Mercedes may have won the championship year after year since the advent of the hybrid era, but Red Bull Racing has always been the team to beat when it comes to pitstops. Max Verstappen ‘s team also has the fastest pit stop this year, but it has to be said that since the new regulations for pit stops, there has been a noticeable deterioration in the once fast team.
Slow pit stops
Since the summer break all the teams have to deal with new pit stop rules. Unlike before, the four mechanics operating a wheelgun now have to press a button before the driver’s light turns green. This would bring the minimum pit stop time down to two seconds, a time that Red Bull Racing would accomplish easily. However, the team has been struggling with the new rules ever since.
Christian Horner indicates this in conversation with Speedweek.com also points this out. Indeed, in Monza there was the slow stop for Verstappen that eventually brought him close to Hamilton. In Sochi, there was a very slow stop for teammate Perez. “Sochi was slightly different. Right rear during Perez’s tyre change the wheel was stuck, Checo thought he already had the signal to drive away, but still had to stop again. So the procedure to give permission to drive away had to start all over again. It’s just a few seconds, but they pile up in this situation. We are constantly training the pit stops, but it is true that it has become more difficult.”
McLaren came out strong in Sochi, just like in Monza. Was this a surprise for Horner? “They have a car that is very strong on current circuits but less so on some, so there is a ripple effect in the form. McLaren generally have a good car and a strong engine, plus two exceptionally talented drivers and a great team. It’s no great surprise what McLaren delivers. But it still lacks consistency.”