Red Bull fume as Mercedes admit FIA enquiry likely caused pit-stop changes

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

Red Bull has criticised an "obvious" attempt to slow them down after the FIA announced new pit-stop rules from the Hungarian Grand Prix.

The Milton Keynes-based squad is considered the best on the grid at pit-stops, having completed the fastest stop at five of the first seven races so far, with three taking place in less than two seconds.

But from Budapest, a new technical directive requires that sensors used during stops are only used "passively" to enforce two new minimum reaction times.

The first is a 0.15s reaction time between a successful tyre change and the mechanics indicating as such to the modern-day version of the 'lollipop man' and then a further 0.2s reaction time between mechanics on all four tyres giving the all-clear to release the car and the green light then being shown to the driver.

The aim of this is to avoid "instinctive" pit-stops, which the FIA claim could result in drivers leaving the pit-lane with tyres insufficiently attached, and it is predicted these changes will only add around 0.3s to pit-stops.

But on Friday, Red Bull boss Christian Horner was unsure of what the governing body's actual intention was with the directive.

“The technical directive is certainly very wordy and you always have to question whether it’s a change of regulation,” he said via

“But I suppose we have been very competitive, we’ve got the world record on pit stops, we’ve had the majority of the fastest stops, and it’s not by accident.

“I find it a little disappointing because it’s the duty of the competitor to make sure that the car is safe. The penalty for a wheel not being fixed is that you have to stop the car immediately, so it’s a brutal punishment if you haven’t got all four wheels securely and safely fastened.

“So what the technical directive is trying to achieve, I’m not quite sure. I think there’s an awful lot of complexity to it.

“Of course when you are in a competitive situation, if you can’t be beaten, then the most obvious thing is for your competitors to try and slow you down. And that’s obviously what’s happening here.”

SI202106250384 news

The reason why Red Bull's heckles are so up about this is the cause for the FIA's action appears to be an enquiry by Mercedes, who have been struggling at pit-stops, earlier this month.

"On the pit stop, we enquired with the FIA on a safety mechanism which is related to a system that we were using, and whether that could be optimised," team boss Toto Wolff also told the media on Friday.

"That happened, I would say, three or four weeks ago, and it was a technology question.

"So did that trigger anything else? Maybe? I don't know. But this is the question we've asked."

Given the prior focus on Red Bull's rear wings, also after Mercedes made noise, as well as the tyre measures introduced after Baku, Horner does feel his team is being targeted.

“I think you can see there’s an awful lot of pointed activity in our direction at the moment, but that comes with the territory of being competitive," he said.

“An awful lot of energy is going in to try and slow the car down, which is obviously what happens in a competitive business. It’s something that we are used to but not losing too much sleep about.”