With refuelling banned we’re going to see some wickedly fast pit stops in 2010. How fast? The Williams crew are already able to swap four tyres in less than three seconds.
The fastest four-tyre pit stop recorded in F1 was 3.2 seconds – so who will be first to break that record, and just how quick can they get?
Williams media manager Claire Williams posted on Twitter that the team’s pit stop preparations were going well:
More pit stop practice on the agenda today, the guys have made it into the sub-three second range to change a set of tyres!
The team were also practising their pit stops yesterday and driver Nico Hülkenberg also had a go at changing one of the front wheels.
As pit stops this year will not be delayed by fuel rigs coming on and off the car a quick change will be decidedly entirely by how quick the mechanics are. A moment’s hesitation, a dropped wheel nut or a tyre that won’t go on properly could cost a driver a victory.
The last time F1 had refuelling-free pit stops Benetton set what is believed to be the fastest time every recorded for a tyre change in F1 – 3.2 seconds. That was on Riccardo Patrese’s car at the Belgian Grand Prix in 1993.
If Williams can repeat what they did in their dress rehearsal at the race, they’ll beat that time – but doing it under the pressure of a live race is a different matter.
All the other teams will be practising as well, of course. Will any of them have any clever tactics to get the tyres off and on quicker than their rivals? The first round of pit stops at Bahrain will be fascinating to watch.
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Read more: A brief history of pit stops in F1 (video)
Image (C) Williams/LAT