Today’s Singapore Grand Prix should provide a thrilling spectacle on track between the world’s leading drivers but there is also fierce competition in the pitlane between rival teams of mechanics for the fastest pit stops.
As you would expect from the team which has raised its game in all areas of late, Red Bull leads the way on the fastest average pit stop across the season, but they have some stiff competition from Mercedes in particular and it is a point of contention for the Red Bull crew, directed by Jonathan Wheatley, that Mercedes has set a faster time this year for all four wheels changed; 2.82 seconds in China.
Clinching the two world titles is the absolute priority, but they also want to finish the season with a faster stop than Mercedes. Today’s race should give them plenty of practice; we are likely to see a mixture of three and two stop strategies among the front runners.
In the 13 races to date Red Bull has had the fastest average stop on seven occasions, while Mercedes has been on top four times. Ferrari and McLaren have topped the pit stop time sheets only once each.
Further down the field Force India is punching above its weight with the fifth fastest average pit stops, as is Lotus in sixth place, ahead of established teams Renault, Sauber, Williams and Toro Rosso.
The level of discipline in this area is an interesting indicator of a team’s overall sharpness and ambition, as shown by the almost military precision of the Red Bull operation, with small green lasers placed in the boons above the pit box, shining the exact spot for the driver to place the front wheels for fastest engagement of the wheel guns.
F1 PIT STOP LEAGUE TABLE, Average stop time behind fastest
1. Red Bull
2. Mercedes – 0.13sec
3. McLaren – 0.25sec
4. Ferrari – 0.55sec
5. Force India – 0.67sec
6. Lotus – 0.9sec
7. Renault – 0.91sec
8. Sauber – 1 sec
9. Williams – 1.15sec
10. Toro Rosso – 1.24sec
11. Virgin – 1.84sec
12. HRT – 3.33sec
Thanks to Mercedes GP Petronas for the data