28 Jan 2009

F1 changes pitting rule while safety car is out

9:51 am on 28 January 2009

Formula One's governing body has ditched a controversial rule that led to drivers being penalised for pitting during the early stages of the safety car being deployed in a race.

The revised rule will now allow the pits to stay open, with new software regulating the speed of drivers returning to refuel.

The rule closing the pits was introduced in 2007 for safety reasons to prevent drivers speeding through an accident zone in their haste to gain an advantage by getting back to the pits and refuelling while the safety car was on the track.

Renault's Fernando Alonso ended up in hospital after the 2003 Brazilian Grand Prix when he ploughed into the wreckage of Australian Mark Webber's Jaguar while the safety car was deployed.

The race was then stopped, with Alonso taking third place despite receiving medical attention.