Racing pit stops are known for being lightning-quick moments full of impressive work done by crew members. Capable of performing maintenance at unhuman-like speeds, pit stop crew members are highly talented.
Decades and decades of racing have allowed pit stop crews to hone and perfect their skills, leading to faster pit stops than ever before. The Formula One Red Bull Racing team is determined to set the bar for pit stop time standards higher than ever. They’ve accomplished this with not one, but two recent world record-breaking pit stops.
Red Bull: breaking pit stop records
Towards the end of July 2019, Red Bull Racing had one of the best Formula One races of the season. Dominating the German Grand Prix in Hockenheim, Red Bull took the number one spot in the race, as well as set a new world record for the fastest (and most impressive) pit stop.
According to Jalopnik, driver Max Verstappen pulled in for a pit stop on lap 46 of 64 for a four-tire change. The pit stop crew made it happen in the blink of an eye, or 1.88 seconds to be exact. That’s faster than ever before. What makes this even more astonishing is that this is Red Bull’s second time breaking the record, all within the same month. Catch the lightning-quick pit stop yourself here, but remember: don’t blink or you may just miss it.
Earlier in the month of July, the Red Bull team set a pit stop record of 1.91 seconds at the British Grand Prix. This record bested the previous world record by only .01 seconds, which according to Western Journal, was held by the same Red Bull Formula One team.
The Red Bull team is currently in the lead for the Fastest Pit Stop Award, given by Formula One at the end of the season. According to Formula 1, the “DHL Fastest Pit Stop Award” was first established in 2015, recognizing the “critically important contributions” to the success of drivers on the track.
What goes into an impressive pit stop
Pit stops are absolutely essential to not just a driver’s success, but their driving strategy as well. In racing, even hundredths of seconds matter, and an extra second in the pit stop could be the difference between winning and losing.
According to Car and Driver, the average pit stop lasts about 2.4 seconds and it can be difficult to see the intense work that goes into every single pit stop. For example, the Red Bull team makes use of a total of 16 people in their pit stop crew: two people in the front and back with jack, four to take off old tires, four with new tires, four who bolt-on the new tires, and two to stabilize the car. A pit stop works through a mixture of talented crew and superfast tools.
A variety of factors go into the speed of a pit stop crew, but according to Hot Cars, crews are working faster than ever with refueling no longer allowed in Formula One racing.
They use pneumatic wheel guns that are powered by nitrogen or air and spin faster than your average guns at 10,000 RPMs. When tires are put back on the car, the crew only has one nut to tighten before the car is ready to go. The bolts and tires are threaded in the opposite direction of rotation, so there’s no risk of the wheels coming off during the race. As Formula 1 points out, pit stops might be “the most visual evidence of why Formula 1 racing is a team sport.”
The Red Bull company has always been committed to “having wings,” and the work put in by its racing pit crew is only further proof of Red Bull’s ability to do unbelievable things.