FIA delays minimum pit stop time enforcement to Belgian GP

SPIELBERG,AUSTRIA,01.JUL.21 – MOTORSPORTS, FORMULA 1 – Grand Prix of Austria, Red Bull Ring, preview. Image shows a test pit stop from Sergio Perez (MEX/ Red Bull Racing).Photo: GEPA pictures/ Manfred Binder // Red Bull Content Pool.

The FIA has delayed a part of its plan to slow down pit stops in F1 after criticism from teams, through a revised technical directive that eases certain areas of the restrictions and lifts the minimum reaction times of 0.15 seconds.

It was earlier directed that certain restrictions were to be implemented, effective from the Hungarian GP, but a revised directive, TD022B, delays the introduction to the Belgian GP. It states that there must be a system to prevent pit stops from continuing if a sensor is used to detect whether a wheel is fastened or not. The decision to go ahead with a pit stop in such a scenario is to be made by the wheel operator, according to the directive.

Alternatively, if sensors are not used, teams must prove to the FIA that their operators can check if a wheel has been tightened through a visual inspection. Similarly, if there is a system governing a sensor-based fastening, the governing software must prevent a premature release by the operator. In the event of an early signal, operators must release the button and re-press it after the nut is tightened.

Earlier, a minimum delay of 0.2s between the jack release and the driver being signaled to exit was to be introduced. The FIA has now directed teams to a delay of at least 0.1s would be permissible, considering an instantaneous to be unsafe.

The earlier directive prompted criticisms from several teams, most significant of whom were Red Bull, who consistently have had the fastest pit-stops. Team Principal Christian Horner suggested it was a result of rivals suggesting ways to slow Red Bull, stating: “Seeing pit stops sub-two-seconds is a remarkable feat and we should be encouraging it, not trying to control it.”

Another person who commented on the directives was McLaren’s team principal Andreas Seidl. Seidl expressed his happiness regarding the changes made and has expressed his understanding of the situation from the FIA’s perspective.

“The main objective of this TD is, first of all, to make sure that pit stops are done in a safe way and anticipate, let’s say, also bad things to happen,” Seidl said. “And second thing is it should also ensure that we all have a level playing field in terms of the interpretation or the application of the regulations. So we are happy with that.

“There was an update on the TD based on feedback that the FIA collected after they sent it out initially from the other teams, which makes sense from our point of view,” Seidl concluded.

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