'CAREFUL NOW': Mercedes has escaped sanction for its attempted trickery during the 2015 British Formula 1 GP when the team falsely sent mechanics out into the pits lane. Image: AFP / Valdrin Xhemaj
LONDON, England - Formula 1 teams have been warned against making dummy pit-stops as a consequence of Mercedes' failed bid to fool Williams during the 2015 British GP.
While Brazilian Felipe Massa was leading for Williams Mercedes, current F1 champion team, sent mechanics out into the pits lane as if preparing for an early stop. The aim: to hoodwink Williams into changing strategy and bringing Massa in much earlier than scheduled but Williams saw the move as the ruse it really was and ignored it.
LECTURE FOR THE TEAMS
Mercedes escaped sanction for the attempted trickery but race director Charlie Whiting said on Thursday (July 9 2015) that teams could expect sanctions if they tried it in future.
Whiting warned: "Going into the pits lane for no valid reason is not allowed but the difficulty would be proving it was a clear breach. I will talk to all the teams in Hungary (ahead of the coming GP on July 26) and warn them that we will want to see (and hear) evidence that they were actually intending to stop."
The regulations state that team personnel are only allowed in the pits lane "immediately before they are required to work on a car and, for safety, must withdraw as soon as the work is complete".
Mercedes motorsport head Toto Wolff, whose wife Susie is a Williams test driver, admitted at Silverstone that the team had been trying to fool its rival. "We know Williams has more difficulty keeping the tyres until the end and we knew that triggering an early stop on lap 18... would have caused them problems at the end.
"So 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? Hahaha'. So it was worth at least the entertainment."
Wolff joked he would be dining alone later but the couple sent out a picture of themselves embracing in front of an Indian restaurant.
Whiting said no action was taken against Mercedes at the time because it was not immediately clear whether they had planned to stop or not.
"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."Stay with Wheels24 for the 2015 Formula 1 season. Fresh reports every day.