The Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) warned teams in Formula One that it will no longer allow dummy pit stops in the sport. The governing body of F1 said it is against the rules, and anyone who will be employing it in the future will face sanctions.
It was clear that the statement of the organization was obviously triggered by the play made by Mercedes-AMG Petronas during the British Grand Prix. The team employed the tactic during the end of lap 14 while it was running head-to-head with Williams. Viewers could see that the crew of Mercedes suddenly rushed to the scene appearing to be in anticipation of a pit stop only for Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg to rush pass it. The crew immediately pulled out once the two Mercedes drivers made it past them.
It was later revealed by Mercedes motorsport director Toto Wolff that they did it to dupe Williams into going for an early pit stop. But the effort proved to be futile as the competitor didn’t buy it, and Williams’ Susie Wolff even sent a message to her husband through WhatsApp asking him if they were trying to bluff Williams. Then she told him that it was amusing.
Although the strategy had been done numerous times in the past, FIA’s F1 race director Charlie Whiting commented it is not allowed as the Article 23.11 of the sporting organization says, “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.”
Whiting admitted though that it is hard to prove if there is a clear intention of breach from the team involved. In Wolff’s part, he gave away his intentions to fool Williams with the trick during his post-race interview. It should be noted though that the FIA is not clear yet on the penalties for such acts, so Mercedes might only get away with a warning this time.