Two for the Road is a hangout for mystery writers Tammy Kaehler and Simon Wood to chat, reminisce, gossip, speculate and argue about all things motorsport.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Pit Stop

by Simon

I was playing over some of the racing I watched last year and I was thinking about how much strategy and luck played into many of the races. Luck is luck and it either plays to your favor or it doesn’t. Its part of any sport and it can’t be helped. Strategy though is something I’m not sure belongs in motor racing. It’s about the best driver winning, not about the best strategy.

Now when I say strategy, I’m not talking how a driver drives his race, but how the pits are utilized. I know the pits offer excitement because of the unpredictability and changeability, and yes, it is racing, but it’s not driving and I want to see racing. Races shouldn’t be won and lost in the pits, but on the track.

I get a little disappointed when cars come in every 30-40 laps in IRL to change tires and refuel. A driver’s work can be destroyed by a cross-threaded wheel nut. Now you may feel we don’t have a choice. The cars demand it, but I disagree. I remember when refueling Formula One was outlawed. The cars ran with a couple hundred gallons of gas on board. The car’s characteristics at the beginning of the race were a whole lot different than at the end. Now that’s exciting because you're stuck with those characteristics with no ability to change them. Now could that be extended to tire changes? How about one tank of gas and one set of tires per race? That could be a tough proposition. I’m not sure Goodyear and co can make a tire capable of surviving the rigors of 200+miles, but I think it would be worth trying. Some of fondest Grand Prix races were spent watching drivers trying to preserve “wet” tires on a drying track to stay out of the pits. So an answer might be to limit tire changes to two during the race. There'd still be a place for strategy, but it would in the hands of the driver and the driver’s alone, where it should be.

Agree or disagree?

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