Frederic Vasseur has hailed Sauber F1’s pit crew for the extra effort put in the winter to extract as much performance in the 2018 season.
Since the ban of refueling in F1, tyre pit stops plays a crucial role in how the races pan out for a driver or a team. The teams are pushing as much to lower their tyre change time to help its driver gain strategically on its rivals in the pit stops.
Sauber ended up fifth in the DHL Fastest Pit Stop Award standings for 2018 where in 19 of the 21 races the team finished in the Top 10 of the fastest pit stop time in a race which included three races where they had the best time even.
Their best time recorded was 2.21s for Charles Leclerc in Monaco GP. Sauber’s team principal Vasseur regarded the efforts of the pit crew who put in additional time in the winter between 2017 and 2018 season and were rewarded in the season then.
“If you are looking at pure performance, there are [several] pillars of performance: engine, drivers, aero, exploitation on track – we can consider pit stop is included on track,” started Vasseur. “Fortunately, we now have the resources to work on every single pillar.
“So, pit stop was one of them as I said. We worked a lot in the last winter, we sent them to physical fitness training for one week [where] they did special exercise for this. I think everybody is focused on his own job including mechanics and we improved drastically.
“On this point [though], all the gains was human [and no gains from machine]. They did a huge effort in the winter period. If I look on overall 2018 season, I think on the technical and sporting side, we did a good job.
“If you compare last year or with the first event of , we made a huge step forward. For sure it’s a great feeling for everybody in the team. Honestly, I didn’t fixed a target at the beginning of the season.
“It is OK we have to be there [in midfield] because it is also depending on the job of the others, it is always relative but at least in terms of improvement on the aero and other parts, I think we improved and are improving step by step.”
The team started off slowly with Leclerc and Marcus Ericsson but picked up by mid-season and eventually managed to get itself ahead of Toro Rosso, McLaren and Williams pace wise – among them it finished ahead of Toro Rosso and Williams in the standings.
[Read: Vasseur on Sauber and Charouz’s partnership]