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Horner admits suspicion over pit stop directive

NEWS STORY
26/06/2021

Agreeing that there is a lot of "pointed activity" in Red Bull's direction from the FIA at present, Christian Horner argues that the new pit stop rules could have the opposite effect to that intended.

Maybe its pure coincidence that, as clearly demonstrated last week in France, having seemingly brushed off recent technical directives relating to bendy wings and tyre pressure manipulation, attention has turned to another area in which Mercedes is clearly losing out to Red Bull, pit stops.

In the name of safety, yet another technical directive has been sent to all the teams advising that from the Hungarian Grand Prix new rules will come into force which are meant to ensure that the various processes during pit stops - such as the moment the wheel nuts are tightened and the signal given to the jack man to drop the car - are scheduled to allow for human reaction.

The move comes days after Red Bull demoralised Mercedes with a powerful undercut on Lewis Hamilton in France and at a time six of the season's fastest stops have been recorded by the Austrian outfit. Indeed, Mercedes doesn't even make the top ten.

Asked if he feels the move is an attempt to thwart his team, Christian Horner replied: "I think you can see there's an awful lot of pointed activity in our direction at the moment, but that comes with the territory of being competitive.

"An awful lot of energy is going into trying to slow the car down," he continued, "which, you know, is obviously what happens in a competitive business. So, it's something that we're used to but I'm not losing too much sleep about."

The FIA claims that the move is pre-emptive as opposed in reaction to a specific incident, which some argue merely backs up the suggestion that Red Bull is being targeted.

"The technical directive is certainly very wordy," said Horner, "you'd almost have to question whether it's a change of regulation. I suppose we have been very competitive, we've got the world record on pit stops, we've had the majority of fastest stops during the year and it's not by accident.

"I find it a little disappointing..." he admitted, "I mean it's the duty of the competitor to ensure that the car is safe and the penalty for a wheel not being fixed is that 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.

"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 to slow you down, and that's obviously what's happening here."

While the move has been carried out ostensibly in the name of safety, Horner argues that it could have the opposite effect.

"After the earlier discussions and directives that have been on the pit stops, I think to have to hold a car for two tenths of a second, I think you could almost argue that it is dangerous because you are judging your gaps and the guy is releasing the car is having to make that judgement and it's not been well thought through," he said

"Formula 1 is about innovation and competition and seeing pit stops in sub-2 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 we should walk into the garage, where we should sit on the pit wall and which buttons we should press, I guess."

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by Motorsport-fan, 26/06/2021 18:19

"If they do not want fast tyre changes, bring back refuelling."

Rating: Neutral (0)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

2. Posted by Kkiirmki, 26/06/2021 11:24

"Mercedes has dominated the sport for the last seven years, with barely any action taken by the FIA to level the playing field. And now that Red Bull have won four races, just over half so far, we need to make sure Red Bull don't run away the championship? Finally, we have a chance to see an excellent battle for the championship this season and the FIA want to spoil it. "

Rating: Positive (2)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

3. Posted by yakker, 26/06/2021 9:44

"Since when did automation make things less safe? Forcing human decisions based on time is more likely to cause an issue, not make it safer. Mercedes when winning suggested it was for other teams to up their game, not to stifle Mercedes, but now the boots on the other foot its a different story. When they had the luxury of pit stops under no pressure they didnt worry about super fast stops. Now the sub 2 seconds from RedBull is hurting they want rule changes. Whining Wolff."

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4. Posted by F1nerd, 26/06/2021 9:22

"Mercedes stirring it up again. They obviously can't stand the fierce competition they are getting from RBR."

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5. Posted by stackvideo, 26/06/2021 8:51

"And when did Red Bull have a loose wheel. More BS from the FIA to spoil good racing. "

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