Have you ever wondered what it would be like for a Formula One pit crew to take on a tire change in space? I know that I have, mostly just because I frequently wonder what it would the future of racing will be (hint: it is long-distance interplanetary racing). Red Bull Racing is ahead of the game—it’s already practicing its zero-gravity pit stops in the event that this very specific genre of racing takes off sooner rather than later.
Red Bull really went hard preparing for this whole thing. It sent members of its pit crew to Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center at Star City in Russia for a week of zero-gravity training just to get ready for this pit stop, Motorsport.com reports. Here’s more:
Using an Ilyushin II-76K training plane, which experiences zero gravity for around 20 seconds when it is put into a parabolic flight at 33,000 feet, the crew successfully changed tyres on an 2005 RB1.
Red Bull chose the RB1 because it’s a far smaller car than many of the more recent iterations, making it far easier to move around and navigate within the narrow confines of the training plane.
The whole process takes much longer than Red Bull’s current record-breaking pit stops—but I’m sure that just comes down to the whole ‘needing more practice’ thing.
According to members of the crew, the whole process was a lot harder than they actually imagined. Keeping a car steady as it floats along in space is tough enough—but many crew members were saying that it was the bodily sensation of floating that proved most challenging.
It’s a cool idea and a cool video—but I really wish I was there in the meeting where this idea got pitched out.