Charlie Whiting cracks his chocolate whip

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During the British GP, the two pesky Independent William’s cars had usurped the right of the German made dominant Mercedes rocket ships, to lead a race. And this did not make certain folk happy.

Hamilton famed for his overtaking prowess was neutered by a combination of his opponents’ Mercedes power unit inside the Martini liveried cars and the 2015 aerodynamic regulations which make it increasingly difficult for cars to pass each other on track.

Then someone at Mercedes AMG F1 came up with a wheeze. “Let’s send out our mechanics to fake preparation for a pitstop. And hope a William’s driver falls for it and pits too”.

This is in breach of Formula One’s sporting regulations, Article 23.11 which states: “Team personnel are only allowed in the pit lane immediately before they are required to work on a car and must withdraw as soon as the work is complete.”

Wolff admitted after the race. “We know that Williams has more difficulties in making the tyres last at the end and we knew that triggering an early stop would make them think, are we able to do that? It could trigger them into a pit stop.

“It was a bit of a game, which didn’t function. My wife sent me a WhatsApp message, saying: ‘You guys think you can fool us, hah, hah, hah.’”

Joking, Toto added, “I’m having an Indian alone tonight.”

Charlie Whiting is not amused, and is determined to clamp down on Mercedes and any other team playing fast and loose with the regulations. “We have no intention of giving them a few chances and will be speaking to all the teams in Hungary about this and warning them that we will want to see (and hear) evidence that they were actually intending to stop,” commented ad spokesperson from the FIA.

Yet Whiting is in fact impotent to prevent this practice. He admitted, “At the time, what Mercedes did was OK as no-one knew that they were not actually going to stop. In fact we still don’t really know.

“However, in view of the fact that they were alleged to have said that it was a ‘dummy’ stop, they may have put their foot in it rather.”

The evidence from Mercedes pit to car radio even supported the perception that a tyre change for Lewis could be on the cards.

The thinking behind article 23:11 is one of safety. The pit lane can be a dangerous place and so unnecessary exposure of mechanics to that environment is frowned upon.

In reality, besides talking tough, there is little Whiting can do about this – so long as senior team personnel don’t get so cocky and reveal their lack of knowledge of what is and isn’t allowed by the sport’s sporting regulations.

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16 responses to “Charlie Whiting cracks his chocolate whip

  1. It’s one of those rules which is almost impossible to police when it’s based on opinion, and we all know the FIA can’t deal with opinions. Was the same when the team orders were still banned. We all know what happened at Germany in 2010 but because the wording of the team was so (badly) covered up the FIA couldn’t do anything. Well they could have and nobody would have blamed them but they’re far to weak for that kind of thing.

    • The rule is easy to enforce. If you send your crew out there and the car doesn’t come in for service you come in for a penalty! Simple. Charlie is weak. The teams don’t respect him, if they did, they wouldn’t pull these kind of shenanigans. Look at Red Bull!

    • No, and hasn’t been for a while; that is how rules work. If it is acceptable again, then they can change the rules and then everyone can do it, Williams could have done it to Merc too, and Ferrari to them at other races… or do it every other lap and confuse the shit out of somone. This sort of practice pisses me off as much as footballers diving to try and get infractions against opposing teams players, and this sort of willfull or otherwise ignorance of the rules is shocking… Myself, the commentators, pretty much everyone I know said when that happened; ‘they can’t do that’, so they were either deliberately placing themselves above the law, or their sporting director (is it still Ron Meadows?) is incompentant.

      • I watched the BBC broadcast, and the reaction was much different there. Instead of shock, the commentators were indifferent. DC noted that Mercedes would be able to get away with that once during the race, but not twice.

        Then the BBC had Pat Symonds live on the pit-wall during the race, and he was indifferent as well. He noted that their strategy was to run longer than that early feint, so they weren’t focused on Mercedes in that way at that time. He also lightly noted it was illegal.

        As The Good Judge and not606 noted above, it just means that any future feints must include fake radio transmissions in code to present to the Stewards in case CW sends them there. Pffft! Big deal! They’ll still do it if it suits their needs.

  2. About time we had a reminder of some of the tricks Charlie got up to when he was working for Bernie at Brabham.

  3. Charlie Whiting has issued new regulations that the cars will proceed directly from parc ferme to the track in the order in which they qualified, circulate at no faster than 60kph, and no overtaking shall be allowed. Also only 1 mechanic is allowed in the pitlane. Finally, one should respect the standing FIA ethos, ‘thou shall not finish ahead of Ferrari.’

  4. “The pit lane is a dangerous place.” Seems to me I recall reading somewhere yesterday that the pit lane speed limit should be eliminated. Struck me as a bad idea.

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