I In the 2017 World Cup ranking, Sauber was beaten on the last place. The same picture at the pit stops. Sauber only made it into the top ten with his best pit stop in one of the 20 races. The internal record was Marcus Ericsson's 3.05 seconds at the Austrian GP.
But the upward trend is clearly visible in 2018. In the first six races of the season, the name Sauber has made it into the top ten of the tire change ranking seven times. In the DHL points classification, the Swiss are in 5th place behind Red Bull, Mercedes, Ferrari and Williams.
According to internal measurements, Sauber has broken the magical two-customer barrier twice. 1.88 seconds in Shanghai, 1.96 seconds in Barcelona. Measured from standstill to the green light on the traffic light. In one case the driver was so surprised by the speed of the process that he almost gambled away the profit when changing tires with a poor reaction time.
Sauber wins the pit stop classification
In Monte Carlo, Sauber won the DHL - For the first time ever, it includes the driver's reaction time and measures it from stopping to driving away. Charles Leclerc's pit stop lasted just 2.21 seconds. Even the big teams in the narrow pit lane of the street circuit couldn't do that any faster.
It is no coincidence that Sauber can change tires quickly. On average, the Swiss have improved the handling of their cars by one second compared to the previous year. There are many reasons for this. Better equipment for the impact wrenches, which cost up to 8,000 euros. Newly designed components such as wheel hubs and wheel nuts. A more intense oneTraining of mechanics with a special fitness program for core and upper body muscles. “In practice, we're almost disappointed if we don't manage it in less than two seconds,” laughs team manager Beat Zehnder.
Before 2017, Sauber had to practice with a narrow car
The tighter it was When midfield approaches, the more important the pit stops become. 'It can make a difference from a position in the field whether it takes two or two and a half seconds,' emphasizes Zehnder. From Sauber's point of view, one advantage is that the mechanics were able to practice with a car in accordance with the current regulations in winter. During the 2016/2017 winter break, only a narrow 2016 car with the old, narrow tires was available as a test dummy. The 2017 Sauber was only finished at the last minute due to the late engine decision.
For the mechanics, the different wheel sizes make a huge difference. The wider wheels are heavier and more cumbersome to assemble and disassemble. Sauber is already thinking about the next step. A special structure of a wheel carrier and axle on a treadmill. The process can then also be practiced individually without the whole car.