Charlie Whiting, Circuit de Catalunya, 2018

Phantom pitstops “part of the game” – Whiting

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In the round-up: Race Director Charlie Whiting says the ‘phantom’ pitstops of the kind that Mercedes were seen preparing for during the Italian Grand Prix are “part of the game” in Formula One.

What they say

My feeling is, and remains, that it’s all part of the game. We don’t like teams hanging around in the pitlane if they’re not actually doing a pitstop, if they come out as if they’re going to do one. If they did it every lap, I think we’d have something to say. But they may well have been thinking about stopping and then changed their minds. Unless someone does something overtly incorrect, I don’t think we will do anything about it.

Quotes: Dieter Rencken

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Comment of the day

After many enjoyed the Italian Grand Prix, @kaiie succinctly describes the simple reason why it was such a good watch.

One of the most exciting races in recent years. And why? Because a slightly faster car was behind a slower one, being unable to find a way past, while all the time there was still a realistic chance of an overtake.

Good stuff.

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On this day in F1

  • On this day in 1950 Giuseppe Farina became Formula 1’s first ever world champion

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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48 comments on “Phantom pitstops “part of the game” – Whiting”

  1. COTD is absolutely spot-on.

  2. Daniel (@collettdumbletonhall)
    3rd September 2018, 0:20

    Completely agree with COTD. I was on the edge of my seat the entire time, had no idea who was going to win. Gutted for Kimi but very glad to see a good battle for the lead lasting for most of the race.
    I hope in the future that F1 can move towards aero that will allow close racing between cars of similar speed like that again.

  3. And some of the best dicing was during the opening laps with heavy fuel load and no DRS enabled. Lets try a race without DRS , please?

    1. Less powerful DRS maybe. Without it, mists tracks will be like racing in Monaco but going faster

      1. Why not try at least Monza with no DRS and could be used to gauge removing it from other races

        1. DRS is already rather ineffective at Monza since they run so little wing. I’d say the fact that we saw so many contested braking zones in today’s race shows that the level of DRS was well-matched to the circuit, and shows how overpowered it is at many other tracks.

      2. They could just make it that the drs turns off when the cars are side by side. That way the cars might end up have to go into the next corner side by side instead of the overtaker having it all for him easily. The drs is supposed to make overtaking possible but instead it guarantees it.

        1. Good point. Who says there is no overtakein in F1. There is overtakein if drivers want to. Why not just let em race they are killing f1 at the min.

  4. Why would Damon Hill say it was Kimi’s last race in Monza for Ferrari? Does he know something we don’t?

    1. Rumour has it leclerc is in the ferrari next year alongside vettel.

  5. Of course Whiting sticking up for Merc. They went out there with the express intention of blocking Kimi, who they knew was coming in. Ridiculous.

    1. Agreed, rules are rules and Mercedes have been doing it too many times. I believe they hanged out a hole lap before pitting, this is not safe.

      1. Couldn’t disagree more. It’s a very common tactic to do the opposite of the car in front. If they pit the car behind stays out, it happens in almost every race. The team had to be ready in case Kimi didn’t pit so it was a genuine planned stop.

        I don’t understand why people are moaning about this.

        1. Fudge Kobayashi (@)
          3rd September 2018, 11:24

          I don’t understand why people are moaning about this.

          Because they lost. Plain and simple.

          The preferred strategy would have been to undercut Kimi as soon as the pit window opened, when he came in first that was no longer an option, also plain and simple.

        2. petebaldwin (@)
          3rd September 2018, 12:48

          I wouldn’t say people are moaning – i just thought it was against the rules as ours very unsafe to use humans ti block a car entering the pits.

          I assume now it’s been clarified as legal, every team will come out into the pits to hold others up at every pit stop. Ultimately, someone will get hurt and the practice will be banned.

          1. but they already gave Ferrari a pass for unsafe release on Leclerc.

          2. It’s not even a block. There is enough space between the pit boxes to have all the team’s pit crew out and cars making pit stops safely. The only thing happened was that Kimi did not have the privilege of cutting through the Mercedes’ pit box to enter his and saving a bit of time. If you ban drivers from driving through their rival’s pit box regardless of whether the crew is out or not this wouldn’t be a debate at all.

          3. Sorry Pete but that’s complete nonesense. If it was unsafe they’d ban safetycar pit stops or teams pitting on the same lap at all. I fail to see how it’s unsafe exactly? There’s literally no difference if Hamilton did or didn’t pit once the team are in position. All Teams often stop during the same lap so there’s obviously enough room for this to be a non-issue. Just seems like a lot of moaning about nothing and trying to play the safety card to make the issue seem worse and paint the false narrative that Mercedes did something wrong.

  6. I don’t mind moving the pit crew out a few times as long as they leave a car width ;)

    (Also) seriously! Mercedes should have moved aside a metre when Kimi came in (they already knew Lewis drive on, and ample time before Bottas could arrive.

    1. well it is part of the game, until someone gets hurt obviously

      1. @coldfly and @johnmilk why and how is this any different to two teams stopping on the same lap ?

        Theres no difference to a stop and a non stop as long as the team stay in position. If Hamilton was still going to pit on the same lap then the mechanics would be stood in exactly the same place… But somehow it’s more dangerous ?

        I really wish people would use safety as a disguise for their personal bias.

  7. Back in July 2015, Charlie Whiting said that Phantom Pitstops were a clear breach of the rules and that teams could face sanctions in the future…

    Wee CharlievWhiting, where is your consistency now?

    1. He is just there for nostalgic reasons

  8. I was disappointed with the amount of booing hamilton recieved. That was very unsportsman like. The race was good hamilton and vettel are pushing hard. Clashes are inevitable. That should be celebrated. The competition is real! What should be booed is ferraries continued extra pay from the organisers. While a team like force india was/ is financially in a hole.

    1. Bottas received a few boos as well as Hamilton on the podium. It’s Mercedes racing in Ferrari’s backyard, so to say a few boos were to be expected is a bit of an understatement, which I didn’t personally have a problem with as the Tifosi treat Ferrari as gods.

      1. Bottom didn’t even stick around for the podium interview. Hamilton bore the brunt and said what needed to be said.

        1. Ha ha bottom … damn auto correct

    2. Mansell would have found it Hilarious if he was booed. In an era where drivers grabbed each other by the throats and punched their fists on bosses desks.

  9. Wait a minute, Jonty just said Mercedes were in the pit lane for 2 laps. Did they really stand there in the pitlane for two minutes?

    Also, did they go to pit lane first or did Ferrari?

  10. He showed it again today in an inferior car

    While I recognize Lewis’s racing skills and his ability to pull always something out of the bag in qualifying and his fantastic race pace. I’m really quite annoying with all the Mercedes environment (Lewis included) that keeps moaning about their car lack of speed. Maybe they have another definition of “inferior car” They were saying that power wise they were losing some 0.5s in the straights and the Ferrari PU was far superior and yesterday and in the ultimate power circuit they have won fair and square and even in qualy the gap was less than 2 tenths.
    There is nothing wrong with the W09, it’s as fast as the SF71-H at least in Lewis’s hands. No need to take Bottas as a benchmark for the car’s performance, we have seen how useless he was especially in the last 2 races. In Spa, he was just waiting for the DRS to make a move and yesterday he spent the whole race behind Verstappen. Even if Vettel has actually won 5 races so far this season the gap was not like we have seen before even in the last year when many kept repeating that Ferrari has a title challenger when Lewis finished some races with 30s gap and with power turned off halfway through the race.

    1. Fewer proper corners in Monza meant the power advantage which Ferrari has coming off a corner was cancelled by Mercedes stright line speed. The real test will come next week with Singapore and its many corners. Last year Ferrari and Redbull dominated qualifying, i expect we’ll see the same again.

      1. i wouldnt be surprised if vettel/ferrari screw up this one and call it nothing to worry about, while gap jumps to 50+ points…

  11. I know Red Bull make their own gearbox, is that also the case with the clutch? I imagine so, or we’d already be hearing more moans about their engine partner again (who’d be Tag Heuer, right?)

  12. Regarding the tweet by the Haas team: What’s the use even to bother since the results can’t be altered anymore anyway (the results of any given race are amendable only as long as they’re yet to be finalized.) It’s going to be nothing but a total waste of time for them and the FIA.
    – I couldn’t agree more with the COTD although I’m not sure whether I entirely agree with the part ”a slightly faster car was behind a slower one” (assuming it’s a reference to Mercedes) as I don’t think Mercedes was really ‘slightly faster’ than Ferrari overall, but rather the other way round when looking at the weekend as a whole.

    1. i was under the impression the COTD was referencing merc(bottas) vs redbull(max).

      1. Because a slightly faster car was behind a slower one,

        Not so sure.then. The merc is way faster compared to a RB.

  13. Has anything changed? Because in 2015 phantom stops were illegal ->

    1. No the penalties are still very inconsistent and the rules are bend at every occasion.

  14. I thought ROS is more down to earth, but he’s quite delusional too: HAM won in an inferior car?!?!?!?! Really weird how facts obvious to the naked eye are sidelined, while relative stuff is viewed as irrefutable truth. If beating the fastest lap by 1second after 21 laps, with the same tyre and 21 laps old tyres, means HAM had an inferior car, then we live in weird world indeed! I know RAI is slow and inconsistent these days, but 1sec slower than HAM… in what’s supposed to be a faster car… it’s impossible. What are the chances something like that is true, 1 in 1.000.000?! Poor guy had the fastest car, yet HAM managed to beat his lap times by 1sec as soon as he was in free air. So, if RAI would have been in the same machinery as HAM, the difference should have been even bigger in HAM’s favor – like 1.5sec per lap. Come on, I know RAI is mostly finished and HAM is overall the best out there, but nobody can believe even RAI is slower than HAM like 1.5sec per lap. It would mean HAM is so fast and consistent that he shouldn’t have any problem winning the champs in a RBR. Then look who’s racing those RBRs and where they finish. Someone really believes HAM is faster than VER?! HAM himself said he has no problem at all keeping up with RAI. So, I really fail to see that fast Ferrari in the race. RAI had a good start, but HAM had the pace to keep up and decided to play it smart instead of playing the slipstream game every lap: he let RAI take the lead and destroy his tyres as much as possible, while he remained behind and saved his car for the final part of the race. If HAM would have kept the lead, pretty sure he would have created a significant gap to RAI and the battle for the victory would have been finished a lot earlier.

    1. Mark in Florida
      3rd September 2018, 16:03

      Well Hamilton has to make it seem like he’s the underdog every time, it’s part of the myth and cult of personality that he’s built up. His Merc was better than the Ferrari in the race at almost every point. Hamilton drove a masterful race while Vettel totally choked again. It’s too late to close the barn door after the cows got out and that’s what Vettel did. He should have left room for Hamilton and then overtook him at the other corner like Kimi did but panic set in immediately and he ruined his own race. My preference would be to get rid of Vettel and get someone else in the seat, he’s a waste of Ferraris time and money. He doesn’t have the calm ruthlessness needed to win like Schumacher did. Sorry Ferrari it’s all over for this year.

  15. If they did it every lap, I think we’d have something to say.

    Only ‘think’ ?

    This Dinosaur needs pushing out of F1. It used to be cosy having these wise old farts hanging around the circus, times have changed though.

    1. This weekend must have seen you off Big Joe 😂

    2. Couldn’t agree more. Out of touch with reality. Nostalgic value only

  16. A quick question.
    Was that the last Italian GP on this version of the circuit? I seem to remember that there are/were plans to redevelop the first chicane, curva grande etc in the winter of 18/19 But has that plan been scrapped?

    1. IIRC the plan was to make the changes already for this year, but as we saw, nothing happened. Don’t know if they’ll do something during the winter then.

  17. Yesterday. You mean first race on this config? If so, 2000.

  18. “Booing just makes me stronger, Hamilton tells Ferrari fans”

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