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Battle of the pit stops

Pirelli remain adamant that the new tyres will mean that Tyre strategy will be exciting during the 2011 Formula One season.

The new tyres have been designed so that they do not last as long as last seasonís Bridgestones, which the majority of the time created one stop strategies, despite the two different compounds of rubber being used.

The idea behind forcing teams into making extra pit stops is to make tyre strategy a bigger part of the outcome of a Formula One race weekend.

While not all the drivers and teams are pleased with the new tyres, they do all appear to agree that the new tyres will have an impact on the racing.

'There are many possibilities this year, It is not like last year so that will be the most important thing. Sometimes it is better to sacrifice some laps that you know you are very slow at the end of the run, but maybe you make one stop less.

'It is a difficult call and a difficult judgement that we will need to make. We will need to be very open and very flexible in every race.'
Ferrariís Fernando Alonso told Autosport Magazine after the final winter testing session in Barcelona.

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner said: 'I think what it is going to introduce is different-shaped races, You are likely to see more stops and perhaps different strategies. But at the end of the day it is the same for everybody and it is a matter of doing the best to understand the tyres and have the best strategies.

Mercedes GP team principal Ross Brawn agreed and added: 'With these tyres you cannot afford to go into the high degradation period because they degrade in a fairly linear way and then they fall off quite a lot towards the end of their life, So you don't want to be falling into that period because you can lose quite a lot of time.

'So ideally you set your car up and the drivers drive the car to get the best race time and the minimum number of stops so I think most of us will be looking at three-stop races Ė if you get to four stops then possibly you are using the tyres a bit harder than you should and it would be quite hard to make up that extra pitstop time.

'It depends on the circumstances but if your model shows four pitstops are faster as a race and you think you can drive to the speed available then you could see four-pitstop races.'

With more stops required by the drivers, more pressure will be put on the teams pit crews, where just one mistake could cost the team the race.

Since refuelling was banned and pit stops returned to just tyre changes, more emphasis has been put on the time taken to change all four tyres.

Last season McLaren changed Lewis Hamiltonís tyres in a mind boggling 3.4 seconds, giving him a crucial advantage when every one hundredth of a second counts.

Hopefully this season F1 can get the graphics right and we can see just which teams are whizzes with an air gun.

FAO Bernie, the time taken in the pits running at speed limit, is not exciting; just give us the stationary time! Perhaps a little table to show the comparison of times that each team took?

Itís interesting, a thousandth of a second could be the difference between being in front or behind your main challenger in the race, a mistake, a jammed gun, a driver over shooting his box and the time lost could be crucial.

Itís easy to see why Pirelli were tasked with creating more pit stops in a race considering the drama that can unfold in those four seconds of standing still.

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The Journalist

Writer: Red5 Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Thursday March 17 2011

Time: 2:00PM

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I hate it when drivers overshoot the box, makes a mess of the whole exercise.

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