Supercars targeting 'damaging' grey areas with new pitstop rules

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Supercars targeting 'damaging' grey areas with new pitstop rules
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Feb 22, 2019, 2:32 AM

Supercars is hoping its new pitstop rules will remove grey areas that were exploited during the controversial end to last season.

The category's new Head of Motorsport Adrian Burgess has implemented a pair of key changes to pitstop procedure for the 2019 season, the first being a mandated use of a line-locker or handbrake during stops to avoid the rear wheel spinning.

The second is a re-wording of the regulation relating to the fuel nozzle being disconnected before a car is lowered off its jacks.

Both of these issues were thrust into the spotlight by a controversial final two rounds to the 2018 season, starting with Shane van Gisbergen's wheel-spinning incident in New Zealand.

The Kiwi was let off due to a lack of proof his clutch was disengaged, paired with a precedent for less than a full rotation to avoid penalty.

The mandated use of the handbrake during stops has now taken that precedent out of the question, and means the same situation this year would yield an on-the-spot penalty.

The only allowable movement will be during the engagement of first gear.

"There's always going to be a little bit of movement with the gear engagement," Burgess told Motorsport.com.

"That can't be helped. But it will be minute compared to what we've seen in the past.

"There won't be any precedents carried over, we won't need to worry about one revolution, because clearly if you get one revolution then your handbrake is not actuated.

"It should be a lot easier to police and that was a key part of this, to enable the stewards to make a judgement there and then and not have to err on the side of caution and wait until after the event.

"It's a pretty simple one when you look at it, because some of the teams were using the handbrake in the stops anyway. It's one of those 'why didn't we think of this before' moments.

"Engineers are paid to work in the grey area and maximise it, so it's about trying to do a better job for everyone involved – ourselves, the stewards when they're governing these breaches, and for the teams to operate with in.

"I canvassed quite a few of the teams and they were all very happy with the rule because it makes it easier for them."

The refuelling regulation – highlighted when van Gisbergen was controversially stripped of his Saturday win in Newcastle – now reads: “If a car is lowered to the ground prior to the fuel deliver hose of the refuelling tower being decoupled, the car must be raised immediately until the refuelling has been completed and the fuel deliver hose of the refuelling tower decoupled.”

Van Gisbergen would still have been penalised under the 2019 rules, however it would have happened on-the-spot rather than requiring a result to be overturned more than 12 hours later.

According to Burgess, swift in-race penalties are key to both of the new regulations, with last year's lengthy post-race investigations proving damaging for the sport.

"We've tried to remove the grey area out of it," said Burgess.

"I don't think anybody won last year when we had a trial by social media and in the stewards office and all that. I think it damages the sport.

"The biggest motivator was to tidy it up and make it black-and-white."

The new regulations will be used for the first time at the Adelaide 500.

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Series Supercars
Author Andrew van Leeuwen
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