Honda trial pit-light system

honda logoDespite the troubles that Ferrari have had with their system in recent races, Honda are pushing forward with their own pit-stop traffic-light system. The team have tested it for the first time during pit-stop practice on Thursday, with the potential to run the system during a practice session in the last few races of the season.

Honda team principal Ross Brawn is convinced that the system is safe and if the tests work well, the team may replace the standard lollipop system with the new traffic-light system.

“We’ve been working on the project for quite a long time now, and our first priority is safety,” Brawn explained to Autosport. “The second priority is to gain performance.

“We can see a lot of safety benefits from the system. But like any system it has got to be very robust and you have got to be very confident in the technology you are using. It is quite a delicate situation.

“At the moment we are really going through an assessment period. We wanted to do some trialling in the practice days at the race track to be in a good position to make a judgement over the winter about what we want to do.

“We can see, despite the poor exposure the system has had recently, a lot of safety benefits of the system – because the interlocks you create can, in theory, make it impossible for the car to be released without all the actions being completed.

“But someone has to make the call for whether there is a gap in the pit-lane for the car to exit into, and we haven’t yet worked out a way to deal with that. We have thought about sensors in the pit-lane that sense when other cars are there and things like that, but that is still a human judgement.

“It would still be human judgement if you had a lollipop though. And, with a lollipop, the guy is also trying to make that judgement at the same time as watching all the other activities that are going on with the car. That is where it is more difficult for him.

“If that person is only focused on finding the holes in the traffic in the pit-lane, and opening and closing the button when the gaps appear and disappear, then that is in theory a safer system. But we are reserving judgement until we have done all the work.”