Chinese GP: No big changes to F1 pit stops, urges Haas boss

F1 should not impose sudden changes to pit-stop procedures despite a spate of problems at the start of 2018, says Haas chief Guenther Steiner

The sport’s race director, Charlie Whiting, has confirmed F1’s governing body are looking into recent issues with loose or incorrectly-fitted wheels after McLaren in pre-season and then Haas and Ferrari respectively at the season’s opening two rounds ran into stoppages.

Ferrari were fined a combined total of 55,000 euros for two ‘unsafe releases’ with Kimi Raikkonen’s car from pit stops in Bahrain, the second of which during the race resulted in mechanic Francesco Cigarini sustaining a broken leg.

Eight of the 10 teams completed pit stops in under three seconds in Bahrain and questions have started to be raised about whether services have become too fast, plus concerns about the automated ‘traffic light’ release systems used by teams.

But while his Haas team were hit hard by a double pit-stop failure at the season-opener in Australia, Steiner believes an element of jeopardy around pit stops generally benefits the F1 spectacle.

“For us it didn’t make it interesting [in Australia], but it gives another element of risk in the race,” he told reporters in China.

“If you make everything 100 per cent safe why do we watch F1 racing? That’s my opinion. We need to have it where a human being can make a mistake.

Natalie Pinkham is joined by former F1 driver John Watson, F1 journalist Peter Windsor and British F3 driver Billy Monger to preview the Bahrain GP.

“It happened to us, and I’m not happy about it, but in general we need some risk-taking. If we make everything automised, we can put robots there and there will be no problem, but who is going to watch us?”

Steiner made clear that mechanics should not be put in danger, but does not want the FIA to impose sudden and sweeping changes.

“When it gets dangerous, it needs to be investigated,” he added. “I’m not saying we should put people in danger, but how many years [was it] since we had the last injured man? We still know it’s a dangerous sport.

“I feel sorry about the guy and it shouldn’t happen.

“But with our ones, the system which is there as safety, the wheel didn’t come off. The system worked. So why would we change it?

“I wouldn’t rush to a knee-jerk reaction after what happened.

“It was our fault [in Australia], we paid the price for it, and we move on.”

Will Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari make it three wins in a row or can Mercedes and Red Bull respond in Shanghai? Watch the Chinese GP exclusively live on Sky Sports F1 this weekend. Get Sky Sports F1.

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