Renault have designed a special quick-release jack to speed up their tyre changes this year.
They will also use specially-designed wheel nuts to get tyres on and off more quickly.
Sporting director Steve Nielsen said:
Although we always aimed to complete pit stops as quickly as possible, the main emphasis was on attaching and detaching the fuel hose. By taking fuel out of the equation, it’s purely down to the tyres and this has become another area where you can win or lose time. The wheels need to be changed as quickly as humanly possible.
Three and a half seconds will be a decent stop, which has halved the time available for the crew to service the car compared to last year.
Renault ran into trouble with their pit stops in 2009 when they sent Fernando Alonso onto the track at the Hungaroring with a loose front wheel. It later fell off, leading to his retirement. The stewards initially banned Renault from the following race, but later rescinded the punishment.
Nielsen added that the ending of refuelling during pit stops did not mean pit crews would go back to wearing shorts and T-shirts:
The pit lane is still a dangerous place. We will keep the mechanics fully kitted out in fireproof gear. The only difference this year is that OMP have supplied us with two layer suits instead of the standard three layer suits – so the guys won’t get so hot in Bahrain! Also, wearing helmets will protect the guys in case they get knocked over or if there’s an incident in the pits.
Meanwhile Robert Kubica said he expects his new team to show improved speed at Bahrain with a new aerodynamic upgrade:
We haven’t run with all our new updates yet and there is another aero upgrade for Bahrain, which we hope will match the wind tunnel predictions and improve performance.
Overall, it seems that all the top teams are quite close, but some have definitely hidden their full potential during testing and will also have more updates for Bahrain. So far, I think Ferrari and Mercedes look very strong.