FIA To Present Pit Stop Solution To F1 Teams | Performance Racing Industry
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FIA To Present Pit Stop Solution To F1 Teams
April 23, 2018
The FIA vowed to investigate after five unsafe releases from pit stops in three Formula 1 Grand Prix weekends. Now the governing body’s F1 Race Director Charlie Whiting is set to present his possible solution to teams in the coming weeks.
FIA To Present Pit Stop Solution To F1 Teams

The FIA vowed to investigate after five unsafe releases from pit stops in three Formula 1 Grand Prix weekends. Now the governing body’s F1 Race Director Charlie Whiting is set to present his possible solution to teams in the coming weeks.

McLaren was fined for releasing Stoffel Vandoorne’s car in an unsafe manner during practice in China. That came after Kimi Raikkonen had two incidents in Bahrain, including one which saw him inadvertently knock over and break the leg of one of his mechanics.

In Australia, Haas experienced two unsafe releases to make five in total during race weekends in 2018, while McLaren’s Fernando Alonso had a wheel fitted incorrectly during pre-season testing.

Pit stops have advanced dramatically in recent years, with teams able to fit new tires and get their drivers back out in a matter of seconds.

The systems that control when the driver is released from a stop are individual to the teams and semi-automated, with the mechanic on the wheelgun pressing a button when his change is complete. When all four wheels are done, the driver is given a green light. Each team appoints a mechanic who can override the system.

One solution to improve the procedure would be to mandate using two wheel gun sensors – a system some teams are already operating.

One sensor measures the torque, which can judge whether the nut has been tightened correctly, and the other monitors the position of the nut and would, therefore, identify if it has been cross-threaded – as happened to Haas twice in Australia.

“I don't think there's any reason to standardize [the system]. We need to make sure among other things that there is no possibility for the guy to give the OK until those two conditions have been met," Whiting said.

“Some teams have a torque sensor on the gun and they have a position sensor. If you only have the torque sensor, you can gun the nut on and it can be cross-threaded and it'll show the required torque but it won't be tight, which is what happened to both Haas cars for example and the McLaren on Friday [in China].

“So some teams have got that as well as a position sensor, so if it gets to the required torque and it hasn't moved the right amount, then it says it's not done.

“So you're using two sensors in order to tell the operator that it’s actually done. Then he presses the button, the jack drops and the car goes.”