Wheel gun, Circuit de Catalunya, 2019

Formula 1 to ban pit equipment upgrades

RaceFans Round-up

Posted on

| Written by

In the round-up: Formula 1 teams will be banned from upgrading their pit stop equipment from September.

Social media

Notable posts from Twitter, Instagram and more:

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

Comment of the day

What does the future hold for F1 fuels?

I could see biofuels or synthetic fuels playing a role in a transitional period between fossil fuels and full hydrogen/electric F1 cars. Maybe this is something being considered for the 2026 formula, dependent on the performance of these fuels and their appeal to manufacturers.

At the end of the day though, even though the lifecycle may be described as carbon neutral, biofuels and synthetic fuels still result in emission of CO2 and other potentially harmful gases at point of use. So I think it’s likely these would only be used in an interim period, and won’t be the long term future of either conventional transport or F1.
Keith Campbell (@Keithedin)

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Beninlux, Jonathanproc and Vikenbauer!

If you want a birthday shout-out tell us when yours is via the contact form or adding to the list here.

On this day in F1

  • 30 years ago today Martin Brundle, John Nielsen and Price Cobb won the Le Mans 24 Hours (the first with chicanes on the Mulsanne straight) in a Jaguar XJR-12. Brundle replaced Eliseo Salazar after his original car suffered electrical problems.

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...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

39 comments on “Formula 1 to ban pit equipment upgrades”

  1. Brawn pushing to ban everything now. It’ll be timewarp stuck in 2010. Formula Nascar.

    And people thought Bernie was a dictator.

    1. Agreed. The battle to design the best jacks is a key area of interest for fans the world over.

      As if a global crisis necessitates a reduction in spending! Madness.

      1. @bookoi the thing is, whilst it might be a noble idea, it has been very poorly executed in practice. In fact, some teams have noted that the way it has been implemented is so clumsy that it has actually made the short term situation worse and resulted in an increase in spending right now.

        By introducing a single date by which all pit equipment must be homologated by, it’s resulted in multiple teams spending far more in the short term to buy as much new equipment as they could before that homologation requirement kicked in – any upgrades that were planned for, say, two or three years down the line have to be done now, otherwise you’ll never be able to upgrade that equipment.

        It might reduce capital spending over the longer term, but in the short term it’s actually had a negative impact and driven spending up.

  2. How about just forgetting ‘hydrogen’ as a potential racing fuel? The volume of liquid hydrogen for the same energy content is about four times that of petrol. Current regulations allow about 150 L of petrol at the start, so one would need about 600 L of liquid hydrogen to provide the same amount of energy. Add in the temperature/pressure requirements of liquid hydrogen and it just isn’t going to happen.

  3. thepostalserviceisbroke (@thepostalserviceisbroke)
    17th June 2020, 2:29

    Budget caps, budget caps. Why don’t they just have a budget cap encompassing all R&D and build, then leave it up to the teams to allocated the resources as they see fit? Seriously…stopping teams from developing pit lane gear?

    1. Indeed, @thepostalserviceisbroke. A budget cap should allow a simpler rule book and more freedom for the teams.

      1. Though it has to be noted that the budget cap starts several months after that Sept.30 data wrt. the pit equipment @thepostalserviceisbroke, @coldfly – and likewise, I think it is reasonable to initially keep a bit tighter grip in the first period of the cap, so that it’s effect can be felt before opening up where possible.

  4. I’m actually wondering whether or not one of the big teams is gaming the system by distracting the FIA/Liberty with a “look we can gain an advantage by….” so that the FIA bans it while they’re distracted from what they are really working on.

    Bans like this seem to be such small potatoes in terms of potential gain.

    1. @dbradock You could have stopped at small potatoes but rather decided to show your continued big paranoia.

      Bans like these offer the types of invisible low hanging fruit kind of savings across the grid that will not affect the product negatively one iota, but when added up with other small potato items, can help toward a more sustainable F1. And it will help the environment for the teams to have one less set of things to have to keep throwing out in favour of some nanosecond saving wheel gun or what have you to replace what was actually working sufficiently well already. It makes perfect sense to take this right out of the teams’ budgets to make way for development of things that matter much more.

      1. @Robbie – so good to see that you’re still here to wave the Liberty flag and espouse the virtues of making savings.

        You completely missed my point as you often do by thinking that I have some sort of paranoia about changes. What I said about this one was that it was small potatoes and really the difference that can be gained is indeed (as you rightly say) about a nanosecond.

        I was wondering out loud whether or not the larger teams are deliberately encouraging the FIA/Liberty to look at these sorts of bans to distract them from regulating much more important areas – something by the way that you do care about. I still don’t – that’s what the cap is for and if a team wants to spend ridiculously on a piece of pit equipment to save a nanosecond then more fool them – they’ll be losing the opportunity to spend elsewhere.

        The reality is that a ban like this is small potatoes in the larger scheme of things which is all I was saying.

        1. @dbradock I think you’ve missed my point. And your own. If this is small potatoes and that is ‘all’ you’re saying, then it does not warrant being turned into some conspiracy theory about teams distracting FIA/Liberty, like they can be distracted in such a way. I think FIA/Liberty/Brawn are smart enough to not be so distracted from some shiny object over there, such that they will then forget about or forgive other things. I think it unnecessary to take the approach that this pit gear equipment development ban is something the teams presented as a distraction. Rather, isn’t this the governing body making the decision for the teams, by doing their job of governing, in order to take something out of the budget and save the smaller teams from having to be disadvantaged even when it comes to pit stop gear?

          You’re trying to make a mountain out of a potato mound, as you often do, so no, small potatoes is not all you are saying. If you thought it was small potatoes you would have left it at that.

  5. I really respect Lewis for taking a knee voluntarily. I took a knee on a football pitch once and I couldn’t walk straight for a week.

  6. Good to see how F1 is reacting to Lewis’ intended protest: “ This is a very important issue and we support anyone who wants to show their support in the fight against racism.”

    Of course the protest will be more powerful in your own country and in the USA where it all started and the issues are arguably bigger than in Austria.

    1. @coldfly It would not surprise me if it is seen every race this season.

      1. @coldfly Yes glad to see Hamilton speaking up and F1 seemingly supporting his views. I do hope that all the other drivers join his protests too though – it would not be great messaging to see the only black driver in F1 protesting while all the other drivers stand.

  7. COTD, there are alternatives for bio fuels which have a very short CO2 loop. For example the creation of methanol with the help from captured CO2 and renewable hydrogen. Methanol is a good race fuel aswell apart from the low energy density.

    1. And apart from the invisible flame.

      1. It is easily extinguished by dilution with water though.

  8. Not only the economic aspect but also the climate is something to take into account as Hockenheim’s window for achieving certain temps isn’t as wide as that of the European circuits within the Mediterranean climate zone.

  9. I remember seeing a BBC clip about F1 last year, and in it was a Mercedes employee saying that a wheel gun cost £60,000. One wheel gun.

    Whether that is a good or bad thing is down to the individual, but Ross Brawn clearly sees it as money not well spent.

    1. >Ross Brawn clearly sees it as money not well spent

      @unicron2002 right, but shouldn’t be the team the one who decides, under a budget cap, where its money are better spent?

      1. AJ (@asleepatthewheel)
        17th June 2020, 8:38

        @m-bagattini exactly! If a team wants to buy 100 wheel guns for 6 million, then it is their choice! As long as it is being accounted for, I don’t see any harm in a team spending as it wishes to, while staying within the rules.

        1. tony mansell
          17th June 2020, 13:02

          Id rather they spent it on the car, the money spent is obscene and post covid needs neutering. We had plenty of good races in the 70s when the teams brought a mechanic and the drivers girlfriend to do the timing.

          If you want to see technically excellent wheel nut guns may I suggest your love of F1 needs recalibrating

    2. @unicron2002 are you sure that you haven’t made a mistake about the cost?

      The type of wheel gun that most teams use seems to be a Paoli DP6000, which is also widely used in IndyCar, IMSA, WEC and Formula 2, amongst other series. You can buy those wheel guns for less than £6,000 – that cost of £60,000 sounds much more like it would be to equip the entire garage, not just for a single wheel gun. Are you sure that you haven’t made a bit of a mix up there?

      Furthermore, that is also a bit of a misleading price as well – surely the other question is going to be “what is the lifespan of that wheel gun”? If you are able to spread that cost out over an extended period of time, then once you get over the initial investment to equip your crew, replacement costs per year probably aren’t actually that high.

      Practically speaking, are teams actually throwing away that much kit at the end of a season or really spending that heavily on pit equipment? If you look at the actual equipment that is used, the equipment hasn’t actually evolved that much over the years – mechanically, for example, most wheel guns probably haven’t changed much, if at all, over the past decade.

      If you look at most teams, what has actually changed in terms of the equipment that the teams are using these days compared to, say, 10 years ago? The only really major change in how pit crews operate was Ferrari’s introduction of the lighting system, and that was 12 years ago – has the equipment used in the pits itself actually changed that radically since, say, 2010?

      It has led to some suggesting that the amount that might be saved from this measure is pretty negligible in reality and it is really more of a symbolic change than a practical one.

  10. I don’t see the point of banning all development within F1 and at the same time have a budget cap.

    Th cap meets the objectives of cost savings by definition, while banning all development and change simply stops innovation and enables the less dynamic teams from showing their superiority.

    The aim seems to be to manage everything down to a level where even the least innovative, least efficient, least imaginative, least motivated, least team spirited outfit can compete.

    That is not F1.

    I am not at all sure its sensible to allow overt political gestures as that too may well have unintended consequences however valid the current cause it is to support. If a precedent is set think what political knots the sport might tie itself if, say, Russia or China want to demonstrate a ’cause’, or when some ’cause’ is promoted at a race what some fanatic opposing it might take it into their heads to do in response.

    1. Except that they aren’t banning all development within F1.

      1. @robbie The powers that be are giving the impression they want to and will do as much of it as they can, whether it makes sense to do it or not.

        1. @alianora-la-canta While the rhetoric from armchairers that think F1 is heading full spec abounds, they choosing to read into it what they want, I from my armchair have only seen Brawn and his team work with, negotiate, and make compromises alongside the teams in a combined effort to make a better product that is sustainable and more affordable and therefore more attractive to the audience and to sponsors. They are taking necessary measures as agreed by the teams.

          Is it ideal? No. Would I love it if they had unlimited budgets for unlimited innovation? For sure. Or even just less restrictions than are being implemented, yes again. But that is simply not today’s reality and the teams know it which is why they have agreed the terms. Sign on the dotted line with a frown rather than a smile, sure, but Brawn nor the teams would ever agree to banning all development as per Witan’s first sentence, and the frowns would be a lot bigger if these teams no longer had an F1 within which to play and do what they love and get rich while doing it.

          Let‘s recall all that has brought F1 to this brink to which F1 has been brought, largely by particularly the last decade of BE placating the big 4 teams and giving them the power because of his money grab with CVC, which the big teams happily ran with, while running F1 into the ground at the same time. Yeah in a large part the teams brought these restrictions upon themselves, and they know it. Of course they’d love to still have what they had, but that was obviously pie in the sky, and now reality has bit.

          1. @robbie Unfortunately what Liberty and the FIA have been doing does not appear to be compatible with making a better, more sustainable or more affordable product. It’s the teams (or some of the teams) that have been forcing that on Liberty and the FIA, from what I’ve seen. It was McLaren that pushed for budget caps this iteration, and then for them to be made lower and lower.

            A lot of the “spec parts” have proven more expensive than the cheapest versions that were in use by F1 teams prior to their introduction, which raised the minimum cost of competition (a bigger factor than reducing the maximum cost of competition, which is what a rigidly-enforced budget cap does). Also, it is far easier for a budget cap to be broken without being detected by the big factory teams than the smaller teams – it is fortunate for the FIA that there’s about to be a recession, because that’s the only thing that would allow the facade to hold long enough for any championships under the budget cap to have any credibility as championships. In practise, after the recession, budget caps are likely to raise the minimum cost of F1 – possibly to above what can be obtained within the regulations – not reduce it as Liberty and the FIA claim.

            The enforced expensive hybrid engines have made things much more difficult to afford, and it was only teams being threatened with the loss of their customers due to bankruptcy that got that changed. Nothing apart from the fixed engine cost has been proposed to reduce the minimum cost of competition (the actual sustainability issue in F1) and no evidence so far that Liberty or the FIA even realises that’s an issue.

            Unequal financial distribution is a big factor, but that could have been easily fixed by an a la carte payment system. But there doesn’t seem to be much interest in that from Liberty or the FIA, only in changing the nature of the skew a little, which says everything I need to know about how little interest the powers-that-be have in making a quality championship.

  11. Helmut Marko says it was a ‘generous gesture’ by the Red Bull Ring operators to let Renault test at the track.

    Having read the article, I am sure glad that Red Bull couldn’t block this – otherwise, how could the Spielberg team ever hope to show the other teams Red Bull get equal, and not better treatment whenever they visit the track?

    I mean, I get that he’s sour that, like McLaren for similar reasons, Red Bull cannot easily test a two year old car (though they could probably have directed Alpha Tauri to go to Spielberg, rather than the much closer to factory Imola), but race team and track need to be separate. He could also praise, without being cynical, the F1,FIA, and track people for trying to make sure any team that has the car to test, can test. You’d almost think he is worried about Renault’s pace, though I am sure it is just his natural lack of generosity to what he sees as competition/sour grapes to an ex-supplier.

    PS. for those that haven’t read it, the issue for Renault was that between France, where the engine team is, and Enstone,UK there’s still a partial lockdown/quarantine rule which made it hard to impossible to test at either Silverstone, or Paul Ricard, which is why they were allowed to come to Spielberg for a test later this month. Is it unfair that McLaren,Red Bull have been disadvantaged due to the current rules? Yes, I don’t much like that and it is a pity they couldn’t figure out something together, that would have been good.

  12. Lewis don’t take a knee, it can be quite dangerous. Do the good old raised clenched fist.

  13. Adam (@rocketpanda)
    17th June 2020, 12:25

    No issue with Hamilton taking a knee. Maybe the whole podium should do so in solidarity. Though, this is assuming Hamilton’s on the podium.

    1. Surely Lewis doesn’t have to be on the podium for this to happen? One of the major ideas of BLM is to engage the support of people of all races and ethnic backgrounds. Mind you, I’m a Lewis fan so I want him on the top step!

  14. tony mansell
    17th June 2020, 13:18

    Could be excruciating if Lewis does it but others don’t.

    Personally I wouldn’t do it, I think its patronising, that’s just IMHO. Far better to act with equality in mind than an empty gesture and BAU

  15. Adam Blumenthal
    17th June 2020, 14:01

    I’d love to see some sort of Scarbs review of the pit equipment. What does that jack weigh? Titanium? Adamantium? Are the wheel guns filled with helium to spin faster?

    1. I believe they are required to use air or nitrogen only. Helium is banned.

      1. You are correct – compressed air of compressed nitrogen are the two types of gas which may be used.

        As for the jack itself, scarbs has actually talked about the jacks they use in the past and pointed out that they’re not anything particularly fancy – it’s mostly pretty bog standard tubular steel, with a few machined aluminium pieces for the release mechanism to drop the car back to the ground (some bits, like the nylon wheels, are basic off the shelf components you could probably find at a regular hardware shop). https://scarbsf1.wordpress.com/2012/07/05/f1-jack-technology/

        Some people have claimed fairly extravagant figures for the cost of a jack, but it seems somewhat implausible when it really isn’t that sophisticated – I’d wager that the basic mechanics of it are simple enough that somebody with a decent workshop and reasonable metalworking skills could probably produce something reasonably similar pretty cheaply.

  16. Broccoliface
    17th June 2020, 16:02

    I’ve heard they’re going with chipshop oil for the next engine regs. Like my dad’s old converted Rover 45.

  17. Worst argument ever. Let’s never strive to improve life for any group of people because someone, somewhere is always worse off. Idiotic.

Comments are closed.