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McLaren under pressure again on tyre stops
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Posted By: James Allen  |  08 Jul 2012   |  8:54 am GMT  |  42 comments

[Updated] Despite setting the fastest time this season for a pit stop, with a 2.4 second stop in Valencia, McLaren has had its fair share of problems this season in the pits.

And in today’s British Grand Prix they were under pressure again as they were faced the the possibility of having to use a stand in on the right rear corner of the car after the regular mechanic was injured in Valencia during the safety car period stop which went wrong for the team and lost Hamilton track position to Alonso.

Apparently the Ferrari chief mechanic who operates the lights system on the Ferrari rig was standing slightly further out than normal, which meant that Hamilton had to go around him and as he came into his pit box his front wing endplate gashed the leg of the right rear gun man.

The cut was very deep, requiring stitches both internally and externally.

He did a try out this weekend and it was decided that it would be tough for him to carry to his duties, so a stand in was drafted in.

They’ve done extensive practice, but inevitably he had not been drilled as the first choice crew has been and this may have cost them a few tenths of a second or more.

In the end the injured mechanic took his place and McLaren performed the two fastest stops of the day.

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42 Comments
  1. Bernie Olsen says:

    Good luck to the unknown stand-in. Nothing to win and everything to loose by taking the job.

    1. Horno says:

      Great reply, fully agree! +1

    2. KGBVD says:

      That’s not going to look good on the CV.

      Your replacement not only doesn’t screw up on the infamous right rear, but also helps produce the fastest stops of the day, consistently.

      He’d better hope he’s back for Germany!

  2. Susannomore says:

    Their luck is going from bad to worse. Seems like their is always an issue with tyres, in some shape or form

    1. Bring Back Murray says:

      It’s nothing to do with luck. Their organisation is a joke this year

    2. tharris19 says:

      I think there are some internal issues at MTC and the buck stops at Whitmarsh’s desk to get it fixed. McLaren’s problems did not start this year. I believe they started when McLaren came under Whitmarsh’s leadership.

  3. goferet says:

    In my experience whenever a team (that’s been performing poorly) decides to use their B team or reserve guy, they tend to do better for some reason even though the reserve wasn’t considered to be that good.

    This scenario can usually be seen in football so am silently optimist that Mclaren will have no problems today.

    Though what might throw the team off it’s balance again is if there’s a safety car and all the teams decide to pit on the same lap, yes, this is usually when Mclaren panic the most and thus mistakes.

    Meanwhile, I don’t know where I have been, first time am reading about what happened to the Mclaren mechanic in Valencia, all over a sudden, I do not feel so bitter and yes, get well soon fella.

    As for Ferrari… *No comment*

    1. VV says:

      What, you think the Ferrari guy did it on purpose? “Hey, if I stand a few inches further out, Lewis might mow down half of his pit crew!”.

    2. cjf says:

      The whole thing about the Ferrari guy standing further out is a bit of a red herring.

      The simple fact is that Lewis hit a member of his own pit crew.

      It’s a bit poor that McLaren try to deflect blame on to the Ferrari pit man rather than Lewis simply saying “oops..accidents happen”.

  4. Jude says:

    I do not envy this lad.

  5. Bru72 says:

    So Hamilton drove into the chap basically…..but it was Ferrari’s fault.

    1. RampantHaddock says:

      It was also their fault that the McLaren jack failed. New evidence recently came out that Montezemolo is directly responsible for the Pompeii eruption, the Exxon-Valdez oil spill, the Chernobyl meltdown, and the asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs. They have a lot to answer for.

    2. D@X says:

      Now that’s interesting! Whatever the incident I hope it’s something they have learnt from.

  6. JW says:

    Hi,

    I don’t know if anyone else saw this, but I thought I noticed (as I was watching Q3) that when Hamilton came in to swap his wets for inters that there seemed to a slight delay on the right rear corner wheel change.

    1. Nick Lynn says:

      Yep, I saw that too. Let’s hope it doesn’t happen today!

  7. Stephen says:

    Good luck stand in guy

    1. monktonnik says:

      Here here!

      1. Peter C says:

        Where? Where? Oh, hear, hear.

  8. Il Leone says:

    AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGH!
    Can McLaren not approach another F1 team and offer to buy their entire pit crew? Because I think the current Macca crew’s confidence must be through the floor. And chopping and changing individual members of the team must be more of a disruption to pitstop rhythm than installing a new team?

    1. Nigel says:

      Mclaren looking pretty smooth today, with the two fastest stops thus far.

    2. Peter C says:

      Just watched the race. McL consistently the fastest pitstops by averagely 0.5secs to most other teams!

      A pity about the 8th & 10th finishes, though.

  9. Bring Back Murray says:

    None of this would have been going on under Ron Dennis’s watch.

    Whitmarsh just doesn’t seem the type of person to go and give people the necessary bollocking when they stuff up.

    If anyone was to write a book on how to stuff up a championship, they don’t have to go much further than this season and McClaren

    Who cares if they’ve found 1/10th a lap of pace when they are losing an average of 5 seconds per race on stuffing up pit stops

    1. sarcosuchus says:

      +1

  10. Lisa Thomas says:

    Any formal apology from Luca de Montezemolo?

    1. Jezick says:

      For Lewis driving into one of his own pit guys…… why?

      1. aezy_doc says:

        I took Lisa’s comment as sarcastic.

  11. futureshock999 says:

    @Il Leeone – you can’t “buy” a pit crew. The number of team members is closely regulated, and all of the “pit crew” actually have other jobs (I almost said “real” jobs) as mechanics, engineers, etc. So they are mechanics first, pit crew guys second. Given McLaren’s overall reliability and usual good prep work, they are obviously very good at their main job. And frankly, most of the pit problems seem to me to be _design_ problems, i.e., titanium wheel nuts that are lighter but have different expansion characteristics than the hub, making them difficult to thread, experimental front jacks that worked 95%+ of the time in practice, but failed in the race when Lewis hit it too hard, etc. These things are not down to the pit crew – they were engineered in Woking. The bad pit stops are the price not of a bad pit crew, but the price of innovations that haven’t (yet) panned out. That miracle pit stop they had was what was achievable when all of these innovations are debugged – should that ever happen. We say that we long for the days when F1 was full of experimentation – and McLaren is reminding us that back in the old days, engines failed regularly, new suspensions cracked, etc. We SHOULD be cheering McLaren for their approach to bringing innovation to F1, not lambasting them for poor performance.

    1. TitanRacer says:

      good perspective…

  12. Rach says:

    Mclaren will find a way of cocking things up!

    They will probably pit jenson from p15 when Hamilton needs to pit and cost him the race. But it will be ok because jenson scored a point keeping him in the championship battle……..

  13. VV says:

    Isn’t it about time that the cars featured on-board jacks, as in other racing series? They’d be more reliable, and stop the teams spending money on ever more complex jacks. Make the on-board jack a mandatory, FIA-standard design.

    No more front jack man being run into, etc.

  14. Karen says:

    How does this work? Excuse my ignorance. Is there 1 pit crew for both Lewis and Jenson or 1 pit crew for each? If so and considering their positions in the Championship, wouldnt it make more sense to take the experienced pit member from Jenson’s team and put him in Lewis’ for the race, and let Jenson have the stand-in?

  15. Nigel says:

    McLaren pitstops are fine so far, but their strategy remains puzzling. Eight lap second stint on the options ?

    Also, they could profitably remind Button that they are a team. Quite why Button felt it was necessary to hold Hamilton up for a lap, and then let Grosjean straight through, immediately before pitting, is beyond me.

    1. aezy_doc says:

      Totally agree. Whilst button was not obligated to let Lewis through, given they were out of sync on pit stops I’d have thought he would have been told to get out of the way and then fight to keep grosjean behind. ultimately it would have made no difference because grosjean found some speed from who knows where, but mclaren would not have known that at the time.

  16. Thomas says:

    Credit where credit is due; McLaren performed the best pit stops at Silverstone today.

    Only problem is, they seem to have only the forth fastest car.

    1. Anand R says:

      5th fastest.. Red Bull-Ferrari-Lotus-Mercedes-Mclaren (see how easily Schumacher passed Hamilton!)

      1. Doobs says:

        Schumi was on better tyres at the time and the pass was a repeat in reverse of Hami passing Schu under similar ciircumstances earlier in the race.

    2. Peter C says:

      No, no,no. You mustn’t say that the McL is the fourth fastest car! To a FA fan, McL is fastest, RedBull is 2nd, Mercedes is 3rd, Lotus-Renault 4th.
      Ferrari is slower than all these, but FA can outdrive the car & get it home in a good position.
      It now becomes more tricky to explain,when FA has won more races than anyone, today had a second, & Massa was fourth.
      Goodness knows what will happen when the Ferrari becomes the 2nd quickest.

  17. Simple says:

    Well, if nothing else, at least McLaren managed some decent pit stops today!

  18. Phil says:

    Didn’t they do well? (The pitstops not the race)

    Shame they didn’t really get the most out of their new package but not really the best conditions to test it ahead of this race.

  19. JaY says:

    Fastest pitstops and the worst race pace.

  20. drama queen says:

    James,
    what about a feature on the Pit Crews ?
    Who are they ?
    Do they have day jobs ?
    Why do they do what they do ?

    1. James Allen says:

      They are the mechanics who work on the cars the rest of the time

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