Horner: FIA clampdown could make F1 pitstops more dangerous

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner thinks Formula 1 pitstops could be made more dangerous by new timing restrictions imposed by the FIA.

Ahead of the Styrian Grand Prix, the FIA issued a new technical directive aimed at ensuring teams were not using automated sensors to speed up certain elements of their tyre changing processes.

From the Hungarian GP, F1 teams must ensure that the response of the car being lowered from its jacks and released from its pitbox are based on human reaction times.

There have been suspicions that some teams have found gains by using automated systems to remove the reaction time and therefore complete their stops quicker.

Read Also:

With Red Bull being F1’s benchmark team in terms of pitstop times, Horner is in no doubt that the new TD is part of an effort by rivals to try to slow his squad down.

But he has questioned the reasons behind the FIA move, and thinks that the imposition of minimum response times could end up causing more complications.

“I think that to have to hold the car for two tenths of a second, you could almost argue it's dangerous because you're judging your gaps,” said Horner. “The guy that's releasing the car is having to make that judgement, and I think that it's not been well thought through.

“F1 is about innovation and competition. Seeing pitstops sub two seconds is a remarkable feat and we should be encouraging it, not trying to control it, otherwise where does it stop?

“We're going to be told which way to walk into the garage, where we should sit on the pit wall and which buttons we should press I guess.”

Horner has also questioned why the FIA needed to step in over pitstops at all, with teams already facing huge penalties if they do end up botching their stops.

“I find it a little disappointing,” he said. “It's the duty of the competitor to ensure that the car is safe, and the penalty for a wheel not being fixed is you have to stop the car immediately.

“So it's a brutal punishment, if you haven't got all four wheels securely and safely fastened. So what the technical directive is trying to achieve, I'm not quite sure because I think there's an awful lot of complexity to it.

“But of course when you're in a competitive situation, if you can't be beaten, then obviously the most logical thing is for your competitors to try and slow you down and that's obviously what's happening here.”

With Red Bull being the central focus of the FIA’s pitstop move, there have been suggestions that the change came about after a push from Mercedes to change the rules.

Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff says that is not the case, but he did confirm there was recent communication with the governing body over a system his outfit wanted to use.

“We inquired with the FIA on a safety mechanism, which is related to a system that we were using, and whether that could be optimised,” said Wolff. “That happened, I would say three or four weeks ago. And it was a technology question.

“So did that trigger anything else? Maybe. I don't know. But this is the question we've asked.”

F1 teams have a long history of trying to get devices other teams are using outlawed by proposing similar systems themselves that bring potential rule breaches to light.

shares
comments

Related video

Aston "working on" start date for Red Bull F1 signing Fallows

Previous article

Aston "working on" start date for Red Bull F1 signing Fallows

Next article

Aston Martin signs Red Bull F1 head of aero as new technical director

Aston Martin signs Red Bull F1 head of aero as new technical director
Load comments
The other notable Monza escape that F1 should learn from Prime

The other notable Monza escape that F1 should learn from

OPINION: The headlines were dominated by the Italian Grand Prix clash between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton, who had the halo to thank for avoiding potentially serious injury. But two days earlier, Formula 1 had a lucky escape with a Monza pitlane incident that could also have had grave consequences.

How Monza only added more questions to F1's sprint race conundrum Prime

How Monza only added more questions to F1's sprint race conundrum

With two sprint races under its belt, Formula 1 must now consider its options for them going forward. While they've helped deliver exciting racing on Sundays, the sprints themselves have been somewhat lacking - creating yet another conundrum for F1 to solve...

Formula 1
Sep 16, 2021
Who should Alfa Romeo sign for 2022's F1 season? Prime

Who should Alfa Romeo sign for 2022's F1 season?

OPINION: With Valtteri Bottas already signed up for 2022, all eyes are on the race for the second seat at Alfa Romeo next year. Antonio Giovinazzi is the current incumbent, but faces a tough competition from appealing short and long-term prospects

Formula 1
Sep 15, 2021
The "forced break" that was key to Ricciardo's Monza excellence Prime

The "forced break" that was key to Ricciardo's Monza excellence

OPINION: Daniel Ricciardo has long been considered one of Formula 1's elite drivers. But his struggles at McLaren since switching from Renault for 2021 have been painful to watch at times. Yet he's recovered to banish those memories with a famous Monza win – built on a critically important foundation

Formula 1
Sep 14, 2021
Italian Grand Prix driver ratings Prime

Italian Grand Prix driver ratings

Two drivers produced faultless performances as, for the second year in a row, Monza threw up an unpredictable result that left many to rue what might have been

Formula 1
Sep 13, 2021
Why Ricciardo would have won without Verstappen/Hamilton crash Prime

Why Ricciardo would have won without Verstappen/Hamilton crash

The clash between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton was the major flashpoint the 2021 Italian Grand Prix will be remembered for. Yet by this point, race leader Daniel Ricciardo had already done the hard work that would put him in position to end his and McLaren's lengthy win droughts, on a memorable afternoon in Monza

Formula 1
Sep 13, 2021
Why Italian GP success is on for McLaren even if Verstappen dominates Prime

Why Italian GP success is on for McLaren even if Verstappen dominates

For the second time in 2021, McLaren will line up for the start of a grand prix from the first row. It knows it has the chance of "glory" if things go well for Daniel Ricciardo and Lando Norris at the start of the 2021 Italian Grand Prix, but even if they just maintain their grid positions, signs from the rest of the Monza weekend suggest success is very possible for Formula 1's other orange army

Formula 1
Sep 12, 2021
How Formula 1 has made itself unattractive to new teams Prime

How Formula 1 has made itself unattractive to new teams

OPINION: The Formula 1 cost cap has been billed as a saviour to several teams and helped to guarantee their viability for investors. But there already exists another mechanism that effectively had the same purpose, and serves as a strong deterrent for those with the means to go it alone in setting up a new team

Formula 1
Sep 10, 2021