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F1 teams reject minimum pit stop time; impose penalty for loose wheels

Jul 25, 2013, 1:16 PM EST

Red Bull Formula One driver Webber of Australia looses a tyre following a pit stop during the German F1 Grand Prix at the Nuerburgring circuit Reuters

Following a meeting today  to discuss ways to improve safety in the pit lane, the idea of a minimum pit stop time has been rejected by the Formula One teams.

The idea was mooted after FOM cameraman Paul Allen was struck by a loose wheel from Mark Webber’s car during the German Grand Prix earlier this month. However, the battle in the pits is usually one of the most interesting parts of a grand prix for the spectators, especially given the ban on refuelling that came into place in 2010. In the past three years, the stop times have got quicker and quicker with the first sub-two second pit stop widely expected to occur soon.

Instead of removing this competitive factor, the teams have instead voted in favor of a automatic 10-place grid penalty for any driver that is released from the pits with a loose wheel during any session of a grand prix weekend.

The motorsport world has become all the more aware of the danger of a bouncing tire since the death of Henry Surtees (son of former F1 champion John) during a Formula 2 race back in 2009.

This news follows the decision by the FIA to relax the ban on media access to the pit lane following the immediate reaction to the incident at the Nurburgring that saw very tight restrictions be placed on personnel in the pits during sessions.

As the fans yearn for more exciting races with increased overtaking, it is good to see that the idea of a minimum pit stop time has been rejected as this would eradicate yet another chance for drivers to make up positions during a race, as well as perturbing the purists who are already riled by the use of DRS and KERS in F1.

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