After Mercedes attempted a “dummy” pitstop at the British Grand Prix, the FIA have outlawed the practice.
Motorsport.com reports that teams have been warned that any future attempts at such a deception will not be permitted.
Mercedes employed the move while involved in a battle for the lead with Williams in Sunday’s British Grand Prix. They sent their mechanics out into the pitlane in the hope that they could mislead Williams into believing that they would be pitting. It didn’t work however.
Toto Wolff, the motorsport boss at Mercedes, spoke of the incident after the race.
"We know that Williams has more difficulties in making the tyres last at the end and we knew that triggering an early stop would make them think, are we able to do that? It could trigger them into a pit stop," he said.
"It was a bit of a game, which didn't function. My wife [Williams test driver, Susie Wolff] sent me a WhatsApp message, saying: 'You guys think you can fool us, hah, hah, hah'.
The FIA have confirmed that attempts such as these are in fact against regulations, specifically because team members are only allowed in the pit lane to perform work on a car. This is specifically for safety reasons.
The rule itself, Article 23.11 of F1’s Sporting Regulations says: "Team personnel are only allowed in the pit lane immediately before they are required to work on a car and must withdraw as soon as the work is complete."
Mercedes were not ask to explain themselves as proving that it was indeed a “dummy” pitstop or a genuine change in strategy can be difficult.
Speaking to Motorsport.com a FIA spokesman said, "At the time, what Mercedes did was okay as no one knew that they were not actually going to stop. In fact we still don't really know.”
"However, 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."
This will be strictly enforced from the Hungarian Grand Prix onwards.