The incredible science of Formula 1 pit stops


The Formula 1 pit stops are amazing, and work with incredible efficiency, and Williams has just hit the 2-second barrier. In Formula 1 every second counts, and with the speed limits at the exit of the pits, it makes a stop with less than two seconds perfectly incredible, and Williams has done it, but how was it possible?

The pit is the area where the team can make a difference for the pilot, and help him to achieve the best position in the race, and although we usually only pay attention to the driver, there is a team of about 20 perfectly coordinated mechanics that make a colossal difference to the race results.

The team of mechanics practices the operation hundreds of times throughout the season of Formula 1, and as the competitiveness of this sport demands, all the teams want to be the more efficient, so that in the end they can be a positive factor in the final result of the race for the driver.

Since refueling during the race was banned from the sport back in 2010, pit stops have suffered a significant decrease in duration, having achieved in the past two years the incredible barrier of three seconds, but Williams Martini Racing just went a step further and managed to achieve the fastest pit stop in history, 1.92 seconds.

After each stop in the pits, the stop is analyzed in detail, from the performance of the mechanics to the ergonomics and performance of the equipment they use everything is accounted for, in order to achieve maximum performance. Any mistake in the pit can cost several places a to the driver just like it happened to Daniel Ricciardo at Monaco in 2016, when his team did not have the tires ready to be put in his car.

The director of Williams Martini Racing believes that with a lot of training, for all unforeseen situations that can happen during a pit stop, the team will eventually be able to reach the incredible duration 1.6 seconds for the whole pit stop. The incredible amount of operations that are carried out in the short time the car is at the pit, is quite impressive, now let’s see, the car is lifted on the front and back, the mechanics loosen the wheels, four mechanics take off the old tires, and other four mechanics assemble the new tires, the mechanics re-tighten the wheels, the car is put on the floor and leave the pits.

With the amount and complexity of the intervention it is necessary for the team to maintain all the attention and coordination so that everything can be accomplished in the shortest time possible and since the average reaction time of the average human is around 200 milliseconds, which is precisely the length of time in which the mechanic unties the tires, every millisecond is essential.

Based on the article by the Wired.