Formula 1 pit stops are complicated dances that involve around 20 crew members on any given team, and in a sport with such fine margins, perfecting them can mean the difference between winning and not. Red Bull has had the quickest pit stops all season, but greater emphasis on one rule in particular might slow them down.
This is apparently to ensure that wheel guns aren’t being automated, as the rules state that any sensors must be passive, for safety reasons. Per Motorsport.com:
...in a note sent to all F1 teams ahead of the Austrian Grand Prix, it said that, from the Budapest race in August, teams pitstop procedures must have a tolerance built in that allows for human reaction times in signalling.
The figures are 0.15 seconds from wheel nuts being observed to be tight to the jack man being told to drop the car, and 0.2 seconds from the jacks going down to the driver receiving the go signal.
And while Motorsport.com says that this enforcement is not “aimed at a specific outfit,” RaceFans.net suggests strongly that that isn’t true. (As a secondary note, it’s always fun trying to figure out which teams leak to which websites.)
RaceFans understands the latest rules change has come about as a result of questions raised by some teams over the speed with which Red Bull, among others, have completed certain pit stops this year.
Red Bull have won the fastest pit stop award in five of the seven races so far this year. Sergio Perez had the quickest stop in the French Grand Prix, taking just 2.04 seconds, 0.16s quicker than any other driver.
The changes are expected to slow down pit stop times by two to three tenths of a second.
Red Bull have the six quickest pit stops this year in F1, with three of those under two seconds. This year is also shaping up to be one of the closer title races in recent Formula 1 history, so it would be shocking if Mercedes weren’t one of the teams asking questions about Red Bull’s fast pit stops. Bless Formula 1 for remaining as petty and bureaucratic as ever.