Williams Head of Vehicle Performance, Dave Robson, believes that sub two seconds pit stops are humanly possible in F1, after suggestions of tricks.
Pit stops can win you a race, they can also lose you a race. In this day and age a pit stop of over three seconds for a standard tyre change is deemed too slow. There have even been sub-two second pit-stops performed on race day – most notably by Red Bull.
The latest directive was sent to the F1 teams after the French GP, which irked Red Bull a bit, as they felt they were being targeted for their quick stops. The safety push was to do with fastening of the wheel nuts and giving a green for the drivers to leave the box.
The argument was that some teams had mechanics kind of assuming that the nuts are fastened and the car is set to go, thereby gaining milliseconds in the process. The new rule is to eliminate the assumption and have mechanics with a time limit to be sure of it.
The exact times are not clear, but it is estimated that pit stops will be longer by 0.35s from Hungarian GP onward. While Red Bull raised their voice, but eventually have to accept the new rule under the safety parameter – even then they seem to quick still.
With these new directives, the sub two second stop could be deemed history as F1 teams reckon so. Alfa Romeo’s Beat Zehnder certainly thinks so, as he noted that humanly and under new rules, it is not actually possible to do a sub two second stop.
“If you stick to the rule, pit stops under two seconds are not possible,” Zehnder was quoted by AMuS, who noted that they have tried it multiple times. But Williams’ Robson felt otherwise, as he reckons sub two seconds stops are possible to do humanly.
“We can do sub-two-second pit-stops in practice,” said Robson, when asked by FormulaRapida.net. “Obviously, practice is quite different to the real car. And in practice the driver is not there pulling away, reacting to the lights. So, you don’t see that bit. But I think, it is humanly possible to change the four tyres, sub-two-seconds.
“Talking about the effect on us, in terms of the regulation changes, I actually don’t think it will have a big effect on what we do to be honest,” Robson summed up. Even though Williams are not at the front pace wise, but pit stop wise, they have been quick.
While the FIA are looking at slashing costs, safety is also paramount too. If a tyre isn’t fitted properly, they do come off and we have plenty of examples from the past, whether it was Nigel Mansell or Mark Webber or Johnny Herbert.
Looking at the future, Red Bull did a stop of 1.82s in Brazil in 2019, a record, we probably wont see that again. The team possibly are feeling short changed that their investment in supreme equipment may now come to zero from Hungary onward due to the new rules, but the on track gain won’t be affected by this.
The story was co-written by Neil Farrell
Here’s the discussion from F1 teams on pit stop rule
Here’s Dave Robson explaining race starts of George Russell