McLaren sponsor TAG Heuer this weekend honoured the McLaren pit crew which set a new pit stop record this year, changing all four wheels and tyres in 2.31 seconds in Germany.
It was the first sub 2.5 second stop ever seen in F1 and to celebrate it, each member of the 22 strong pit stop crew was given a TAG Heuer Carrera watch.
“A Formula 1 pitstop is the perfect representation of seamless teamwork. Every movement needs to work in perfect sync for a stop to be a success,” said Jenson Button, who was the lucky recipient of the stop in Germany.
“Getting it right has become an art-form, and I’m incredibly proud that the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team has worked so hard to become the best in the pit lane.”
The target for all the crews is to do a stop in under 2 seconds. It requires very advanced pit equipment, which few of the teams have at present, special quick release jacks and wheel guns that retain the wheel nuts.
The reaction time of the driver is also a factor, when he sees the lights indicating it’s time to go, he takes just over a tenth of a second to react and drop the clutch. Guiding the car into the pit box correctly is also vital, so that the car stops exactly where the mechanics are.
Germany was a turning point for McLaren in many ways; not only did it highlight the astonishing turnaround in McLaren’s pit stop performance, from a series of botched and slow stops at the start of the year into consistently the fastest, since Sporting Director Sam Michael carried out a root and branch reworking of the process. But also the aerodynamic update package on the car signalled the start of a dominant period for the team. Button finished second in Germany and the team has won every race from pole since then.
Lewis Hamilton’s pole in Singapore is the team’s fourth in a row.