FIA race director, Charlie Whiting, had earlier reduced the minimum pit-lane speed to 60 km/h from the previous 80 km/h. This was done in the wake of a sharp entry to the pits in Paul Ricard, which could cause cars to go directly into the Mercedes box on entry.
Mercedes boss, Toto Wolff praised the call but wanted the FIA to take a closer look at the concerns of the pit-lane. “Tomorrow [Sunday] with rain, the garage entry is a worry. But I have 100% confidence in Charlie and his men that by reducing the speed limit, it will be ok”, he said.
“We had some terrible accidents with dreadful injuries, cars aquaplaning into people and into pit equipment”, the Mercedes honcho said with regards to a DTM race being stopped at Hungary due to pit-lane incidents.
He revealed that Mercedes had measured the data and determined that it was especially dangerous during a wet race. “In Budapest, we measured the data when [Edoardo] Mortara and [Lucas] Auer turned into their respective pit boxes.”
“They were doing 40 km/h [25 mph]. Whatever speed you do, you aquaplane. The pit exit is not good, because it is right on the line. For next year, it is something clearly we can improve”, said Wolff.
The pit-lane is not the only concern that the F1 paddock have with the Circuit Paul Ricard. The drivers had earlier complained that the confusing track layout, coupled with multiple colours and lack of reference points had posed a major problem to them.
Another concern some of them had was the chicane at Turn 10 on the back straight, which several of them felt that they could do without as the cars underwent a lot and the removal could also lead to better overtaking at that particular turn.
The return of the French Grand Prix certainly has come with its fair share of issues but Mercedes put in a stellar qualifying to take their second 1-2 of the grid this season. They’ll be hoping to put all this behind and ensure a smooth race to get back into the title race.