Ross Brawn criticizes revised pit stop rules before Indian Grand Prix

Updated: Oct 25, 2012, 21:23 PM IST

Greater Noida: Mercedes Formula One team principal Ross Brawn on Thursday said the changed pit stop rules that excludes fuel strategy is frustrating and limits cars to follow one general pattern.

Before the start of the 2011-racing season, the Federation Internationale de l`Automobile (FIA), the governing body of Formula One, had made the landmark change to stop re-fuelling during the pit stops. Only tyre change and damage repair are now allowed in pit stops.

Cars start the race with a full tank of fuel, allowing very little space to device strategies, an area that was mastered by Brawn and Formula One legend Michael Schumacher, fetching them multiple championships at first Benetton, and then Ferrari.

Speaking at a news conference in Greater Noida, which will host the Indian Grand Prix at the Buddh International Circuit, from Friday through Sunday, Brawn said now racing strategies revolve around tyres, safety of cars and weather conditions.

“It’s probably a little more limiting, I have to say, frustratingly, it’s a bit more limiting these days without fuel as part of the strategy, because obviously, now we fill the car up at the beginning of the race, we don’t have the opportunity to play with fuel levels and vary the pit stops. So, I think, the cars unfortunately tend to fall into a general pattern, but there are still opportunities in the races, maybe not as great as they used to be,” said Brawn.

Visibly pleased by the Indian circuit, Schumacher, who is in final season of motor racing, said that it was unique to see the tickets sold out in the first season, and he expected the same response this time too.

“It offers a lot of challenge. Everything that you need as a race driver to feel really put to you maximum, with all the high speed sections, with all the long straights for the overtaking possibility and what astonished me a lot on top was that within the first year we had a full house. We had so much support during the first race that was pretty unique, I don’t remember any other new country we explored with Formula One that immediately got so much following,” said Schumacher.

Commenting on the team’s strategy for this race, Brawn said that the choice and conditions of tyres would be crucial, as the track was not heavily used for racing other than Formula One.

“Its getting the car optimised around the tyres and anticipating how the tyres are going to behave on Sunday, which is very important. So, our priority is to try and understand what we need. The track changes a lot particularly tracks such as this one which is not used for a huge amount of racing, so it will evolve quite a lot of the two-three days of running and so starting tomorrow morning we have to start our work and anticipate how the cars are going to behave, how the tyres are going to behave on Sunday, which is when it really counts,” Brawn added.

The second Indian Grand Prix will have its first practice session on Friday.

Two-time World Champion Sebastian Vettel leads the drivers tally with 215 points, six points ahead of Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso.