F1 teams reject minimum pit stop time; impose penalty for loose wheels

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Following a meeting today  to discuss ways to improve safety in the pit lane, the idea of a minimum pit stop time has been rejected by the Formula One teams.

The idea was mooted after FOM cameraman Paul Allen was struck by a loose wheel from Mark Webber’s car during the German Grand Prix earlier this month. However, the battle in the pits is usually one of the most interesting parts of a grand prix for the spectators, especially given the ban on refuelling that came into place in 2010. In the past three years, the stop times have got quicker and quicker with the first sub-two second pit stop widely expected to occur soon.

Instead of removing this competitive factor, the teams have instead voted in favor of a automatic 10-place grid penalty for any driver that is released from the pits with a loose wheel during any session of a grand prix weekend.

The motorsport world has become all the more aware of the danger of a bouncing tire since the death of Henry Surtees (son of former F1 champion John) during a Formula 2 race back in 2009.

This news follows the decision by the FIA to relax the ban on media access to the pit lane following the immediate reaction to the incident at the Nurburgring that saw very tight restrictions be placed on personnel in the pits during sessions.

As the fans yearn for more exciting races with increased overtaking, it is good to see that the idea of a minimum pit stop time has been rejected as this would eradicate yet another chance for drivers to make up positions during a race, as well as perturbing the purists who are already riled by the use of DRS and KERS in F1.

Lewis Hamilton comes home to Mercedes factory after fourth title

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On Monday, the Formula 1 schedule finally allowed teams to be in Europe before heading to Abu Dhabi for this weekend’s season finale.

And as such, that provided a window for now four-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton to return to the Mercedes AMG Petronas factories in Brackley and Brixworth to be celebrated for taking the driver’s title, as Hamilton an Valtteri Bottas delivered Mercedes its fourth straight constructor’s title.

Hamilton was at Brixworth, the home of Mercedes-AMG High Performance Powertrains (HPP) and its highly successful Mercedes-Benz Power Units first before heading to Brackley, where he was welcomed with a “guard of honor” as the entire team came out to greet him.

The champion was overwhelmed at the response and the welcome.

“This a very emotional day. I was not expecting this, thanks everyone for the warm welcome,” he said. “Today is something that I will never forget, turning up at the front gate of the factory and seeing everyone out on the street to welcome me – I’m blown away.

“This has been an incredible year, it’s been an incredible journey together. There’s a huge amount of respect and appreciation I have for everyone. I’ve been in the sport for a long time now, but to see the work ethic in Brixworth and Brackley really inspires me. Every time I come around, I see everyone operating at 100%, which encourages me to bring my best performance.

“Thank you all for helping me achieve my dreams, it would not have been possible without you. This is the best championship year, because we’ve been fighting another team and because we’ve had the difficulties and challenges we’ve had – that just makes it so much greater.”

A social roundup of images and videos are below, all via Hamilton and the Mercedes team on social media.