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Carlos Sainz Jr., Ferrari SF21, makes a pit stop
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Analysis

The mid-season rule change that has left F1 teams scrambling

The technical directive issued by Formula 1 to reduce levels of automation in pitstops has given teams an unwelcome period of adjustment. Although safety was the primary goal, it has already had a significant impact on the title race and puts extra pressure on teams to deliver as the season reaches the business end

When mid-race refuelling was re-banned by Formula 1 for the 2010 season, following a plethora of turgid races and incidents involving trigger-happy drivers leaving the pitlanes with the fuel lines still attached, the speed of pitstops fell dramatically.

Back then, getting close to the three-second bracket in the box was considered an incredible effort. Now, 11 years on, a three-second pitstop time is usually accompanied by a post-race inquest. That’s how much expectations have shifted, and the inclusion of increased automation and articulated jacks have pushed pitstops into the occasional sub-2s boundary. At least, until the FIA unveiled a new technical directive for the Belgian Grand Prix to slow pitstops down on safety grounds.

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