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DATE News (chronologically)
10/07/08
f1
FIA could ban unsafe Ferrari pit stop system UPDATE #2 (GMM)  Ferrari has decided to bring back the pitstop 'lollipop' for the three final races of the 2008 championship battle.

Following problems with the Italian squad's unique 'traffic lights' system in Singapore and also elsewhere, team principal Stefano Domenicali confirmed to Sky Italia that Ferrari will fall in line with the rest of the formula one teams for the decisive races in October and November.

He insists that the traffic lights system usually delivers "significant time savings" at pitstops.

"But we are going back to the old system, with a lollipop, because we have recognized that the team needs to be calm," Domenicali said.

At the last race in Singapore, when a mechanic wrongly pressed a button while Felipe Massa's car was still being refueled, the Brazilian driver ripped the hose from the rig and dragged it the entire length of the pits.

Instead of taking the championship lead from McLaren's Lewis Hamilton, he fell a potentially terminal seven points behind with just the Japanese, Chinese and Brazilian grands prix to go.

Domenicali continued: "At this stage of the season and with all the tension, it is better for everyone who works in the heat of the battle to do so with as little stress as possible."

He acknowledges that Massa's points position now makes the title less likely, but vowed to push hard to the finish.

"I am convinced that we have the right ingredients to win the next three races," Domenicali said.

"It will not be an easy task, but it is definitely not impossible either," he added.

09/30/08 (GMM)  Ferrari should simply abandon its unique electronic 'traffic lights' approach to F1 pitstops, former team driver and triple world champion Niki Lauda insists.

"They need to act now.  New technologies are not always better," the great Austrian told Bild newspaper.

Not for the first time in 2008, the system - operated either by automated sensors, or by mechanic-controlled buttons - failed spectacularly in Singapore, in a botched pitstop that could cost Felipe Massa the title.

Massa said after the race that one option for Ferrari is to revert to the more customary 'lollipop' solution.

Team boss Stefano Domenicali vowed to analyze the situation prior to the next outing in Japan.



09/29/08 The FIA are considering banning Ferrari's electronic pit system after yet another botched pit stop left a mechanic lying on the ground and put an F2008 into the path of another car.

This year's Championship has seen Ferrari replace the traditional lollipop man, who stands with a stick that reads "stop" or "go", with an electronic system linked to the refueling rig.

The system includes lights that go through a red, amber, green sequence hanging on a pod that is situated in front of the driver, telling them when they can go.

The system, though, has already done more harm than good, resulting in two mechanics lying flat on their backs on the ground and two unsafe releases that came within a whisker of causing pit lane accidents. 

And as a result Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali has conceded that the Scuderia need to review the use of the lights with the FIA reportedly set to ban it on safety grounds if they doesn't find a solution.

As a source told The Times: "Either it works or it doesn't." And in Ferrari's case, it doesn't.

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