FIA to investigate pitstop safety

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Cars being released from the pitstops with unsafe wheels and a mechanic breaking a leg have raised serious concerns about pitstop safety in Formula 1. As examples, both Haas cars left the area with loose wheels in Australia and a mechanic for Ferrari had his leg snapped in an incident in Bahrain.

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The FIA is investigating the procedure; however, Haas F1 driver Kevin Magnussen does not believe it is time to impose the mandatory minimum pitstop time of five seconds. He said it is not possible to change the tyres much faster, so the teams should focus on being more reliable and safe rather than looking at ways to shave off fractions of seconds during pitstops. The average pitstop time has fallen from just over four seconds in 2010 to less than 2.5 seconds today for tyre changes.

Minimum time for pitstops

Jean Todt, the FIA president, has said the pitstops need addressing and that they are too complex. Either teams need to look at their procedures or F1 could slow down the pitstops; however, a minimum time for pitstops would be unpopular, as these can be a crucial factor in deciding a race. They are also exciting and F1 must be keen to keep the dramatic choreography of pitstops that can be so competitive. This is why teams sometimes take a risk and push themselves to try to save time, which can lead to unsafe releases.

High levels of research and tracking the cars is undertaken on a regular basis both to provide data for improving the performance of the cars and to help with safety measures on the track. These tracking devices will be similar to the ones provided by Fleet Vehicle Tracking  company It is following the analysis of these research operations as well as video footage of the races that changes in regulations and racing protocols take place.

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You can even join in the debate about pitstop safety and their role in racing. An article in the Sportsman even asked whether pitstops, tyres and safety cars will decide this year’s F1 season. In the Chinese Grand Prix, it has been argued that the safety car and a stroke of luck saw Daniel Ricciardo drive on the freshest tyres while having the fastest car at the final flag. There needs to be a very fine line between safety and keeping the thrills of the F1 pitstop intact.

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