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Ferrier: New Pit Rules Could Lead to Tire Change “Arms Race”

TF Sport boss says regs change will encourage more pit stop competition, but could drive up costs…

Photo: MPS Agency

The rule that FIA World Endurance Championship pits teams can no longer change tires and refuel at the same time could spawn an “arms race” as a result of increased competition, according to one team boss.

TF Sport team principal Tom Ferrier, whose team races an Aston Martin Vantage in GTE-Am, told Sportscar365 that trends seen in the Blancpain GT Series could filter into the WEC under the new rules.

The updated sporting regulations for the 2019-20 season confirmed that changing tires at the same time as refueling will no longer be allowed.

The WEC tried out the process of simultaneous tire and fuel services to speed up pit stops during the ongoing 2018-19 ‘Super Season’, but has since reverted to the original rules.

“I can understand why sometimes you can’t do it, because you get a bit of an arms race with the wheel guns you’ve got, and you start shipping people in specially for wheel changes and they don’t do anything else for the rest of the weekend because they’re great big strong guys,” said Ferrier.

It definitely happened in Blancpain. WRT had guys there that were just there for wheel changes.

“Cost-wise, it’s probably cheaper as it is now. Spectacle-wise and for the team, it’s probably not quite as good – other than the fact the car is stopped for less time in the pits.

“At least at the moment, with the rules as they stand now, you can utilize everyone who is there and you don’t need specialist equipment or people.”

Ferrier suggested that opening up pit stops to be more of a competition for mechanics will outweigh the superficial excitement created by a quicker service under the 2018-19 regs.

Pit teams will remain limited to two wheel guns next season, while a maximum of two people can take part in tire changes.

“I can see both schools of thought for it,” said Ferrier.

“If you refuel and do tires at the same time, the cars are in the pit lane for less time. It looks faster, which is better for spectators.

“But equally the boys don’t have to be as on the button with tire changes which is a really nice element to it.

“It’s great when the lads get something out of it, when they can make a big difference in the pit stops.

“I probably side more towards doing tire changes after refueling because then the guys in the team make a bigger different to the pit stop time.

“But you’re never going to keep everyone happy with that. The regulations are what the regulations are and you have to get on with it and, as a team, do the best job you can.”

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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