Bernie wants shorter stops

Formula 1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone is understood to want quicker refuelling stops in Formula 1, so cars spend less time in the pits and race strategies can be more varied

Bernie wants shorter stops

The governing body's Formula 1 commission has already approved an increase to the speed limit in pit lane. For 2004, the limit will be raised from 80kph to 100kph at all venues.

Another step is the request to planners at Melbourne to straighten (and so shorten) the entry to the pit lane at the Albert Park circuit. This could make three stops a viable strategy in what has traditionally been a two-stop race.

The Australian organisers have agreed to the changes, which together with the raised speed limit could cut five seconds from pit stop times.

Ecclestone said that the rules introduced in 2003 had already made the sport much more exciting and competitive to fans and television viewers. But he added that the latest moves demonstrate an ongoing commitment to exciting racing.

Some in the sport may question the safety of the raise in the pit-lane speed limit, which was introduced in the wake of 1994's tragic accidents. Many have called for refuelling to be abolished altogether after fires and problems with equipment since its introduction, also in 1994.

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