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Formula E Teams Lobby FIA on Minimum Pit Stop Change

The minimum pit stop time stipulation at Formula E races which looks set to be annulled is being challenged by Formula E teams e-racing365 can reveal…

Photo: Formula E

The possible scrapping of the minimum pit stop time stipulation at ABB FIA Formula Formula E races is being challenged by teams, e-racing365 can reveal.

The change, which could be confirmed at the Marrakesh E-Prix tomorrow, was communicated to teams earlier this week.

Previously teams had vetoed the possibility of the minimum time being scrapped at several Sporting Work Group meetings.

Led by their collective representative, Andretti’s Roger Griffiths, the teams are understood to be planning to present their disagreement and concern on safety grounds to the FIA later today regarding the change.

The teams feel that with no holding time the entry, exit and re-locating of the drivers will become potentially dangerous during the car swaps and also put mechanics under additional unnecessary pressure.

Previous races in the all-electric championship have seen a safety-led minimum reference time devised by the FIA.

The FIA has consistently had a holding period after drivers are strapped in to their second cars in Formula E races despite it not being written into the regulations.

The actual minimum pit stop confirmation comes from the Race Director in the Drivers Briefing notes, which are usually issued the day before an E-Prix.

The time has come down dramatically as Formula E teams have evolved, meaning that at the Hong Kong E-Prix last month the minimum time was the lowest ever at 37 seconds.

This included the cars entering and exiting the pits, meaning that teams had around 14 seconds to ensure their drivers were strapped correctly in their cars.

In the FIA’s eyes, that constituted an effective fastest pit stop, prompting it to do away with the minimum time completely and essentially revert to the regulations which dictate that.

The timing of the change has been met with significant concern by the teams with one team principal telling e-racing365 that “without the holding time we are endangering team members and potentially drivers to a totally unacceptable level.”

The same source also pointed out that “the timing on this is bizarre. The garage floor here is brushed concrete and we have metal struts dividing the boxes. The danger element is significant.”

Teams have been reminded in past issued bulletins that personnel must stay within the limits of the pit garage.

Another concern for teams has been the alleged lack of policing at pit stops in accordance with the rule 37.6 of the sporting regulations that states “a maximum of two team personnel can help the driver.”

Several incidents were cited at recent races where some teams appeared to have more than the allocated two team members assisting with the stop.

The FIA also implement a four-point sporting regulation addition this season regarding releasing cars from the pits after car-swaps. This dictated that “cars must not be released from a garage or pit stop position in a way that could endanger pit lane personnel or other drivers.”

Confirmation of whether the scrapping of the minimum time can be overturned, even postponed temporarily, should be known by Friday afternoon.

Sam Smith is e-racing365's Formula E Editor. A 20-year veteran in motorsports media, including press officer roles in both the FIA Sportscar Championship and at Lola Group, Smith is a well-known face in the Formula E paddock, where he served as series editor for Motorsport.com from 2014-17. Contact Sam

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