What Pit Stops Tell You About The Differences Between F1 And NASCAR

I'm a fan of both NASCAR and F1, which to some people is like being a fan of both the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals. That's crazy talk. The sports are so different they can be enjoyed simultaneously, as we learned today.

So Red Bull Racing finally pulled off the sub 2.0-second pit stop in a race this weekend, which is quite impressive. However, as clueless points out:

Still has nothing on NASCAR.

F1 uses single lug wheels, in board jack system and doesn't refuel.

Nascar takes a little longer but needs way more skill. 5 lug rims, traditional jack that lifts the car twice and refuels.

Is that all there is, though? To wit bionicphil:

There are no on-board jacks in F1. There are two jack men, one at either end of the car. The rear man needs to move in to position once the car has passed. The front man stands in the way of the car, and needs to move out of the way (with the jack) before the car takes off. There's a lot of coordination going on to handle that with a car stationary for two seconds.

I think MaWeiTao sums it up best:

The apples and oranges argument really is overused. It's used to deflect arguments far too often. This is about as apples to apples a comparison as you can get, swapping tires.

The difference is that NASCAR relies on manpower to get their swapping times down. It's a test of the pit crew.

F1, on the other hand, is a feat of technology. So you've got guys at each wheel, just waiting for a wheel to appear in front of the. Every member of the pit crew has a single task. It's at a point where they could install a robotic contraption to do the job and it wouldn't get any faster.

So, superficially, an F1 pit stop is incredibly impressive. But when you look deeper, NASCAR pitstops require far more skill and thus are a much bigger feat. Yes, both require skill and precision, but F1 makes things easier for every individual.

It comes down to what you value more strongly; automation or the human element and auto racing, to a large extent, is still supposed to be a test of drivers and their teams. I'm not much of a fan NASCAR, but I can't deny the talent when I see it. And I'm not a fan of the fact that F1 did away with refueling.