Robert Kubica, Williams, Singapore, 2019

F1 unlikely to approve two mandatory pit stops rule

2020 F1 season

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Formula 1 is unlikely to approve a rules change requiring drivers to use all three different sets of tyre compounds during a race, according to Pirelli motorsport director Mario Isola.

The rule would effectively force drivers to make at least two pit stops per race instead of the current one. However Isola said the regulation would most likely reduce the variation between teams’ strategies.

“There was a discussion about that,” Isola confirmed in Singapore. “My feeling is that it’s not going to be approved because giving an additional constraint that means using all the three compounds is just, not obliging, but you push the teams to go all in the same direction.

“So if the target is to have different strategies we’re not going in [that] direction.”

Meanwhile a plan to prevent teams using certain compounds in practice may be approved for the 2020 F1 season only, Isola explained.

“There was also a discussion about the possibility to use only specific compounds in free practice, not to give the opportunity to the teams to collect too much information, so add a bit of unpredictability to the race on Sunday,” he said. “But that means that for teams with young drivers it’s a big disadvantage.”

“It is maybe possible for 2020 because we have a size of tyre, a type of tyre, that is well known for the teams.

“In 2021 we have 18 inches and a car that is completely new, we are in an area of unknown, that means that for the young drivers it would be very difficult. They have no more tests, or reduced tests and on top of that they cannot use some compounds during free practice. You can imagine how difficult it could be for a young driver.”

Any change to the sporting regulations for 2020 would require the unanimous agreement of the teams.

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37 comments on “F1 unlikely to approve two mandatory pit stops rule”

  1. Good. We’re supposed to be developing regulations that reduce the need for artificial overtaking opportunities not increase them.

  2. Magnus Rubensson (@)
    25th September 2019, 8:51

    If all these regulations had been in place 60 years ago F1 cars would still have the engine in the front.

    1. I thought cars with engines in the back started in the 1950s?

      1. OK – it was 1960- Lotus

        1. Technically it was in the 1930’s with Auto Union.

          But in the world championship era it was Cooper in 1957.

          1. @geemac, as you note, there are examples of cars with a mid-rear mounted engine and rear wheel drive in Grand Prix racing before WW2 (there are actually examples that pre-date Auto Union, such as the 1923 Benz Tropfenwagen).

            Whilst the first car recognised as a mid-rear engine, rear wheel drive car was a Cooper, officially the first such car raced in a Grand Prix in the current era was a Cooper T12 entered for the 1950 Monaco Grand Prix by Harry Schell.

            Now, I will concede that the Cooper T12 was technically a Formula 2 car, not a Formula 1 car – mid-engined cars actually began appearing in Formula 2 and Formula 3 about a decade before Formula 1 made the jump – so you could argue it wasn’t the first purpose built Formula 1 car that was a mid-engined design. Similarly, the Cooper T40 which made a one-off appearance at the 1955 British Grand Prix was technically a Formula 2 car – although, given it also featured entirely closed bodywork, in many ways it was closer to a single seater sportscar and would certainly not fit the popular modern perception of what a Formula 1 car was.

            If you are looking for the first purpose built Formula 1 car that had a mid-rear engine configuration, then the answer would actually be the Bugatti T251, which was raced in the 1956 French Grand Prix (it was, unfortunately, a total disaster that ended up helping to bankrupt Bugatti and only raced once in F1).

            Technically, you do also have cars that were front mid-engined designs, where the engine was mounted in front of the cockpit but behind the front axle, such as the 1954 Lancia D50 (which was quite a revolutionary design in its own right – Chapman is often wrongly credited as being the first to use the engine block as a stressed member, but the credit should actually go to Vittorio Jano, who came up with the idea over a decade earlier on the D50).

            All of which is a rather discursive way of saying that the original poster might have aimed a jab at what he saw as a restrictive and perhaps reactionary way of developing regulations, but happened to pick a rather poor example in the process.

          2. Magnus Rubensson (@)
            26th September 2019, 12:43

            Yes, it was a jab and yep, I’m reactionary. :)

            My personal opinion is that today’s F1 regulations are over the top.
            Complex regulations will favour the already established big teams (with large budgets) while smaller teams (wich smaller budgets) are forced to spend valuable resources just trying to conform to Rules.

            The current limits on testing are also damaging for smaller teams imho.
            “Backmarker” teams will never get a chance to try out new ideas properly, so they just won’t have a chance to catch up.

            Am I factually wrong?

  3. I fail to understand why restrictions on teams will make a more spiced up show.
    Surely choice is whats required – and lots of it – then teams will choose different strategies.

    At least the 2 stops has been knocked out the park.

    1. Is it not the case that driving slowly with one stop is often better and maintains track positions than driving faster and going through more tyres though?

      I say mandatory 5 stops and the drivers can go flat out all the time with no concern about wearing out their tyres!

      1. 1)Only 5 tyres from softest to hardest given to every driver for the qualifying and race.
        2)Fastest quali lap tyre is also the starting tyre.
        3)No mandatory stops.

      2. That’s the case with cars that can’t really overtake, but if cars can follow and get close and overtake, then maybe more stops and going flat out for longer, could actually be faster

    2. Because the teams are a bunch of clever folk who all come to the same calculations, like @grandmasterorge explained.
      First of all, I’m opposed to any mandatory pitstops for any reason. A team should be able to fill the car up to the brim and put on a tire of their choosing and win with a long game sensible drive, or go for a 5 stopper, ie six scintillating 20 minute qualifying sessions tearing up the asphalt with rubber that’s like soft donut, engine screaming driver steaming with lap record after lap record after lap record finally ending the last five laps behind the long gamers ducking and diving looking for a way around every corner every breaking point and coming to the line and…!!…..

      …Bwoah, sorry ’bout that. I’ll get me coat.

      1. I like your idea in principle, but in practice pitstops take too long for there to be much strategic variation.

        The thing to do, in that case, is to have lots of mandatory stops – with no obligation to change tyres if they don’t want to.

        If everyone has to drive through the pitlane five times per race, actual stops would cost a handful of seconds. We’re much more likely to see a driver pit and change tyres if he has 5s to make up than 25s.

        1. Dave, the problem is the speed limit in the pits – just driving through the pitlane without stopping is considered a severe penalty. If they really wanted to spice up the show, FIA/Liberty could raise the pitlane speed limit to 200kph.

          I’m opposed to any mandatory stops. With the budget cap coming and many people losing their jobs with the teams, the humane thing to do is introduce rolling pitstops.

          Take the expanded crew to the drivers, not the other way. This rolling stop concept has already been proven by the braintrust from the Grand Tour, so we know it’s very entertaining.

          1. To be pedantic, the problem – we’re agreed – is that too much time is lost in the pitlane due to the pitlane speed limit.

            Logically, we can either raise the limit, or reduce the time loss by shortening the pitlane, or give an offsetting shortcut. The only question is which is easier.

  4. One way to make is more exciting would be to limit the amount of money allowed for cars and drivers. There is absolutely no parity in the racing. There are three teams that are competing for the title while the rest ride around playing follow the leaders. Other factors are limiting the input from the pits. Make it where the drivers are more in control with decisions. Bring back refueling and a mandatory two pit race by increasing the length and time of the races. No more team order crap. Engine makers when selling to other teams have to sell the exact same engine along with all specs that they have for their own teams. There needs to be more, but a good start would be the amount of money being equal for all teams for all types of divisions.

    1. to address most of your points,
      – you can’t limit the amount of money allowed for drivers. if a team wants to spend 50m on a driver let them. the point of F1 is that the drivers are the best in the world and to do that you need money
      – how would increasing the race length help with anything?
      – team orders were banned until about 8 years ago. the ban was lifted because the rule is un-enforceable (look up “Fernando is faster than you”)
      – engine makers already sell the exact same engine to the customer teams since 2016 I think

    2. “Engine makers when selling to other teams have to sell the exact same engine along with all specs that they have for their own teams. ”

      I always laugh when people bring this up, AS IF we are seeing customer teams blowing thru engines! Honestly, it shows a bad understanding of the sport…Mercedes gets an advantage over racing point because they know what the engine is gonna be shaped like long before they get one… and if they need a little extra clearance here… they might be able to modify next years engine for that. Engine supplying teams also get to learn from having 6-8 engines in the field, instead of only 2…

      Long story short, there’s a million reasons why a supplier team gain advantages over customer teams, even with identical engines ( are two engines ever really IDENTICAL??, I’d say no). Nothing is stopping redbull from making their own engines… there’s no reason to punish excellence by knee capping Mercedes or Ferrari.

  5. When Liberty Media took over Formula 1 three years ago, there was some relief and anticipation that finally things will be done right. The only worry was that they are Americans engaged in entertainment business, but their own initial proclamations assured us that their aim was to restore the sport to its rightful heritage. But now, they just keep rehashing those strange ideas that nobody really likes…and even if they are basically rejected, such proposals somehow remain being discussed. I am now beginning to fear that it might be only a matter of time, before someone gives in and we will have ballast or reverse grids or any other such nonsense.

  6. Too much fiddling. They should just let them race and qualify on what they want. Start the race on what you want.

    There is no need to make this so complicated.

    1. @vjanik Agree! There’s too many restrictions already. The only new restriction I’d support is that there should be a restriction on restrictions!

  7. How about no forced stops and let teams do what they want?

    There can be excitement with a no stopper clinging on to the lead while a one or two stopper tries to race back up to them and overtake.

  8. 1)Only 5 tyres from softest to hardest given to every driver for the qualifying and race.
    2)Fastest quali lap tyre is also the starting tyre.
    3)No mandatory stops.

  9. If we’re gonna have any restrictions on tyre usage I say we give them 3 sets of each of the 3 compounds for the entire season. Get rid of all the other tyre regs, sit back and enjoy the chaos.

    Seriously though the manufacturers can probably produce a set that could do five races. Chucking so many sets in the bin is expensive and not very green. Let’s go the same direction as drive train components.

    1. Not very green? Go watch formula E bruh. And no manufacturer could make a 5 race tire from elements available on this planet. The cars are too heavy and too fast.

  10. The best way to tackle this situation… reduce the time it takes to do a pitstop to encourage more of them!

    We need to think about increasing the pit-lane speed limit – it’s waaay too slow. The issue is safety. Engineers on the pitwall are not necessary, nor are the 100+ cameras and journalists in the pits. Reduce the amount of mechanics allowed in the pitlane by putting a firm number on it. An extra 1-2s changing tyres is quickly eradicated by doing half a mile at double the speed they currently do.

    I don’t know about you but this is the quickest and easiest way possible to solve the issue and I honestly can’t see how this will negatively effect anyone (except for the ‘I dont like change’ argument).

    1. Surely it would be safer if they just imposed the same speed limit on the start-finish straight…

    2. I agree about the effect of quicker stops. I’ve suggested double sided pitlanes, to halve the length. But the simplest solution at many circuits might be to extend the pitlanes so they take a shortcut compared to the main track.

      Singapore is a great example. The pitlane rejoins before turn 3, but it could easily skip it and save a few seconds. We don’t want to make it too effective, of course, but taking 5-10s off Singapore’s particularly big time loss doesn’t seem a bad plan.

      1. @Dave ”The pitlane rejoins before turn 3, but it could easily skip it” – Easier said than done, though.

        1. Well, yes. Anything involving construction equipment is easier to talk about than to do. But on the scale of F1 track expenditure it’s nothing.

          It’s easy in the sense of having no major problems in design.

  11. They need to approve it. Just because the cars go the distance without refuelling does not necessarily mean that the cars are more or less efficient.

  12. My tip, to repeat myself yet again, is for all cars to start on their qually tyre and then oblige them to use the same tyre twice during the race (except when wet of course). Makes the strategic choices rather more interesting as you have to use your qually tyre once more during the race.
    Could also make it dependent on whether or not they stop, so zero stops would still be an option – but tricky unless they qualifed on hard tyres.

  13. As with fuel, stop limiting strategy. They’re slow.

  14. Lets make this as uncomplicated as possible. The teams select the tires before the events just as is the case now. Then they can use the tires just as they please during the entire weekend. Also being able to mix and match different compounds at the same time on the car. Total freedom of strategy in other words.

  15. Once again, the FIA / Liberty folks demonstrate that they don’t understand the basic problem– You’re trying to enforce behavior by making rules, and completely ignoring the fact that the engineers’ job is to exploit those rules in such a way as to guarantee their car finishes first.

    Multiple pit stops, overtaking, racing flat out– these are all side issues. The goal is to cross the finish line ahead of everyone else. Period.

    You want more exciting racing? Change the rules so that racing faster is a benefit to the teams. You want more stops, more variety? Three tires, two choices, refueling.

  16. Just scrap the Q2-tyre rule altogether. Let everyone start the races on any set left, not just the ones who failed to reach Q3.

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