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Drivers back pit-stops.


Much has been blamed for the current malaise in Formula One, with a lack of overtaking high on the list of faults, but, even as the powers that be ponder the future technical direction of the sport, a few of those involved most intimately insist that some things must not change.

Asked during Thursday's FIA press conference whether the sport would be better off without pit-stops for refuelling and tyre changes - as has been suggested by the soon-to-retire David Coulthard - three of the four drivers present admitted that the interruptions still presented the best opportunity for change during races.

"We see now that most of the overtaking taking place at the pit-stops so, without them, we probably will be running behind each other more, nothing really happening," world champion Kimi Raikkonen pointed out, before addressing a second concern - one that was particularly relevant to him.

The Ferrari driver had been hoping to gain places on his final stop during the European Grand Prix in Valencia two weeks ago, but a misjudgement when attempting to leave his stall saw the Finn drag his refueller to the floor, resulting in a broken toe and heavy bruising.

"Sometimes people get hurt in the pit-stops," Raikkonen admitted, "but that's part of racing. It hasn't been too bad."

Coulthard claimed, in a recent column for British F1 broadcaster ITV, that tactical pit-stops had removed some of the onus previously placed on drivers to preserve their cars through the entire race distance.

“From my point of view, a bigger drawback of refuelling is that it detracts from the racing by turning the grand prix into a series of low-fuel sprints between pit-stops," DC wrote, "In the days when you carried your entire race fuel load on board the car, there was a much bigger role for the driver in managing the tyres and brakes. These days, in dry conditions, you very rarely see anyone win from further back than the second row of the grid, because race pace largely mirrors qualifying pace.”

The current 15-year history of refuelling stops in Formula One has also provided some of the sport's most visually dramatic - and dangerous - moments, with Jos Verstappen's Hockenheim inferno being repeated, thankfully on a smaller scale, over the years. But the drivers still wouldn't do away with them in the current climate.

"Hopefully, we will see more overtaking next year with the new regulations but, until we've had a couple of races, we don't know," said Nick Heidfeld, who proved at Silverstone that passing was still possible on the track when conditions allow, "As we all know, overtaking is so difficult that I think it would be a good idea to keep the pit-stops to at least see some."

Rookie Kazuki Nakajima, whose 2007 GP2 season showed that he was capable of manufacturing opportunities to gain position, shared the opinions of his veteran colleagues.



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
David Coulthard (GBR) Reb Bull RB4 Pitstop, Hungarian F1, Hungaroring, 1st-3rd, August, 2008
Kimi Raikkonen tests the 2017 F1 tyres in Abu Dhabi [credit: Pirelli]
Kimi Raikkonen tests the 2017 F1 tyres in Abu Dhabi [credit: Pirelli]
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Pirelli 2017 tyre test [Credit: Pirelli]
27.11.2016 - Race, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016 and 3rd place Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H
27.11.2016 - Race, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016, Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid race winner and 3rd place Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H
27.11.2016 - Race, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016 and 3rd place Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H
27.11.2016 - Race, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016 and 3rd place Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H
27.11.2016 - Race, 3rd place Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H
27.11.2016 - Race, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016 and 3rd place Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H
27.11.2016 - Race, Start of the race, Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB12 and Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H and Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H
27.11.2016 - Race, Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H
27.11.2016 - Race, Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H
27.11.2016 - Race, Max Verstappen (NED) Red Bull Racing RB12
27.11.2016 - Race, Max Verstappen (NED) Red Bull Racing RB12 leads Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid
27.11.2016 - Race,Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H  leads Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB12
27.11.2016 - Race, Felipe Nasr (BRA) Sauber C34 and Max Verstappen (NED) Red Bull Racing RB12
27.11.2016 - Race, Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB12 leads Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H

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Tim - Unregistered

September 05, 2008 12:25 PM

Kimi seems pretty casual about the broken bones of the lesser mortals making up the pitcrews when he runs them over. As long as the injuries happen to someone lower down the foodchain and he''s still earning tens of millions of dollars for his mediocre sunday driving, it''ll still be ''not so bad'', I guess.

rich ard

September 06, 2008 8:38 AM

surely these are meant to be RACES. i dont understand the comments of kimi etc who say that pit stops are the places for changes in position. granted that the races are processional, but the object of any reform should be to ensure that place changes take place ON THE TRACK, and not because some mechanic (who only is in action for 8 secs) fumbles a wheel nut change. aero appendages are the main reason for no overtaking. maybe the new "clean cars" of 2009 will go someway to allow overtaking, although the rear wings may well disturb the airflow enough to unsettle a following car. pit stops should be a "penalty" for those who dont carry enough fuel, or wear out their tyres.



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