and everyone was confused.

  60. Pedel to the Vettel
    18th January 2010, 19:08

    If it does happen i will not watch F1 this year….period

  61. Just get rid of forcing backmarkers to move over when a blue flag is waved.

    Imagine a couple of races where a race win were lost because the leader couldn’t find a way past a backmarker but the seconf/third placed driver could.

    The engineers would solve the overtaking issue very quickly after that because it would be in their own interests to do so.

    1. Agreed – one of my ongoing rants. Lapping cars should be actually worked for, it shouldn’t just happen. Why did they bring in the blue flag rule, anyone remember?

      1. HounslowBusGarage
        19th January 2010, 21:27

        Blue flag rule was partially introduced for safety reasons. If you have two backmarkers duelling for position, the leading car about to lap them, could be placed in danger by their antics.
        Also can you imagine an inferior team driver, let’s call him Nelson Piquet, doing his best to hold up Button, Schui and Massa up as they try to lap him so that Piquet’s team mate can catch up to the leading trio. That would be very dangerous.

  62. Why do we need artificial rules any way? The 1980s showed us how great pure racing can be.

    Regarding pitstops I’d prefer the other way: no pitstops at all, except for tyre changes in unusual and unexpected circumstances.

  63. Why not allow the teams to do whatever they want? Just a thought….

  64. It will be interesting to see the amount of overtaking this year compared to 2009 with no fuel ban.

  65. I see it in Sport Car racing and I hate it. I dont like the two tire rule either. I think that pits stops should be the teams choice and that if they want to change tires or go the full race on one set they should now that will make for a some good racing.

  66. Mandatory pitstops: No
    (So no mandatory use of both tyre types either)

    I think this needs to be solved by tyre compound variations. Bridgestone have gotta be happy with that too, as tyre strategy becomes a major focus even if there are no mandatory stops.

    The ‘hard’ one:
    It should be geared as a one stop compound for consistent grip. It should be able to make it the whole distance, but be so worn that the last 100 km or so the driver is sliding all over the place
    Ideally you’d lose about as much time sitting on the hard as pitting halfway through and getting another set of the hard.

    The ‘soft’ one:
    Should be geared as a two stop compound for consistent grip. It should be able to make it to half the distance but similar to the hard be so worn that there’s a pretty significant loss of grip.

    You could:
    Not stop on the hard and be defending for the last 20 laps, making up positions as others pit and trying to keep them behind (the idea is it will be very hard to defend as the tyres will be shot).
    Stop once on the hard and be attacking later in the race.
    Make a stop from the hard to the soft and lose performance at the end but make up time early in the stint.
    Do 2 stops for softs, pushing all out in all three stints. Could do this if you’re in a fast car in the midfield after a bad qualifying or off pole to build up a lead.
    1 stop from softs to softs.

    There are a lot of options, and the critical thing will be picking when to get fresh tyres based on what everyone else is doing around you.

    1. This should be the next comment of the day — brilliant idea!

      1. HounslowBusGarage
        19th January 2010, 21:39

        If we have to have the rule about using two tyre grades, I sort of like the idea of making the choice more difficult for the teams.
        Bridgestne would have to make a judgement about which grade of tyre (from 1 – super hard, to 5 – supersoft) is ideal for each track. So let’s say they reckon Spa is ideal for grade 2 Hard. So they don’t take that grade, forcing the teams to compromise settings and strategies around (1) Super Hard and (3) Neutral grades. And it’s up to the teams to manage their seven (?) sets of tyres as they wish through the race weekend.
        Incidentally, has any team ever mixed the tyre grades? I.E. harder grades on the front, softer on the rear to cope with an over-steering car for example?

  67. You know what we want to say Keith,but will the FIA listen.

  68. Keith, any idea why even people who should know better, such as Domenicali and Newey, seem to both be advocating more compulsory pit stops? Are they forced to toe the party line, or is there something else going on?

    Also, was Bernie serious when he said he suggested the option of going back to steel brakes, and increased points for podium places, or did he just say that as a sop to fans like us, knowing full well the SWG won’t approve them (at least the brakes)?

  69. Absolutely right that pitstops should be flexible! Artificially introducing “tactics” really doesn’t improve the show.

    The benefit of no fuel stops is that when cars stop for tyres, they get a performance boost and emerge from the pits behind slower cars, giving a much better chance for overtaking and not unlike wet races (and we all know how much we like wet races).

    For a case in point – Jerez 1986. Mansell is being caught by Senna so dives in the pits with a few laps left. Then storms the final laps gaining hand over fist with fresh tyres and we have a very exciting close to the race. Much better than drivers giving up racing after they’ve made their last pit stops.

    I’m amazed in these days of talking about driver aids being bad and driver choice being good, people still think forcing tyre choices on drivers is good. What next, drivers must use FIA approved suspension settings?

  70. Yes, we all remember the good old days where the driver dashed into the pits for fresh rubber. But, there was no pit lane speed limit then and with no fuel to load the overall pitsop was fast.
    Now H&S would not allow cars to enter the pit area at racing speed. The pitlanes seem to be longer now, it’s so the entrance and exit joins the circut at a safe point. So as someone already said the modern pit stop is still long 20+ secs and the advantages of the old days are no loger there!

    1. If they had a decent spread of tyre compounds and freedom of choice between them then the advantage would still be there I think.

  71. bernification
    19th January 2010, 22:51

    Keith said- One of the ways the refuelling ban will make racing better in 2010 is that drivers will now have more flexible strategy options.

    How is banning refueling allowing teams to have more flexible strategys?

    The two are mutually exclusive. I have no doubt at all that the racing will be much more predictable, with noticably less over taking.

    The premise that this is a cost cutting exercise is ridiculous- the $200,000 that this will save is a drop in the ocean relative to overall budget.

    It’s just another slight of hand tactic to keep people busy and divert them from the underhand political manipulations that blight the sport. Come this time next year there will be a similar debate discussing how it was such a bad idea.

    I really have no understanding why people are so obsessed with low fuel qualifying. Isn’t the winner the one who was the fastest on the track?

    1. I agree.

      I am still ticked off with the whole KERS situation. It should be mandatory this year for all teams. Period.

      1. I agree although I think KERS needs to be derestricted. In it’s nobbled form last year it didn’t do anything useful.

        1. Yeah, perhaps. I was a fan of Turbos back in the day also.

          The thing about KERS is four fold for me:

          1. We are supposed to be saving money in F1 and this was an example of regulations being badly managed to firstly introduce a costly ad-on to cars and then kick the teams that actually gave it a go in the crotch by letting the majority can it instead of having to play catch up this year. In effect making it a massive potential waste of money and R&D. Although I hope we see this coming over to road cars which will perhaps make it worth it anyway.

          2. It was only crippled in order to give lower order teams a chance to still compete. If they were going to allow this split of “have and have nots” then they should have raced two classes or simply accepted that racing is nasty like that. Put up or shut-up. Not that I think that it’s a good idea to run two classes, but neither is having a loose rule system that creates that situation, and means that it has to be crippled from day one.

          3. F1 is supposed to be more environmentally friendly, and this was a step that way. Now we’ve gone the opposite way. Super fast qualifying, and heavily laden cars in the beginning of the race burning more fuel and driving like dogs.

          4. What has been done about overtaking for this year? Nothing. The one hope we had was something like KERS running at 100%. We have not even seen William’s take on this year, which I was keen to see. Again, don’t get me wrong I am not in the bleating and moaning camp about overtaking that much. On *real* tracks it’s still possible. A little bit more would be nice, but then again if we keep making street circuits because the media and fair weather fans like it all to be close to the shopping malls and hotels then we’re never going to see any overtaking anyway!

          The regulations being introduced in F1 do not make any sense to me any more.

          1. The regulations being introduced in F1 do not make any sense to me any more.

            I agree, I think this is very much the point Adrian Newey made last week. They went through a process of working out how to improve overtaking via the OWG, but quickly slipped back into their old habits of tweaking the rules on a whim with no clear goal in sight.

          2. I firmly believe that no refuelling will produce some cracking racing, simply because car performance will vary significantly during the race and faster cars will often be behind slower cars.

            Another thing I’d like is to remove the restriction on using the same compound on all corners of the car. Quite what this achieves I don’t know but it’s taking away driver choice.

            For me F1 should allow choice and variation in as many areas as possible, both for the driver and the designer. A framework should be in place to make sure things don’t get out of hand, but after that allow people to innovate. Maybe there should be a 5 year window of rule stability, after which engine and aero regulations change in one go (similar to the start of last year).

            I think it’s best when there is a paper-scissors-stone field and not identikit cars like there is now. The turbo era was a typical example of this with some teams having great power but poor handling. Deregulation of KERS would mean more of this. Some teams would go for the Clarkson POWAH approach with the penalty of more weight. Others would go for the Lotus approach of less weight and less power. After a few years the best solutions would converge, hence the need for a 5 year rules refresh.

            Job done! ;)

  72. Mandatory pit stops in “windows” is one the craptacular rules they have in V8 Supercars. No no no no no!!!

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