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Ferrari Pit Light System - Two Years On


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#1 Seanspeed

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Posted 31 October 2010 - 23:30

So in 2008, there was obviously a lot of flak from this system as it was arguably responsible for Massa's pitstop incident in Singapore. I heard a lot of people saying the system was more costly than anything.

But what about now? There's been no incidents in 2 years to come from the system. This year, pitstop times are as important as ever and any extra tenths would be welcome. But on the other hand, Ferrari's pitstop times haven't seem any quicker than other top teams, although they are definitely quick overall.

Is there merit in the system now? There's been zero pitlight incidents with Ferrari, yet several lollipop men incidents with other teams. Isn't Mercedes now using a similar system? Why haven't other teams jumped onboard?

Something to talk about while we all wait for the epic finales........ :p

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#2 AvantiFer

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Posted 31 October 2010 - 23:36

It is a gain, even if it's a gain of tenths of a second. If you gain tenths of a second 1000 times then the number gets bigger too.

IIRC the system works in a way that when the guy in whos holding the rear of the car up relases the car the lights go automatically to green. There's a little gain, and it's also been said that the human brain reacts faster to a light changing than to a object that starts moving, so there's another gain...

Edited by AvantiFer, 31 October 2010 - 23:37.


#3 undersquare

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Posted 31 October 2010 - 23:48

It was a good concept, just bad execution in 08, the whole idea was NOT to have it overridden in the Go direction by any one person, but it was. A curious lack of clear thinking.

I don't know how it's working now but the lights are still not the best IMO, it would be better to have a bank of red lights that go out like the race start.

And no amber stage, that really invites drivers to anticipate the go signal.

#4 AvantiFer

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Posted 01 November 2010 - 00:08

It was a good concept, just bad execution in 08, the whole idea was NOT to have it overridden in the Go direction by any one person, but it was. A curious lack of clear thinking.

I don't know how it's working now but the lights are still not the best IMO, it would be better to have a bank of red lights that go out like the race start.

And no amber stage, that really invites drivers to anticipate the go signal.

They can't know how much time the pitstop will be, hence they can't use the red lights going on one by one then going off all togheter. They have to follow the lolipop scheme: STOP / engage 1st gear - throtle / Go!

#5 aditya-now

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Posted 01 November 2010 - 00:41

So in 2008, there was obviously a lot of flak from this system as it was arguably responsible for Massa's pitstop incident in Singapore. I heard a lot of people saying the system was more costly than anything.

But what about now? There's been no incidents in 2 years to come from the system. This year, pitstop times are as important as ever and any extra tenths would be welcome. But on the other hand, Ferrari's pitstop times haven't seem any quicker than other top teams, although they are definitely quick overall.

Is there merit in the system now? There's been zero pitlight incidents with Ferrari, yet several lollipop men incidents with other teams. Isn't Mercedes now using a similar system? Why haven't other teams jumped onboard?

Something to talk about while we all wait for the epic finales........ :p


"Two years on" should then be the appropriate title.

I see a lot of merit in the pit light system - contrast that with Renault´s lollipop men...
As I heard it can save a team up to 2 tenths. So why are no other teams using it? Can´t be that difficult technically...

#6 Jazza

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Posted 01 November 2010 - 01:58

It will probably end up like the Williams hydraulic Jack at the front. While everyone else stuck with man power, they had a mechanical system. In the end, there probably isn't any clear advantage or disadvantage so it will just come down to preference.

#7 primer

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Posted 01 November 2010 - 04:21

I don't see any benefit, but as long as the team follow correct procedures it should not cause any more incidents and cannot harm either. But really, the lack of refueling has helped Ferrari more than anything else this year. Otherwise I am certain they would have given us one of their comical pitstops, light system or not.

#8 Peter Perfect

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Posted 01 November 2010 - 06:57

Was it the last race when one of the Renaults was anticipating the raising of the lollypop? Basically it was down and steady, right in front of his face, but he still jumped forward a few feet and almost hit a car pulling into the pits ahead of him. Sometimes it doesn't matter what sign/lights are used when the drivers are itching to go.

#9 undersquare

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Posted 01 November 2010 - 08:33

They can't know how much time the pitstop will be, hence they can't use the red lights going on one by one then going off all togheter. They have to follow the lolipop scheme: STOP / engage 1st gear - throtle / Go!


I didn't mean the lights would come on one at a time. Why would they do that? They're all on to start with, then when the car's ready they go out.

The drivers know when to get ready, they don't have to be told, it's simply 2 seconds or so from when they stopped. If they have an amber stage in the lights then it's a cue they will always use to anticipate the go signal, which is something they don't want to be doing.

Anyway full marks to Ferrari for innovating it, nul points for the way they did it in 08, good marks for trying again.

08 was the kind of cockup senior management introduces, it seems to me. A junior guy brings up a great idea, then the decision-makers screw it up by not giving enough time to it, being too confident, and not listening. And yet adding a fear factor. They had to trust the system to be better than a human, that was the concept after all. Giving a guy a Go override was missing the whole point of doing it.

#10 undersquare

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Posted 01 November 2010 - 08:36

Was it the last race when one of the Renaults was anticipating the raising of the lollypop? Basically it was down and steady, right in front of his face, but he still jumped forward a few feet and almost hit a car pulling into the pits ahead of him. Sometimes it doesn't matter what sign/lights are used when the drivers are itching to go.


Yeah, Kubica. I have an idea the lights on the lollipop changed and that triggered him, but we couldn't really see. I think they've put together the worst of all worlds with that system.

#11 A Wheel Nut

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Posted 01 November 2010 - 08:39

It is a gain, even if it's a gain of tenths of a second. If you gain tenths of a second 1000 times then the number gets bigger too.

IIRC the system works in a way that when the guy in whos holding the rear of the car up relases the car the lights go automatically to green. There's a little gain, and it's also been said that the human brain reacts faster to a light changing than to a object that starts moving, so there's another gain...

That can't be right otherwise the car could potentially be released in to traffic. I'd assume they'd have some sort of manual override, whereby if another car is at X in the pitlane, the car controller presses a button that prevents the light from going green. Once the lane is clear, another press of the button changes the light to green.

#12 rabbitleader

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Posted 01 November 2010 - 11:37

I recall Martin Brundle from the BBC commentary team talking about something clever to do with Ferrari's jack going in sideways or other....not sure exactly...BUT could this be the source of Ferrari's quicker time than anything to do with traffic lights???

#13 MikeTekRacing

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Posted 01 November 2010 - 11:51

I didn't mean the lights would come on one at a time. Why would they do that? They're all on to start with, then when the car's ready they go out.

The drivers know when to get ready, they don't have to be told, it's simply 2 seconds or so from when they stopped. If they have an amber stage in the lights then it's a cue they will always use to anticipate the go signal, which is something they don't want to be doing.

Anyway full marks to Ferrari for innovating it, nul points for the way they did it in 08, good marks for trying again.

08 was the kind of cockup senior management introduces, it seems to me. A junior guy brings up a great idea, then the decision-makers screw it up by not giving enough time to it, being too confident, and not listening. And yet adding a fear factor. They had to trust the system to be better than a human, that was the concept after all. Giving a guy a Go override was missing the whole point of doing it.

yet we have no idea how many of these bright ideas from junior guys work first time out and make the team great

obiously there is a risk to it..so...sometimes in can go wrong


#14 Gareth

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Posted 01 November 2010 - 11:55

They had to trust the system to be better than a human, that was the concept after all. Giving a guy a Go override was missing the whole point of doing it.

The go overide makes a lot of sense to me.

Combining that function with the "don't go/there's traffic in the pitlane" function was the mistake, IMO. They should have been seperate functions operated by seperate people.

#15 ManiaMuse

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Posted 01 November 2010 - 12:01

It's probably quite a bit safer now that refueling is gone.

Yes there still is the possibility of releasing a car into the path of another car like has happened a few times this season or releasing a car without all the wheelnuts tightened. But at least it isn't possible to release a car with the fuel hose still attached and drag two men down along with a heavy piece of kit full of fuel.

It also has a small safety advantage as it removes one of the mechanics from the danger zone, in fact probably the most dangerous position of all the pit crew (having to to run round to the front of the car with back to traffic). And I think it can also be operated from the pit wall (?), in which case the overide can be operated by someone with a better view of traffic coming down the pit lane.

I'm not sure about Renaults hybrid lolipop though, it seems a bit pointless.

I also wonder why no other teams have copied Mercede's swivel front jack. It's pretty clever, and gets the jackman out of the way quicker.

#16 undersquare

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Posted 01 November 2010 - 12:10

The go overide makes a lot of sense to me.

Combining that function with the "don't go/there's traffic in the pitlane" function was the mistake, IMO. They should have been seperate functions operated by seperate people.


I could see a Go override with a guy completely separate from the action, yep, while they get the system fine-tuned and tested at least. A back-stop role in case of failure.

But barring system failure then the whole idea of it is to remove human error from the process, so for the team to give that guy a Go override was really a failure by the decision-makers, probably, to grasp the concept.

The pitlane spotter should just have had a sort of "enable" input like the wheel and fuel inputs, so the car can only leave if they all say Go.

Well, hope we find out a bit more about how it works now, from Kravitz or someone.

#17 Seanspeed

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Posted 01 November 2010 - 12:34

I also wonder why no other teams have copied Mercede's swivel front jack. It's pretty clever, and gets the jackman out of the way quicker.

Good point. I believe Mercedes has been the quickest in the pits overall this year, too, haven't they?

#18 Villes Gilleneuve

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Posted 01 November 2010 - 15:48

It's probably quite a bit safer now that refueling is gone.

Yes there still is the possibility of releasing a car into the path of another car like has happened a few times this season or releasing a car without all the wheelnuts tightened. But at least it isn't possible to release a car with the fuel hose still attached and drag two men down along with a heavy piece of kit full of fuel.



Too much gazing at the Ferrari system, there have been epic fails with the standard lollipops.

We're seeing more wheels falling off this season, and still seeing collisions.

Solution is simple: minimum pit stop times. Leave the passing on the track.

#19 Gareth

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Posted 01 November 2010 - 16:49

I could see a Go override with a guy completely separate from the action, yep, while they get the system fine-tuned and tested at least. A back-stop role in case of failure.

[...]

The pitlane spotter should just have had a sort of "enable" input like the wheel and fuel inputs, so the car can only leave if they all say Go.

:up: Completely agree - that's how I'd see it operating.

Would be interesting to find out if that is how it operates now.