The origin of Red Bull’s fast stops explained

Sergio Perez in the pits for new tyres. Miami May 2022 Credit: PA Images

Ex-F1 mechanic Kenny Handkammer, one of the men involved in breaking the two-second pit stop barrier with Red Bull in 2012, says it all comes down to practice and robust procedures.

But not too much practice, be careful, because it’s a “ballache” for the mechanics.

Red Bull broke the two-second barrier in 2012 with a 1.92-second pit stop for Mark Webber at the United States Grand Prix.

They held the record alone until 2016 when Williams equaled it, before Red Bull took the lead in 2019 with a 1.82s for Max Verstappen at the Brazilian Grand Prix.

It’s the record that stands today and is unlikely to be broken for years to come given F1’s new pit stop regulations that came into effect last season, designed specifically to slow pit stops.

Handkammer, who worked for Benetton before heading to Red Bull, explained the initial stoppage of less than two seconds.

“I think we just created more robust procedures,” he told Peter Windsor’s YouTube channel.

“Everyone knew exactly what to do and I think they were just focusing on their main tasks that they needed to do. It’s just practice with how the car stopped, how we had to release the car, etc.

“Wheel nuts come off before the car stops, you know. The guys were reaching out and it’s off before the car comes, so it’s just on and off.

“It’s just practice.”

But, he added as a warning, it’s “not just about practicing, practicing, practicing because the other thing is too much practice and people start to switch off and then you can hurt people.

“Sometimes if you give guys a goal in practice like ‘hey guys, if you can make three stops at 2.2 we’re done, we won’t make 50 pit stops’. They would get tired and bored and think ‘when the hell will this end because I would actually have to build my car and it’s taking time out of my day’.

“So the mechanics always thought it was a bit of a ballache, pit stop practice, but in the end they were really excited to get out there and just hit it and do it and get back to work. “

The fastest pit stop this year is just 2.27 seconds, Sergio Perez’s pit stop at the Australian Grand Prix.

The slower stops are the result of new F1 regulations, implemented last season, which state that teams cannot change certain parts faster than 0.15s, while there is also a minimum time. to free the wheel guns from the wheels.

The new rule was introduced after Mercedes raised safety concerns, angering Red Bull as the Brackley team attempted to stamp out one of its advantages.

“Mercedes pushed because they wanted to steal our advantage in the pit stops,” Red Bull motorsport adviser Helmut Marko told Auto Motor und Sport.

“We are losing up to four tenths. Seven years of work and training have contributed to the regularity and speed of our pit stops.

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