F1 drivers call for wider pitlanes to avoid injury

Carlos Sainz and Sergio Perez say Formula 1 and the FIA should consider making pitlanes wider and longer to avoid dangerous incidents such as they endured at Zandvoort this month.

F1 drivers call for wider pitlanes to avoid injury

In the 2022 Dutch Grand Prix, Perez ran over a Ferrari wheelgun that had ended up in his path while Sainz suffered a slow service and later in the same event the Ferrari driver was forced to brake when leaving his pitbox to avoid hitting a McLaren mechanic ahead.

That resulted in Sainz getting an unsafe release penalty and he later called for F1 pitlane layouts to be reviewed to avoid such incidents in the future.

With the championship returning to a track with a tight pitlane at this weekend’s Singapore GP, Sainz and Perez suggested their teams had not implemented any pitstop procedure changes as a result of the Zandvoort issues.

But when asked about the recent problems by Autosport, they renewed calls for a pitlane size review and Sainz put forward ideas for F1’s key stakeholders to consider.

“For me, it’s not the pitcrews or the F1 teams that really need to make changes,” he said.

“It’s the FIA and F1 organisation –they need to find a solution to these types of pitlanes.

“One day, there is going to be an accident. One day, there is going to be a human [that is] hurt because of how tight everything is when there is a safety car and we are all pitting at the same time like in Budapest a year ago when we pitted on the formation lap.

“[Or] in Zandvoort when the safety car came out [and] it was chaos. We need to find a solution because I feel like we are putting someone’s health at risk.

“Circuits get homologated and if in order to get homologated we need a wider pitlane and longer pitlane to have space in between cars, we need to make sure that happens.

“But I know logistically and technically it’s not easy for the circuits, but I was in a pretty scary situation in Zandvoort and it could happen any time soon.

“It’s something that’s a matter that we need to raise between the FIA, F1. Obviously, the teams can help to come up with solutions, but let’s see.”

Carlos Sainz, Ferrari F1-75, in the pits

Carlos Sainz, Ferrari F1-75, in the pits

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

Perez said F1 drivers and their teams are “put in this situation by the circuits, basically”.

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“So, it’s something that has to be reviewed and hopefully we can make it better,” he added.

“Because simply there is so much space we can have and that is not enough.

“If something goes wrong at a pitstop from another team, then there is just no room for it to be avoidable.”

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