FIA will keep an eye on ‘fake’ pit stops – Charlie Whiting

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During the post-Italian Grand Prix press meeting with FIA race director Charlie Whiting, the Briton conceded that ‘fake’ pit stops such as the ones of Mercedes could be subject for further investigation.’s Balázs Szabó attended the meeting which brought up a series of different topics.

Sporting issues

Charlie Whiting met the journalists late on Sunday after the 69th Italian Grand Prix to answer the questions about the sport’s latest issues. When asked what sanction the governing body could implement to stop Mercedes imitating pit stops, he said that the FIA has already had a look into the matter. It is because that goes against the spirit of the sport and teams should only be in front of their garages in full preparation for a stop if they really expect one of their drivers to visit the pit. However, monitoring the real motivation for a team getting ready for a stop is tough because there are cases in which teams decide against the pit stop in the very last moment due to various factors such as sudden changes to the traffic conditions.

About the possible budget cap which could be introduced to the sport in a bid to help smaller teams, Whiting considers it as a possible future way to control the costs. The budget cap could be added to the Sporting Regulations.

Asked about the incident between Max Verstappen and Valtteri Bottas during the Italian GP, Whiting added that it was a manifest of a ‘classic race incident’. While defending against Bottas with his faster Mercedes W09, Verstappen run off in the first corner. Whiting said that the FIA informed the teams ahead of the weekend that their drivers have only one ‘free opportunity’ to cut the track before they are handed a penalty.

As for Verstappen reactions on his penalty for defending aggressively against Valtteri Bottas, Whiting conceded that he deliberately avoids listening to the drivers’ comments on penalties. He thinks that drivers can react in the heat of the moment in a way they would not do after the race.

Following the Belgian Grand Prix, many criticized the promoter and the governing body for depriving the fans of the cool-down lap after the race. The FIA race director added that the cool-down lap at Spa became an absentee some 20 years ago because the promoter could not guarantee to keep the 7.004km-long circuit secured for a long cool-down lap.

No further DRS-complication expected

The FIA race director confirmed that the technical group of the governing body launched an investigation into the various DRS solutions of the teams on Saturday after the qualifying session. The drag reduction system came under scrutiny after Marcus Ericsson’s horrific crash in the second free practice session. While braking into the first corner, the Sweden’s DRS stayed open, prompting his car to veer into the barriers and roll over multiple times. Whiting sounded confident about the safety of DRS systems for the future.

New F3 series shaping up

FIA announced in March that it would overhaul it F3 Championship. The Formula One group of companies has been selected as the promoter of the new series. The international championship will be hosted on the Formula One World Championship platform and feature an all-new car, with a single supplier for chassis, engines and tyres. When asked about the car, Whiting said that it won’t be dissimilar to the current GP3 car, building on its technique.