Whiting blocks proposal to reduce pit lane speed limit

F1 Fanatic round-up

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Kamui Kobayashi, Sauber, Barcelona, 2012

In the round-up: FIA race director Charlie Whiting rejects a proposal by teams to reduce the pit lane speed limit on safety grounds.


Top F1 links from the past 24 hours:

Plans to lower Formula 1 pit lane speed limit rejected by FIA (BBC)

“Most teams backed a proposal to lower the limit from 100kph (62mph) to 60 kph (37mph) in the interest of safety. But race director Charlie Whiting has told them he feels there is no need to make the change as there is no evidence that the current arrangement is unsafe.”

De la Rosa hopeful HRT can still run (Autosport)

“The fact is that the goal this day is to try and get to Sunday. The crash test was passed last Sunday, and since then the team has been building the car.”

Night, night Melbourne (The Age)

“We have a contract which we will respect – so up until 2015 we are in good shape. After then, we really don’t know. If we were to have a divorce from our friends in Melbourne we would probably be walking away from Australia.”

Q&A with Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg (F1)

“Q: Will your team mate Di Resta have an advantage?
NH: Yes, especially during the first races I guess. He’s used to the procedure of a race weekend, DRS, KERS etc… and I will have to find my rhythm again first. But this disadvantage will probably be gone after a few races.”

And now for something completely different (ESPN)

“[Kamui Kobayashi] also has strong views about Formula One’s shift to subscription TV channels, both in Japan and the UK. ‘It’s so stupid. Formula One is pretty popular in UK and Japan. When we go to the British Grand Prix and the Japanese Grand Prix we can see so many people. I think Japan is pretty important, because for such a long time many fans have followed Formula One, same in the UK. You ask the drivers and everybody if they like Japan and they say it is so nice and the fans are crazy [for the sport]. This is very important, you know.'”

Barrichello To Join IndyCar Series (Speed)

Rubens Barrichello will be named to drive for KV Racing in the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series in a Thursday press conference in Brazil.”

Comment of the day

John H on the season ahead for the Red Bull drivers:

I think along with winning his second championship in 2011, Vettel also let us all know that he can actually overtake after all the criticism he received (sometimes correctly) in the past.

Some of his moves, in particular that on Alonso at Monza, were truly awesome and reminded us that at least part of the championship was won by not just driving off into the distance from pole.

In terms of Webber, unless he beats Vettel in 2012 I think this will be his last year at Red Bull and possibly in F1. I know it’s unlikely, I would really love him to win in Melbourne.
John H

From the forum

2012 Audi R18 e-tron quattro Le Mans car

Audi have revealed their 2012 Le Mans and World Endurance Championship contender.

See the forum thread below for more pictures of the four-wheel-drive hyrbid Audi R18 e-tron quattro:

We’ve had several posts in the past 24 hours from F1 Fanatic readers planning race trips. Join in the discussions here:

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Jose Arellano!

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

Nigel Mansell won the 1992 South African Grand Prix. Here’s the start of the first race of a season dominated by Mansell and Williams:


Listen out for James Hunt putting the boot into Riccardo Patrese before the season had even started. Ouch.

Images © Jamey Price/F1 Fanatic, Audi

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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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93 comments on “Whiting blocks proposal to reduce pit lane speed limit”

  1. Brilliant news for Rubens, very happy for him! This year will be the first year I tune into IndyCar and it looks like I’ve picked a good year, I’ll be a rookie as will Rubens!

    Hulkenberg is probably right when it comes to Di Resta only being able to hold an initial advantage. That reason for any poor performance won’t fly after a few races.

    1. I’m gutted that Rubens had to leave F1, he deserved that Williams seat way more than Maldonado! And Bruno and Rubens would have made a great pair! But hopefully now he’ll be in with a chance to win some races and a championship without getting told to move over!

      How do we watch Indycars in the UK? Looks like I’m going to have to pay up to sky for F1, but I only want the HD channel. Can I get Indycars with that? Or am I going to have to subscribe to 5 channels of football which I’ll never watch as well? I wouldnt mind paying for F1 if we got Indycars and NASCAR aswell, then it would feel like we’d be getting a deal as we’d be getting more. Instead of just being robbed!

      1. @firebreather Sky Sports carry IndyCar. The first race is due to be shown on the F1 channel with the remainder on Sky Sports 4. You do have to sign-up for the whole Sky Sports package to benefit from the Sky F1 channel I believe.

        NASCAR Nationwide Series is available on MotorsTV either live or delayed liver coverage I think. The Sprint Cup is on a channel that Virgin Media (who i’m with) don’t carry. Think it might be Premier Sports, or something like that.

        1. A Sprint Cup highlight show will be on Sky Sports as it was last year, usually Mondays or Tuesdays about 7pm. Gotta keep a good look out for it as its not on series link.

          1. Thanks for that, will keep an eye on it!

        2. You don’t have to sign up for Sky Sports to get Sky F1 – you only have to sign up for HD channels.

      2. I wonder if people will stop whinning about Maldonado someday…

        It’s getting tiresome.

  2. I’m glad Charlie thinks alike that a 37mph speed limit would be ridiculous.
    Imagine the pain and tedium of the pitlane at that speed. It’s slow enough as it is.

    1. @bsnaylor A 60kph limit is already used at some tracks such as Monaco. I can’t remember anyone having objected to it before.

      1. Yes, but, as having been to Monaco & in the pits, i can fully understand why they do it there. “Tight fit” doesn’t even come close to describing it. :)

      2. Yes but they use it at the tracks with the shortest pit lanes. It would be fairly tedious in longer pit lanes.

    2. I guess such a decision would also influence strategy variety negatively if pitstops were an even greater time penalty than they are now (Pirellis usually don’t last the one stop and three would cost even more time so it gets even less likely someone tries to go for one more stop). Also I don’t see where the actual speed of the cars made any difference to situations that occurred in the pitlanes, only that it might be slightly easier to spot if a release would become unsafe or not. So in conclusion I think Whiting is right.

      1. Agreed. The shorter the pit stop time is, the more opportunities there are for additional stops, and therefore additional strategies.

    3. Wasn’t the speed limit close to that not long ago?

      IIRC, they raised it a bit 4 or 5 years ago…

    4. strange. i would expect the discussion between charlie and the teams to go the other way round. usually its the FIA and Charlie promoting safety and the teams just trying to go as fast as possible given the rules.

      I think Charlie is right in this case. we shouldn’t be overdoing it with safety. the safest thing is staying at home and doing nothing.

  3. Maybe they blocked the move to a lower speed limit in the pits to mantain the variations in strategy?

    1. @fer-no65 The cars tend to run on a very definite line throughout the pit-lane so while I can see that there are no real safety benefits to be had with dropping the limit, I don’t think it’s strategy related.

      1. Shine9585 (@)
        1st March 2012, 4:05

        There have been quite a few incidents in recent seasons of near misses in the pit lane from unsafe releases, and at least one collision that I remember.

        As far as the safety side of it goes, one thing a lower pit lane speed limit would do would reduce closing speeds and (maybe?) acceleration from stops, reducing the potential for mistakes or close releases to end up with collisions. And it could lessen the danger if it did happen.

        It seems strange to me that in the era of important and ever improving safety that something that could improve safety for mechanics and other people in the pit lane has been rejected. Surely it’s better to be proactive than reactive where safety is concerned, the fact that no accidents in the pit lane are deemed to have been caused by speed doesn’t mean it cant/wont happen – and it must at least be a factor, even if not the sole cause.

        But I’m not saying it should have been lowered, I’m not informed enough on it to judge which is right.

        It would have been interesting to see what effect it had on racing though, if it had a good effect as well as being safer it would have been a bonus.

    2. @fer-no65 It says something to that effect in the article, that it was a ‘secondary consideration’.

      But I think it’s too simplistic to assume that a slower pit lane speed limit automatically equals fewer pit stops. That might have been the case in the days of in-race refuelling, but not today when pit stops are dictated by tyre wear and therefore are more likely to be reactive to track conditions and how hard the driver is using his tyres than pre-determined by how much fuel is in the car.

      It seems to me there are ways a slower pit lane speed limit might be good for racing – a driver who makes a pit stop would lose more time and therefore fall further down the field and have more cars to pass.

      1. You know that’s not true Keith :)
        It would all just be mapped into the overall race strategy program, so make little or no difference to the outcome, as everyone has the same handicap.

      2. I think it’s too simplistic too, but as drivers usually react to others, if a pit stop means more time is wasted, then surely it’ll have an effect on the number of pit stops per race.

        BTW, I don’t think it’d change too much the outcome of the races, but hey, you know how the FIA thinks about “more pit stops makes racing good”.

  4. 37mph? I go faster than that on my bike! Usain Bolt could outrun an F1 car through the pits! Ridiculous idea, glad it’s been stopped. Why did the teams want it anyway?

    1. You might want to check the math on that ….

    2. lol, Usain Bolt would take 60% longer than an F1 car to go through the pits. What do you think – he is a cheetah or something?

  5. i understand the idea behind it, but it’s nothing to with the drivers/cars, only the pit crew saftey. If these so called elite drivers in the top performance cars can’t manage a 60mph limit, surely something is seriously wrong.
    Let’s face it, how many pit crew have been injured in the last few years?
    Apart from one random spin, close call on pit entry, and since the refuelling has been removed, it’s been practically 0.
    Even with refuelling (which i’m adamant should be re-instated) it’s of tiny relevance.

    1. @bsnaylor Don’t forget the HRT mechanic who was badly hurt at Monza in 2010. Plus the numerous instances of cars shedding wheels in the pit lane.

      Though as I’ve said before if they want to increase safety in the pits it would be sensible to reduce the number of people working on the cars at any given time:

      How F1 can make pit stops safer

      1. Yes, agreed about the less pit crew members. But like i said, you can count the serious “incidents” on one hand over the past few years.

      2. Though as I’ve said before if they want to increase safety in the pits it would be sensible to reduce the number of people working on the cars at any given time:

        or just take the tyre regs back to what they were pre-94 which would reduce the number of pit stops & make the actual racing on the track more important again.

        people go on about how pit stops & strategy are intresting & make the race more exciting, i disagree, I dont care about strategy & dont want to see cars trundling down the pit lane.
        i loved f1 pre-94 when we had practically no pit stops & tyres that lasted a full race no problem, the racing was better, less predictable & far more exciting.
        it was also the driver & only the driver that influenced his race rather than strategy people in the pit lane or stupid tyres that only last 15 laps.

        the current style of f1 with lots of pit stops, drs & stupid tyres will be the death of proper on-track racing.

        1. @Dave_F1, Hip Hip Hooray, couldn’t agree more, todays fans never saw a race run full length, without pit stop passes so can’t imagine it, think of Button chasing Vettel down without Vettel being able to get new rubber, that’s exciting, a race being won by a half second pit stop advantage is just frustrating.

          1. I don’t remember 2005 being that much more exciting, with the exception of Japan of course.

          2. germany, monaco, imola, sepang a few races in 2005 off top of my head that were exciting due to tyres going away at the end.

            2005 was a great season

        2. spot on!

          before the refueling ban everyone was looking forward to less pitstops and more on track racing – now we are back to the same number of pitstops and the exciting Formula 1 undercut™ is as prevalent as ever.

        3. When you say “‘pre-94 tyre rules”, keep in mind that would include having an open tyre supply, which would allow for a new tyre war. I think experience has shown us that isn’t really desirable from the point of view of safety and the quality of competition.

          However, giving drivers the freedom to complete a race distance on a single set of tyres if they choose is something that should be allowed – with the de facto ‘mandatory tyre change’ rule we have today it’s basically not going to happen. Giving drivers and teams that freedom would make for more interesting and unpredictable races, I think.

        4. However, what worked in 94 won’t work on today’s cars. The term Trulli train shows you this much by its actual existence.

      3. I’d have to consult the maestro that is Sean Kelly to confirm that though :)

    2. Completely agree. I’m getting sick of this constant complaining about safety. Now they want to drop the limit from 62 to 37 mph. In 5 years they will think that 37 mph is way too fast and will demand to have it dropped to 18 mph. It is absolutely ridiculous. If they’re so afraid, they might as well pack up tomorrow and arrange a fishing competition instead.

  6. All Australian Sport’s are going down the drain. This is a joke the austrtalian gov is ******* us around Again. we pay almost more then 50mil a year in housing durty immigrants and ect, but cant pay for something for the Australian people. Take it away from Melbourne And Bring it up to Sydney.

    1. we pay almost more then 50mil a year in housing durty immigrants and ect, but cant pay for something for the Australian people.

      That’s a lovely sentiment there. Wait, where did the Australian people come from again? Oh yeah, now I remember. Going by your post, remedial spelling and history would be two worthwhile investment areas for public funds.

    2. Has someone stolen all your Vegemite and Fosters? I thought Australians were supposed to be chilled out and relaxed…

      1. I thought Australians were supposed to be chilled out and relaxed…

        Most of us are

  7. Bernie wants to drop Australia, the feeling is mutual Bernie. A better solution would be to make all races start at 1pm. USA east coast time so the American viewing public can chose to watch F1 at a convenient time thereby increasing the world viewership, off course we would have to change that to 1pm Shanghai time in a couple of years. “smiley here”

    1. Every year here in Melbourne we get the same story before the race. Its been going on since the first race. Its a good pointer to know the season is starting soon, when you see a Melb newspaper story about costs. btw, the race already starts at 2pm Shanghai time. :)

      1. So we just have to hang in a couple more years and we will be in synch with the largest viewing area, good news for OZGP.

  8. Begin rant: I’m sick and tired of the whining from European countries when they have to watch a race at the inconvenient pre-dawn time slot.
    Oh, I’m sorry? Have you not heard of VHS, DVD, HDD’s, PVR’s or recording in general? Up until maybe 2007, nearly every race I watched was pre-recorded and I’ve been watching F1 since ’96. And now the Australian GP is most likely going to be shafted from the calendar partly due to the fact it’s a little early for European viewers?
    I understand it’s a world sport, a commercial giant, and it has a better economic structure than most small countries, but having the majority of your audience having to watch ONE race early in the morning does not seem like a big deal. Spare a thought for Aussie’s/Kiwi’s who rarely see a race that doesn’t finish earlier than 3am.
    And Bernie, don’t act like you give a **** about Australia, you’re only interested in the depths of your pockets. Even though we have a terrifically dedicated audience (count the number of Aussie’s on this site), Bernie couldn’t care less about dropping a race which has given us some of the BEST races in the past 10-15 years.
    End rant.
    Had to rant on this site to fellow F1 lovers because my girlfriend couldn’t care less.

    1. @nackavich

      whining from European countries

      Just because Bernie Ecclestone says he wants it to be a night race doesn’t mean every F1 fan in Europe is clamouring for it.

      1. Just because Bernie Ecclestone says he wants it to be a night race doesn’t mean every F1 fan in Europe is clamouring for it.

        @keithcollantine True F1 fans actually look forward to getting up early to watch the Australian GP. It that unique quiet time, when everyone else is in bed and not one person bothers you throughout the whole race. Pure bliss!

        1. exactly that @chalky, a bit of a tradition!

        2. But true F1 fans arn’t Bernie’s target, you will watch no matter what he does.

        3. Bingo, I would actually love that all the races started at 6AM, for the same reasons!

      2. Unfortunately for a spokesperson, you have Bernie Ecclestone. So basically whatever he thinks, “you think”. Obviously, this isn’t the case for all Europeans, but Bernie will speak for you irrespective of what you think. There lies the issue. As you can imagine and are already probably aware, the majority of F1 fans in Australia are anti-Bernie and have been for some time.

        1. @nackavich To be honest, I’ve not a met a single European F1 fan who wouldn’t, doesn’t, and hasn’t wanted to get up at all hours to watch a race.

          My favourite day of the year, even moreso than my birthday or xmas growing up was that early saturday morning in March where I would see the new crop of F1 cars for the first time tearing round Albert Park… an oversaturated colouring book of a circuit in an otherwise pitch-black living room.

          Bernie speaks for none of us.

          1. @ajokay I do enjoy staying up late to watch the races overseas. Being alone and being able to submerge myself in it. I didn’t mention the true fans will stay up all hours to watch a race. Bernie doesn’t know that.
            He assumes you will all just do what he says.

        2. @nackavich

          the majority of F1 fans in Australia are anti-Bernie and have been for some time

          Having spent a lot of time talking to and reading comments from F1 fans all over the world, I don’t believe that is any more true of Australian fans than it is from fans anywhere else in the world.

        3. Tom, Dick & Harry
          1st March 2012, 14:11

          Bernie does not speak for me!

          Tom, Europe

      3. @keithcollantine Bernie is basically your unelected leader. He’s your Julia Gillard (if you’re aware of Australian politics), except shorter, hairier, and un-sympathetic to anyone’s view except Europe.

        1. Whose leader @nackavich?

          Bernie works just for himself and for FOM, that’s it.

          One time he acts as if supporting Europe, then he says how there’s to many races there, then he tells the world does not need X (Korea, Japan, US, … make your pick), it only depends on him firstly getting headlines and secondly achieving the goal of getting more out of the races.

          1. Bernie works just for himself and for FOM, that’s it.


            Bernie works for CVC!

          2. Ehm, @dave_f1, Bernie works for FOM. CVC are the majority owners of FOM. Not much difference then, is there?

          3. Your suggesting Australian politicians aren’t just working for themselves?

        2. … What on earth does Europe have to do with the Member for Clairol and Minister for Everything? I can’t recall anything that she’s said recently.

          1. Yes, but she’s unelected. That’s where I drew the comparison.

          2. And why should Bernie’s position be elected? Who should do the voting?

      4. With Bernie it’s usually the opposite of what the fans want, just what Bernie wants to sell.

    2. I think most European F1 fans don’t mind getting up early for a live race, I certainly don’t. I think Bernie has deluded himself into thinking that European fans do care.

    3. The ‘fans’ don’t care, but the advertisers and sponsors do – they are the people Bernie is concerned about. Yes most real F1 fans don’t mind getting up early for the race, but there won’t be any casual viewers and advertisers (and therefore commercial broadcasters) don’t like that.

  9. Imagine getting a drive through at 60kph on one of those very long pit lanes. 1km a minute!!!. It will kill pitstops. Although the slower drivers who feel they can save their tyres will love it.

    1. It happened in V8 Supercars. Back in the (very) early 2000s, the championship visited Canberra. The circuit quickly became notorious for having an incredibly narrow pit lane, one which had virtually nothing to slow cars down on approach. The speed limit in the pits at the time was 60km/h, but was reduced to 40km/h for the first Canberra race. By the time the series left the city at the end of the 2002 season, the 40km/h limit had been applied to every circuit on the calendar, and it has not been lifted since. It’s necessary at places like Barbagallo, but it’s absolutely gruelling at circuits with wider and longer pit lanes like Winton.

  10. Fun hearing those remarks about how Mansell shed weight over the winter and Patrese is now bigger than him :-)

    But what really is interesting is the use of in picture shots of the field when watching on board with Senna. Why don’t they use that now, it really makes sense.

  11. If there are complaints/threats about Melbourne it must be March already. Its better than the calendar thing on your phone!

  12. As a commentator James Hunt always had it in for Patrese, because he blamed Riccardo for causing the accident at Monza that led to Ronnie Peterson’s death. He wasn’t the only driver to do so either, though the official investigation found that Patrese was not to blame. Search YouTube and I’m sure you could find other clips of Hunt being less than complimentary about Patrese.

  13. I hope Bernie comes to his senses eventually and allows Australia to remain on the calendar post 2015, regardless of whether it’s a day, night or twilight race. Bernie needs to start considering that the sport is now more popular in other parts of the world, and that those fans deserve as much consideration as European fans. Anyway, if Bernie wants a world championship in all corners of the living globe, then a race in Australia is needed just for that reason.

    1. The future of the Australian Grand Prix does not hinge on the race becoming a night event – rather, this is just a standard Bernie tactic. It’s a warning for Melbourne to get their house in order. Every year, the race comes under public and political criticism for the value it brings to to the city, especially in regards to the cost. Bernie wants them to sort themselves out so that, come 2015, negotiations can go smoothly. He’s telling them that they need to be a night race, but in order to get to the point where a night race is possible, the organisers need to sort out their own internal wrangling first – and that’s what Bernie really wants.

  14. It’s a shame more people didn’t speak out sooner like Kobayashi does now about the pay-per-view thing. I think Webber might have said something at the time, maybe one of the McLaren drivers, can’t remember exactly.

    Oh well. I think a friend of mine is going to let me use his Sky login to watch online. So I don’t have to support Murdoch directly anyway :p

    1. Kobayashi is the first driver I’ve heard who has had something to say on the deal. Maybe I missed something with Webber and one of the McLaren drivers. I remember Martin Whitmarsh saying in Istanbul last year, that F1 must remain free to access for the UK, but I get the impression that the issue isn’t much of a concern to him anymore.

      Good on Kobayashi for standing against something he disagrees with, I imagine many drivers would have kept quiet on this or any other situation they disagree with.

    2. Good on the lad. Must say that kid does everything to keep my high estimation of him high. About time a driver spoke up for the fans.

    3. Its great that at least some are not afraid to say it out loud. Kobayashi really is a character!

  15. I am amazed that all the comments are about the speed limitand what time the OZ is when far most interestingly and importantly we finally have a driver who is speaking out against pay to view TV. Kamui is absolutely spot on with his comments about Japan and UK fans and viewers.
    Are there no comments because we cant read to the end of the page before posting or because we have all resigned to paying Murdock several hundred pounds a year?
    I will not be paying which is a great shame for someone who has watched nearly every race since 1989!
    Keith can you run a story or poll on the uptake of Sky as a result of this deal and keep a very close eye on the viewing figures please.

    1. I think it’s probably because it’s “old news”, not in the regard that it’s not news, but people are tired of the fact that F1 just got that much more expensive for them.
      Essentially, there’s nothing the public can do to stop it and it’s been that way for a few months.

  16. My already high respect for Kobayashi has now rocketed even higher.

    He is one of the proper racers on the grid, one that doesn’t complain about something or someone behind the wheel, one that shuts up just drives and one that loves his fans.

  17. With regard to the COTD, @john-h, I’d be happy if Webber made the podium! Surely his best result at his home race should come in a Red Bull rather than a Minardi.

    And a reduction in the pit lane speed limit would, at the very least, make an in-lap slower than a normal racing lap at Silverstone. Those lap time graphs last year looked really strange.

  18. In reaction to the video: wasn’t there any mean to avoid jump starts back in 1992 ? I mean i f you look closely, the 5th and 12th car started well before the Green light went on…

  19. Well, I hope Whiting doesn’t acquire the required evidence this year. Mechanics do get his, there have been a few broken ankles in recent years if memory serves. I find it bizarre that this sort of move would be blocked really.

  20. Longer or no pitstops = better racing on track.

    The more pit stops can be slowed the better. One man working on the car would be great. Rules and tyres permitting this would also open up the opportunity for a driver to run the entire distance without a stop. Pit stops should not be necessary for good clearly followed racing. They are just a small sideshow to the real thing…wheel to wheel racing!

  21. As a “European”, I quite enjoy getting up early for a race. I’d much rather that than ‘late’ races like America / Canada / Brazil in the early evening UK time. But it’ll never work out fair.
    Last September I was on holiday in Australia and wanted to watch the Singapore race. I though, great, no getting up early seen as Singapore and Australia are similar time zones. Then i remembered it was a night race, so I ended up the only one still up at 3am in the morning for what ended up being quite a dull race. And for you guys, that’s a sunday night which ain’t great for work on Monday.

    1. @eurobrun that’s basically a season for an Aussie F1 fan in a nutshell. I’d never stop staying up until 3am to watch a race on Monday morning, we’re all used to it!

  22. It’s so stupid

    Kobayashi deserves comment of the month.

  23. Herald sun running articles designed to turn people against the GP.

    In large letters on the front page lies the title “Pay up or lose Melbourne GP – F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone “

    1. For the record, The Herald Sun is our right wing rag. Owned by the Murdochs.

      1. @mike From one billionaire tyrant to another!

  24. If this 60kph limit is to be introduced, I reckon it should be introduced for 2014 when the pitlane limiters are ran by electric motors.

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