Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali has revealed the Scuderia are to ditch their electronic pit stop system in the wake of a costly blunder at the Singapore Grand Prix.
The Italian team had done away with the traditional lollipop system to hold the car in the pits during refuelling and tyre stops, instead implementing a ’traffic light’ gantry that turns green when it is safe for the driver to move off.
But the system was found wanting at Singapore last time out when Felipe Massa was given the signal to leave the pits while the refuelling hose was still attached.
The green light would usually come on automatically when the fuel hose is removed from the car but in Singapore the system was set to manual.
The incident and subsequent delay scuppered Massa’s hopes of winning the race, which he was leading comfortably before pitting, and marked the second time the system had led to him leaving the pit box too soon after a similar situation in Valencia.
Massa’s problems at Formula One’s maiden night race paved the way for McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton to take third place – and a seven-point lead in the drivers’ championship with three rounds remaining – and Domenicali admitted it will be back to basics for the Prancing Horse at this weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix at Fuji.
“Right now we need to stay calm and therefore we’ve decided to go back to the old system,” Domenicali told Italian sports daily 'La Gazzetta dello Sport'.
The announcement comes just a couple of days after Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone heavily criticised Ferrari for the shortcomings of their new system.
Speaking to the 'Mail on Sunday', Ecclestone said: “If Massa loses the world championship, he will know the team were responsible. He would have destroyed everybody in Singapore if he had kept going.
“If it’s a matter of turning a switch, which I am led to believe is how it works, then why not stick with the lollipop man of old?
“Why do you want to have some other piece of technology that can go wrong? It’s over the top.”