OPINION: Does Formula E need minimum pit stop time?

Does Formula E need the minimum pit stop time back? After the minimum time was withdrawn just before the Santiago ePrix in February the sport has seen several situations which had not been seen during the first three season and three races – driver being released with seat belt not tight enough.

Since the series’ beginning back in September 2014 at every race there has been a minimum pit stop time, set up in accordance with every circuit, which was giving drivers and mechanics enough time to fasten the seatbelts and have seconds to spare. Suddenly the FIA decided to remove the minimum pit stop without notice days before the third race of the season in Marrakesh back in January, citing that the minimum time was so low in the last races before that, that they felt there was no need for it anymore.

However, after teams complained that it was done on a too short notice it remained in effect for the round but was removed for the next round in Santiago, three weeks later.

Ever since the minimum time was removed we have had controversy around the pit stops in Formula E, first it was the Techeetah team which was fined for loose belt on both drivers during the Santiago race (it was the first ever one-two finish in series’ history done by Jean-Eric Vergne and Andre Lotterer, but both drivers kept their results).

The following race, held in Mexico City, went without any issues but the in Punta del Este Daniel Abt had to pit just two laps after his pit stop because a seatbelt became loose and finally Nelson Piquet Jr had to retire from last Saturday’s Rome race after losing too much time with loose belt.

Asked after the race Piquet told exclusively to the Overtimeonline that “Most of the drivers would prefer the minimum time, which I agree as well, but you know FIA do what they want I’m not going to waste my time arguing.”

Asked also if he think that there can be any redesign of the belt to prevent situations like that in the future he said: “No, they are not going to do it because there are only five more races to the end [next season there will be no mid-race car swap], even the teams will say we are not going to spend the money. Whatever it just does not make sense, if they want to change something they will just put the minimum time back.”

Personally I am in favor of the minimum pit stop time, because as Piquet told me “the car is not made for a quick pit stop, it is not a GT where you can open the doors and do the pit stop so mistakes happen.”

Yes, mistakes are part of all sport, but should we play with the safety of drivers, pit crews, track marshals and spectators just to give people more entertainment which could have catastrophically consequences if gone wrong?

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