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Grid drop for bad pit stops in Formula 1

A new rule has been implicated into Formula 1 that at all Grand Prix’s, if the pit stops aren’t safe and one car leaves with a loose tyre, the team will be given a 10 place grid drop. This new grid drop rule is entered into the sport following the tyre incident at the German Grand Prix which saw a tyre from Mark Webber’s car fly off after not being put on properly as it injured a cameraman in the pit stop area. The Red Bull team didn’t manage to put Webber’s rear right tyre on properly and as he drove away, the tyre flew off at high speed, bounced and hit a cameraman, injuring him badly.

The cameraman suffered a broken shoulder and cracked ribs from the bouncing tyre and as a reaction, the FIA immediately banned all cameramen from the pit stop stations. However, after overlooking the original ban, the FIA realised it was a bit extreme so have calmed down on the rule. From each live broadcaster, there will be only one reporter and one cameraman allowed in the pit lane during practice, whilst only a total of 25 journalists and photographers will be allowed into the pit lane during the practice session.

Teams will be careful following the grid drop rule

The new grid drop rule will take place immediately at this weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix and it will be active in the practice rounds as well as in the qualifying stages and actual race. If a dangerous pit stop is made during the practice or qualifying rounds, the grid drop will happen in the actual race of the same Grand Prix. However, if it happens in the actual race, like it did at the German Grand Prix, then the grid drop will initiate for the next Grand Prix. Furthermore, the pit lane speed limit has been reduced to 80 kmh from 100 kmh during the practice sessions.

Red Bull’s Mark Webber was the driver of the car whose tyre flew off and hurt the cameraman. After there being a discussion in the sport about having a minimum time in the pit lanes, Webber commented, “I think there still needs to be a competition in the pit lane. Motorsport is dangerous. We know that. Maybe there are ways to keep the competition but have less technology. I’m sure they’ll find a way so there is still competition but maybe make it a bit safer.”

However, Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso talked about how he wants safety, “When something happens in terms of safety, we must react. I don’t think anyone would disagree with improving safety, but it is difficult to find an agreement on the way to do it. I think reducing the speed limit is something that cannot be bad because it is the same for all the teams and it is less risk for the competitors. If they find a solution to increase the pit-stop time to improve safety and it is the same for all the teams, I think no-one will disagree.”

Author Daniel Foster
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