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McLaren wants faster pit stops: the goal is two seconds

Wolfgang Wilhelm
McLaren wants faster pit stops
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M cLaren had to struggle a lot in the first seven races of the year Listen to criticism. There was no question of pit stops, but of pit flops. Jenson Button's left rear wheel got stuck in Shanghai. Same problem for Lewis Hamilton in Bahrain. He only lost 16 seconds to Sebastian Vettel in the pit lane. In Montreal, two stops went wrong for Hamilton. And in Valencia the Englishman lost eleven seconds at the second stop because a front wheel resisted the assembly. On average, McLaren was in the lower midfield during the pit stops. Where Ferrari was last year. But the reds turned the tables in 2012. On average, you are the absolute number one today.

New tools and new choreography

McLaren also responded. The program has been running since the Bahrain GP. First, the tire change crew was reorganized. It has not been changed since Barcelona. With more training and permanent positions in the team, there was more security. And with it the downtimes decreased. Still, something went wrong every now and then. In Montreal, McLaren introduced new jacks, impact wrenches and rims with built-in wheel nuts. That is four tenths on paper. If the choreography of the 17 players works optimally.

The first signs of improvement were already visible in Valencia. The McLaren squad recorded the fastest single stop. 'When the first tire change, Lewis was only 2.6 seconds. Nobody was faster,' said sporting director Sam Michael happily. He reveals that three tenths were given away at this stop. 'If Lewis had reacted optimally, he would have drifted off after 2.3 seconds.'

It was all the more annoying that the positive trend was clouded by two mishaps. The aforementioned stop in the SafetyCar phase, in which eleven seconds and three positions were lost. The mechanic on the right rear wheel left an open wound above the knee that had to be sutured. The rear wing endplate shaved off his foot. Hamilton had to drive out of the parking position almost at right angles because of a vehicle in front of him. It put the stern briefly across. Mechanics are tough guys. On Saturday from Silverstone the man reported back to work.

Pit stops are becoming more important

Sam Michael lays down a lot of emphasis on the pit stops. 'Youare becoming more and more important because the field is so close together. A second more or less when stopping can decide several positions. It's been two and a half years since refueling stops were banned and everything focused on changing tires. During this time, all teams invested a lot of time and money in optimizing the pit stops. It's not just the tool that's important. You also have to have a well-rehearsed troop. For me it's like a soccer team that has to harmonize. '

The McLaren pit stop training was worth it. Allegedly, the McLaren mechanics practiced up to 800 tire changes before the British GP. That's why they were at Silverstone Clearly the fastest. This time without incident. Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button spent just 99.401 seconds in the pit lane for their four stops. Ferrari was second with 100.805 seconds, followed by Red Bull with 102.181 seconds and ToroRosso with 103.928 seconds. Mercedes, last year's class leader came in fifth with 110.208 seconds. A failed pit stop at Nico Rosberg's office hit the office. Lotus only managed 111.041 seconds despite new pit equipment, just ahead of Williams with 111.254 seconds. Sam Michael demands: 'Our goal to At the end of the year there is an average of 2.5 seconds downtime. 'For 2013, the Australian thinks a further increase is possible.' I keep two seconds downtime on Wed. ttel not for being unrealistic. '

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