Teams ‘playing games’ with pit stops is just ‘part of the show’ – Whiting

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In the round-up: FIA race director Charlie Whiting says he isn’t concerned about pit crews occasionally appearing in the pits when their drivers do not make pit stops.

What they say

Article 28.12 of the Sporting Regulations states “team personnel are only allowed in the pit lane immediately before they are required to work on a car and must withdraw as soon as the work is complete.” However it is not uncommon to see team members appear in the pits without their driver makring a pit stop, potentially to dupe a rival into thinking they are about to pit.

Whiting, who as race director has the power to report incidents to the stewards, was asked about Mercedes doing so during the last race, and said he isn’t concerned about the practice:

It was clear they could have been stopping. Whether they had any intention to do it I don’t know.

The rule’s in place purely to stop people hanging around all the time if you remember they used to be out in the pit lane nearly all the time. I think it works pretty well. They all play little games occasionally.

If they’d been hanging around in that area for a couple of minute at the same time Ferrari were coming for example then we might have something to say about it. I think that’s all part of the show.

Quotes: Dieter Rencken

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Although we should enjoy the start of our summer holidays this evening, none of us at Mercedes will pretend that we feel happy – our thoughts are rather with Niki, Birgit and the Lauda family. The world knows Niki as an F1 legend with incredible power and resilience. For all of us at Mercedes he is our chairman, our mentor and our friend. We have missed him by our side in Hockenheim and Hungary, and can’t wait to have him back with us on the Grand Prix tracks of this world. The recovery he now faces is not a race. But knowing Niki, I’m sure he will soon be telling every nurse and doctor that he has had enough of the hospital. We wish him a safe and speedy recovery – in that order – and send all our positive energy to him and his family. I miss you my friend – Toto . . . . . #nikilauda #lauda #totowolff #wolff #mercedes #mercedesbenz #mercedesamg #formula1 #f1 #lewishamilton #valtteribottas

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Comment of the day

Has Ricciardo made the right move?

What a signing for Renault but I have to say I am shocked. From a fan’s perspective, Red Bull-Honda is for sure his best to win a championship, he is pretty much guaranteed the best if not joint best chassis on the grid, the big unknown being Honda, but it’s agreed in the paddock now Honda and Renault power unit is on par.

So why choose Renault then? Better chassis? No. Better power unit? Probably not. Bigger potential/budget? Again no, Red Bull are Formula ‘A’, Renault ‘B’ and have a ton of work to do to join ‘A’. They are still not even consistently ‘best of the rest’.

Maybe being team mates with Verstappen has something to do with it? I think we will all agree for a driver to challenge for the championship he needs number one status, he will get that at Renault but will always be 50:50 at Red Bull. Red Bull will now have Verstappen as number one to enable him to challenge for the championship with support from Sainz/Gasly.

I really hope it works out for Ricciardo. Top, top driver and a great character, a very brave move.

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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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39 comments on “Teams ‘playing games’ with pit stops is just ‘part of the show’ – Whiting”

  1. COTD, 50-50 @ RBR, I think not, RB market to youth, at best it would be 49-51 so even if Honda came up trumps Dan would always be the bridesmaid not the bride. I hope it works out for Dan, I imagine he has negotiated a pay package that suggests Renault are serious and prepared to invest in success, they have the money, we often forget that Renault, as part of Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi, are one of the world’s largest carmakers far larger than MB or FCA. After 2 years it should be apparent whether Renault are on track, if not, who knows how many other prime seats might have become vacant.

    1. @hohum
      Renault also have an alliance with Mercedes

      Although Renault looks to have stitched Merc up over 1.6l diesel units sold in vans that don’t comply to regs.

  2. I think he went to Renault for the money. No matter how much McLaren offered, they are too lost to consider, and I think Ferrari didn’t want to pay Dans price. I hope Renault gives him a car to win with, but I have little hope for their engine.

    1. If true that’s such a terrible move, ricciardo could’ve earned a lot more money after becoming wdc, and ferrari gave him a serious chance for that; not being willing to lower his money demands is just silly if he had a realistic ferrari chance, unless it was a number 2 contract, but again, I don’t believe the fact a number 2 can’t possibly beat a number 1 if he’s better, look at what ricciardo did right against vettel at red bull.

  3. Why everyone dismisses Renault? They have a big budget, they are making their PU for THEIR car (if you don’t think that’s relevant, tell me how many races have won the other cars with Mercedes PU), and they’re improving a lot. I don’t think it may be like Hamilton-Mercedes, but there’s no way RBR-Honda get a chance of winning the constructor or driver championship before Renault.itnwas a smart move for his chances to become champion and to fill his pockets.

    1. Because their budget isn’t actually that large, and one of the biggest issues Red Bull apparently had with Renault is that they didn’t immediately try to make a “party mode” like Mercedes and then Ferrari developed; all this suggests that Renault isn’t serious about making the necessary investments and pushing as absolutely hard as possible to be future champions.

      1. @wushumr2 – Could be. Or they’re just playing the long game…waiting for Ferrari & Merc to quit in ’21. Then they’d be the big dawg and beating all the Hondas starting from the pit lane.


  4. I also think people are downplaying Renault’s efforts too much. It’s not the first time they have done this sort of thing, rebuilding a team that was almost dead into a championship winning team. I remember back in 2001 they said it’d take them 5 years to win the championship and they went and did exactly that. They take their time, and they make steady progress each season. I doubt they’ll be strong enough in 2019 or 2020 but for the long term, I think they are better positioned than Red Bull at the moment. If I remember correctly, it’s been a long standing rumour that Red Bull is fed up with F1 and I remember Joe Saward reporting that he thought Honda’s approaching them was a good way to say goodbye to motorsport, clearing the path so the japanese buy the team out.

    Renault on the other hand is just starting again. And making progress. They have a very strong line up now, and should be moving forwards in the next few years. If Daniel wanted to move somewhere, Renault is the safest bet.

    1. [Joe Saward] thought Honda’s approaching them was a good way to say goodbye to motorsport, clearing the path so the japanese buy the team out

      @fer-no65 – now that’s an interesting bit of speculation, something that’s news to me (although I’ve been slightly out of touch with F1 the past few weeks). Red Bull get to exit in a much more PR-savvy manner rather than quitting in a huff, and Honda get a reputed team to pave their re-entry as a proper works team back into F1.

    2. people are downplaying Renault’s efforts too much. It’s not the first time they have done this sort of thing, rebuilding a team that was almost dead into a championship winning team.

      Yes they built it into a championship winning team. But one of the strongest ingredients in those wins was their #1 driver (always a huge gap to #2. IMO those (and 1-2 schummi seasons) were the ones where the driver had the biggest impact on the ultimate success.
      I’m not sure that the Hulk or the Grin can raise Renault quickly to that same level.

    3. Let’s say, if ricciardo wanted to move somewhere in the formula B renault is the safest bet, if not there would’ve been a small chance on ferrari or he could’ve stayed at red bull, hard to say this gamble will pay off, he’s leaving juventus\milan\inter (not expert about football but I always heard these being mentioned as A series teams) for someone in the B series.

  5. I agree with the COTD in principle, except for the ”he will get that at Renault but will always be 50:50 at Red Bull. Red Bull will now have Verstappen as number one to enable him to challenge for the championship with support from Sainz/Gasly.” part. First of all, it’s far from guaranteed that he’d get that at Renault either. Hulkenberg could very well be able to beat him in equal machinery, and it’s also wrong to assume that whoever (Sainz or Gasly) is going to join Red Bull next season alongside Verstappen would automatically be number the #2 driver to him. Way too early to jump to definite conclusions on these type of things. We shall wait and see.

    1. +1 on Hulk

  6. It seems fairly straightforward to me why DR chose Renault over RBR-Honda. Communication.

    I mean, it’s not like RBR-Honda is happening because RBR’s had such a fantastic relationship with Renault that other teams can’t wait to work with them. Sure, they’re a threat to most works teams, but they also had a garbage relationship with Renault & couldn’t work with them as a team. Same fundamental problem as McLaren – they couldn’t work with Honda, so the car never came together. Doesn’t matter how much Honda or RBR are investing if they can’t work together, and history points to the fact that when RBR is under the gun, they don’t gel, they break apart.

    Renault may be currently among the “best-ish of the rest”, but they’re a works team. They *have* to work together, come good or ill, and DR will always know that whatever the full resources of Renault are, *even if they’re less than RBR-Honda*, 100% of those resources will be directed at making a faster car, because the *only* way Renault wins is if all of Renault wins. RBR’s shown that they’re completely willing to throw their partners under the bus if it helps them in the short/mid term. So if RBR-Honda isn’t winning from the first few races of 2019, expect a miserable, McLaren-Honda-like relationship and a swift deterioration of the team.

    Communication. It’s hard. It’s valuable. Some folks do it well, others point guns at their partners. We already know which RBR is.

    1. the skwirrell
      4th August 2018, 6:06


      A benefit for Renault is that they will get a great driver who keeps the car on the island and didn’t go to Kamikaze School.

    2. To be fair you can say Renault didn’t deliver a very strong and reliable power unit to Redbull over the past years. It’s not like Redbull was pushing for some size zero nonsense like McLaren did with Honda. They simply need a stronger qualy mode because following and therefore overtaking is so hard with the current F1 cars. And Renault aren’t able to make that.

      Surely the way Redbull has been communicating wasn’t always respectful. But it must me immensely frustrating if you’re a top team and you a hold back by this.

    3. Communication. Yes we heard how Honda appreciate a better communication now with Toro Rosso. The opposite of Renault complaining about irregular request from Red Bull. But what if all the request are the ones that lead Renault improvement? Maybe it’s not about how to communicate but about information feed that drive PU development.

      How the information delivered is not most important thing. Red Bull should not think about Honda feeling too when they collaborate. And Renault could be the one that loss valuable input starting next year.

      1. Communicating with Torro Rosso compared to RBR are two very different animals. Imagine how Red Bull would have reacted to Honda if they had experienced the same problems McLaren did for 3 years! RBR are ruthless and not easy to get along with – ask Renault. As long as Honda improves enough for RBR to be more competitive than this year, all will be fine, but if they don’t improve or are worse, all hell will break loose.

        If Honda think Alonso and Zak were hard on them, Versteppen and Horner will make them look like cupcakes.

        1. Ahah, indeed, I really like red bull, so I hope honda will at least be better than renault was this year, and this should allow red bull to be even closer to ferrari and mercedes in power tracks, but if they get worse it’ll be mclaren honda 2.0!

  7. The pantomimes in the pitlanes these last few years are unsportsmanlike. Charlie Whiting has just admitted that he isn’t strictly enforcing safety rules in order to benefit “the show”. This speaks to the core value of his role. Pit lane accidents are not why I watch Formula 1. Interpretations of the rules are being misinterpreted! I love the silly season!

    1. The interpretation of the rules was clearly stated by Charlie. They are there to prevent teams hanging around in the pit lane and a team coming out for a few seconds is not hanging around… I do not think it is unsportsmanlike as they are not really doing anything wrong. They play games on the radio too in order to try to get small advantages and drivers will play games in the cars in order to gain an advantage. Plus how would they otherwise determine if a team was going to pit or not. It is not uncommon to plan to pit and then change their minds at the last second.

  8. Of course Zak Brown is saying “we nearly signed him” – was he ever going to say anything else.

    Mclaren are a mess and given no team other than Mercedes has won a Grand Prix since 2014 I can’t imagine Dan Ric even half seriously considering them.

    Renault on the other hand actually “could” get more budget, (probably have already just to pay for Dan) and I’m sure will get more once their chassis gets closer to the RBR one.

    Given that Dans only realistic choices were RBR or Renault, I think it’s abwise decision. Zak just makes me laugh.

    1. the skwirrell
      4th August 2018, 6:19

      Perhaps you might clarify your statement “Mclaren are a mess and given no team other than Mercedes has won a Grand Prix since 2014 I can’t imagine Dan Ric even half seriously considering them.” as, presumably, you did not really intend to say “… given no team other than Mercedes has won a Grand Prix since 2014 …”


      1. Probably meant to say Championship

    2. @dbradock, when you say that “no team other than Mercedes has won a Grand Prix since 2014”, that line will come as something of a surprise to Ferrari and Red Bull…

      1. Oops – brain fade. No other Mercedes “powered” team is what I meant.

        I’ll go and hang my head in shame now :(

        1. Those are minor teams, it’s obvious, small bugdget, sometimes pay drivers etc., no one expects force india or the current williams to fight for titles, and no one expexts haas, toro rosso or sauber to do so, it’s only teams that make their own engine (ferrari vs mercedes) and the exception, red bull, which is the only team that manages to be competitive while not making their own engine, and possibly renault in the future, since they make their own engine, but they’re miles off the pace now, no better than haas.

          1. Oh, yes, forgot to even mention mclaren, says enough about their situation I guess.

            They were once a strong team like williams and still have money, unlike them, but I don’t see them winning anything anytime soon, so we might as well call them a minor team not expected to win anything for years, certainly not earlier than renault, they’re improving a bit faster than mclaren.

    3. Zak probably ‘nearly signed’ every available title sponsor ;)

      1. Zak probably “nearly signed the bill for dinner too”

  9. It’s wrong to think Ricciardo will be automatically no.1 at Renault, Hulkenberg is a class act, he’s just never had a machine capable of winning, IF Renault happen to build a race winning car in the near future I wouldn’t expect it to be only Ricciardo picking up victories, Hulkenberg has beaten every team mate he’s had so far

    1. I doubt he’ll be called the no 1 driver, he’ll have to earn/prove that.

      Should be a great driver pairing. Both good (even though I think Dan will be better) and both should help the development of the car.

    2. Hulkenberg has beaten every team mate he’s had so far

      Not true, Sergio beat him in 2015 and 2016

      1. Yes, and this might be the “death sentence” for hulkenberg, as in perez isn’t bad, he’s certainly an average or above average driver in f1, but not a top driver either, he and ocon are consistently close; hulkenberg should’ve been able to beat him to get a seat in a top team, now he’s just considered a midfield driver.

        Ricciardo, as a proven top driver, coming to renault, gives a new (and probably last) chance to hulkenberg, should he beat ricciardo he might change a lot of people’s views on him.

  10. I think it was probably pretty close between us and Renault

    McLaren is such a mess right now, Zak is starting to sound like Gil from The Simpsons:

    ‘Oh, honey, I’ve should’ve seen me today: I almost signed a top driver and… who’s voice is that? Is that Lewis? Oh, honey, you said it was over. No, don’t put him on!… Hi, Lewis…’

  11. It will be so great to see Daniel win a WDC with Renault!

    1. They need at least Flavio Briatore to pull that off.
      And a well timed crash..

    2. It will be great to see that happen. But with Renault the chance is slim.
      Their organisation is even worse than their engine.

      1. Yes, their chassis is 1,4 sec off the pace (red bull’s) and their engine is also several tenths behind, you can see it based on the gap red bull takes from ferrari and mercedes in power tracks.

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