FE teams win fight to keep pitstop time

FE teams win fight to keep pitstop time
By AutoSport

12/01/2018 at 16:28Updated

Formula E teams have successfully lobbied to have the minimum pitstop time kept in place for this weekend's Marrakech race.

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As revealed by Autosport on Wednesday, the FIA had decided to scrap the process of establishing a minimum time from pitlane entry to exit for the mid-race car swap with immediate effect.

The FIA felt that time had effectively reached what it believes to be the fastest possible stop, so there was no additional risk in removing the limit.

Several teams and drivers were unhappy with the decision, which was communicated to them this week.

They argue that turning the mid-race car swaps into an outright competition for time creates the potential for mistakes from either the driver or mechanics, which could have serious consequences, and they did not have sufficient time to create satisfactory safety protocol given the short notice.

This led to teams collectively writing to the stewards of the event requesting they delay the removal of the minimum pitstop time to the next race in Santiago in February, to give them more time to prepare.

As the stewards have ultimate jurisdiction over the safety of the event, they decided there would be a minimum pitstop time for this weekend's race after all and it will be 45 seconds.

Multiple drivers have admitted to Autosport that they have been already been pushing close to the limit when pitting to swap cars in previous races, and there is not more time to be gained there.

However, there are fears that safety belts will not be done up properly in the rush to get away, either by mistake or on purpose.

The different software utilised by the powertrain manufacturers means slight variations in the start-up time of the cars, which has also been flagged up as posing a potential unfair advantage or disadvantage to certain teams.

NIO driver Oliver Turvey told Autosport: "It's got to be safe. Without a minimum pitstop time it's a competition and people will want to be as quick as possible.

"As long as it's safe and fair for everyone it adds another element to the race.

"The minimum time was always quite tight, so it's not easy to be under that time - but at least you didn't have to be rushing everything.

"It [a minimum time] adds a bit of a safety element. It's more for the mechanics and the people in the pitlane than for us."

Jerome d'Ambrosio called it a "cool" development but said it "has to be monitored properly".

"It's exciting, it's another area where someone can make a difference," he told Autosport.

"It can be potentially very dangerous but the concept is quite cool."