Schumacher and Rosberg boosted by Mercedes’ rapid pit stops

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Nico Rosberg's pit stop in Sepang was the fastest of the race
Nico Rosberg's pit stop in Sepang was the fastest of the race

The Mercedes W01 may not be the quickest car on the track – but the team are the fastest in the pit lane.

Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg have enjoyed the fastest pit stops of the race in four of the eight rounds so far this year.

Championship-leaders McLaren, meanwhile, are the sixth-quickest team in the pit lane. They lost positions in pit stops in the last two races – though that didn’t stop them winning both of them.

Teams pit stop times

The table below show how much slower each team’s pit stop was than the best pit stop of the race. (If they were quickest, the difference is zero).

2Red Bull0.5430.0000.0001.3000.8150.4560.2010.8610.711
7Toro Rosso1.3911.0771.7561.0260.5023.2771.4491.6540.390
8Force India1.4881.2092.2291.6400.0000.9601.2064.1920.468

Red Bull had the quickest pit stops in the first two races, Force India edged Mercedes in China and Ferrari’s stop which got Fernando Alonso ahead of Lewis Hamilton was the quickest in Canada.

The FIA only lists the total time spent in pit lane for each car – it does not produce complete data on the stationary times for every pit stop. FOM’s on-screen graphics suggest the best pit stops this year have been around three seconds.

The times above therefore reflect not only how quickly the team performed the tyre change (typically around three seconds), but also how well the driver stopped on his mark and accelerated away again. But this is every bit as important as how quickly the wheels go on and off.

If a driver fails to stop on his mark accurately, precious seconds can be lost as the mechanics have to move to swap the wheels.

And, as we see at the start of every race, there’s a lot of time to be won and lost in making a quick getaway. Surface conditions in the pitlane are often different to those on the track, especially in wet races where the track dries more quickly.

At Shanghai Lewis Hamilton had wheelspin on the wet pit lane while leaving his box during the race. The time lost meant he rejoined alongside Sebastian Vettel and had to fall behind the Red Bull, having entered the pits ahead of his rival.

McLaren’s pit lane problems are reflected in the data above. Hamilton also lost a place to Vettel at Istanbul (though his was partly because Vettel had the advantage of pitting first) and Fernando Alonso at Montreal last weekend.

At the Circuit de Catalunya Jenson Button had a slow pit stop, losing a place to Michael Schumacher who had the quickest pit stop of the race. Button’s pit stop was delayed because his dash had died earlier in the race and he wasn’t able to manage his revs properly to get an optimum start.

The difference between a good and bad pit stop can be just a few tenths of a second. But that can make the difference between winning and losing a place.

Drivers pit stop times

Here’s the same data as above broken down by driver:

Jenson Button1.2833.7781.6041.7845.9340.6690.623
Lewis Hamilton0.9410.5101.2411.2461.9561.8233.1750.554
Michael Schumacher0.9000.8950.0410.0000.0000.3780.275
Nico Rosberg2.0350.4730.0002.6990.7520.2260.0000.529
Sebastian Vettel0.0001.0101.3000.8151.6540.2010.8610.903
Mark Webber2.9300.0003.7631.1380.4560.5741.6560.711
Felipe Massa0.7805.8980.9560.3250.2101.2000.1612.094
Fernando Alonso0.8943.3040.5480.5160.2922.5931.5490.000
Rubens Barrichello1.4110.6120.5270.7540.9791.5344.1401.684
Nico H???lkenberg2.8767.7531.1341.3251.0050.622
Robert Kubica0.9060.6711.1561.3090.3460.8870.5050.659
Vitaly Petrov5.4463.4392.4750.9132.5931.6691.287
Adrian Sutil1.2091.6400.0000.9602.2954.1920.715
Vitantonio Liuzzi1.6712.2294.0171.2065.2410.468
Sebastien Buemi5.2432.5753.2771.4492.6291.138
Jaime Alguersuari1.0771.7561.0260.5021.6891.6540.390
Jarno Trulli4.7192.3934.7342.247
Heikki Kovalainen4.1344.2843.1228.3182.209
Karun Chandhok3.2513.9223.0702.5303.242
Bruno Senna3.9492.8604.4383.539
Pedro de la Rosa0.6463.5523.2890.8142.419
Kamui Kobayashi1.7314.066
Timo Glock4.9844.0102.0981.280
Lucas di Grassi4.1763.0473.6312.7672.161

Pit stops

Image (C) Mercedes

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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44 comments on “Schumacher and Rosberg boosted by Mercedes’ rapid pit stops”

  1. Oh the sweet life of being on the pitcrew for Sauber or Virgin. Turn up to a race and you have a 62.5% chance of making a pitstop.

    1. LMAO!

      i’d do that :P

    2. The pit crew are the mechanics….so they have a 75% or so chance of rebuilding a crashed car…..

      1. Tell that to Petrovs crew!

    3. It’s quite telling that Kobayashi’s only made it as far as the pits in two races.

  2. Guilherme Teixeira
    17th June 2010, 12:03

    Mercedes had the clever idea of making it’s front jack ‘turnable’. When the mechanic lifts the front of the car, he immediately moves his body in the direction of the pits. The jack can rotate on itself but the part which lifts the car stays where it is. This way the mechanic can get way from the front of the car faster. I’m surprised no one copied that already.

    1. Very correct. I Noticed it in Canada and tought it was very clever!

      1. they’ve also had it for a significant number of GPs..but then again, no-one seemed over-eager in copying Williams’ hydraulic jack when it was deemed legal, despite them having it since 1996 or even 1995, not exactly sure about that

        1. They’ve had it from the very start of the season and through testing as well if I remember correctly.
          Can’t remember where I read about it but think it was either Scarbs or James Allen that covered it before we got the first race in an article about what pitstops would entail and what teams were doing to make them quicker.

    2. “I’m surprised no one copied that already.”

      It’ll be homologated ;-)

  3. I think Webber’s pit stop in the Canadian GP on lap 50 was the fastest stationary time this season as his tyre change just needed 3 second.

    I do think that the Mercedes are the fastest guys out there.I do like the idea of showing the total time from pit entry to exit as it does shows not only the teams capability to work fast in pressure but also the drivers pin point accuracy by which he can gain or lose a second or two which eventually will fixed his fate of where in comes out of the pit in relation to his track position.

    1. this is total pit time including driving through the pit lane, which is more relevant because it includes the driver stopping the car and the getaway which all needs to be bang on.
      if it was possible, it would measure the total time taken that’s different to a normal lap because time can be lost and gained before the speed limit line too.

  4. Are the teams allowed to ‘tidy up’
    or ‘improve’ the surface of the pit
    box area, including both approach
    and exit paths for each car ?

    1. You think like a pit stop strategist!

      Yes, there are rules – article 23.1 of the Sporting Regulations:

      f) Other than drying, sweeping or any tyre rubber left when cars leave their pit stop position, competitors may not attempt to enhance the grip of the surface in the pit lane unless a problem has been clearly identified and a solution agreed to by the FIA safety delegate.
      g) Competitors must not paint lines on any part of the pit lane.

      There are similar rules about the car’s starting place on the grid – John Button alluded to them when he was interviewed on BBC before the start of the race.

      1. Matt G (lotus fan)
        17th June 2010, 16:28

        g) Competitors must not paint lines on any part of the pit lane.

        Doesn’t say anything about duck tape. We all know how much F1 loves loopholes. Before a race cars often spin their wheels in the box to give them a bit more rubber during the race.

        Off topic how do you make text grey or in italics? i’ve seen it done but I don’t know how to do it.

      2. weren’t at some point some kind of “rugs” (2 of them, the width of the tyres and placed exactly where the car should have stopped for the tyre change and fueling) in the team’s pit boxes?..I think I recall (or reminisce a dream, can’t tell) Ferrari having those red strips/rugs at their pits some years ago

      3. Huh !…just because I was given a stop
        watch on my 6th birthday doesn’t mean a

        1. Did you time the amount of time to write your post ;-O

    2. Very interesting question! Anyone has the knowledge to answer it? Keith did you ever saw something like these in your experience this season?

      1. I writing speed in English aren’t enough for F1 standards for sure! I’m portuguese :P

        1. And when I push the throttle some letters vanish in tin air!

          I meant “My writing speed”

          1. I think I read that teams used to spill coca-cola ”accidentally” to improve grip in the box.

    3. Funny enough, coke does enhance traction. we use to do it all the time in R/C racing, spray the trajectory with coke, and have fun see these cars corner like on rails…

      as for the pit entry exit, i always thought the guys spin their tires all weekend long while exiting to lay down rubber for better traction out of the box

  5. Show what a load of rubbish some people were talking about benefiting Button on pit stop. Turkey look like the only one were Hamilton had a slower pit stop.
    Never let the truth get in the way of a good conspiracy *rolls eyes*

    1. True, I’ve never understood why a team would noble one of its Drivers. Unless they ddin’t want to win the Constructors Championship.

  6. Good article there. I don’t like the headline timing of the wheel change as it’s a) very approximate and b) as you rightly say, irrelevant.

    It is impressive how much quicker pitstops are these days than when it was previously tyres-only. I’m amazed more teams haven’t got it badly wrong yet

    1. 10seconds used to be a fast pitstop. 3 is incredible. Funny that McLaren are behind, last year they seemed to have the smoothest, more evidence that their reputation for efficiency is masking quite a few operational flaws. Pitstops luckily is something they should be able to sort out.

      1. I remember Hamilton’s 09 pitstop in Singapore, where he went split second before his rear wheels touched the concrete, I was watching that whith shriveled face, but in the end it worked out and it was a quick stop.

  7. What stands out here is how bad the new teams are. OK I can understand them being off the pace on the track, but why so far off in the pit stops? That’s something that is not high tech and they have no restriction on practicing. Very curious.

    1. Matt G (lotus fan)
      17th June 2010, 15:10

      I think when you have less than a year to design an F1 car from scratch getting an extra second out of your pit crews is a preety low priority. I think they are concentrating on getting the car to the finnish rather than pit stops.

    2. Looking at their reliability, given the choice between having the mechanics work on the cars or trying to find a second or two by practising pit stops, I think they’d go for the former.

      1. It’s probably worth the new teams’ mechanics spending that extra second or two looking over the cars to see if there’s anything obvious wrong (which may save another pit stop). There’s probably a lot more financial incentive in them finishing a race rather than having a very fast pit stop.

      2. Did you have a look at extra long times for changing wings or repairs before looking at the times?

        That would only be of interest if you go from the average/added pitstop times per team/driver, not for taking in account only the fastest time by each driver.

  8. Hm. Good point, Jim.

    I wonder if the new teams pit stops are slow because they are more likely to have had to deal with other things like changing front noses, etc. than the established teams?

    1. That was my interpretation, the longer pit stops were potentially due to more then just tyre changes? But, using the Virgin’s as an exmaple, have Glock and Di Grassi been involved in collisions in every race they pitted? Though Glock in Canda isn’t too far off the pace

      1. Usually Keith discounts stuff like that I think. Maybe he didn’t.

        That would skew the graph in favour of the top teams, because typically, it’s the mid filed where the problems happen.

  9. If my quick brush over of the individual times is correct. MSC has had the fastest average pit stop time of anyone. Thats pretty impressive considering a couple of his races have had 2+ stops per race. He is hitting his marks and the team is on their game when MSC comes to stop.

    At least he’s leading in that statistic. =P

    1. That chart only shows a driver’s best time for each race, remember, so in fact having more stops per race is probably an advantage!

      1. That can be seen in the canada race as well. Most guys improve on second and third stops, Glock improves quite a lot with his last stops.

  10. It’s too bad the FIA doesn’t publish the stationary stop times. It would be interesting to know how the pit crews are performing without those times being affected by the driver… I wonder how much of the variation between times is the driver vs. the crew.

  11. That McLaren data is shocking.

    1. Well it was to be expected. They had 2 slow pitstops for Hamilton. And Button had a bad stop in Spain as he was struggling with the clutch.
      Also they have not been the best in pitstops for years.

  12. It is great to finaly see this data – where did you get it Keith?

    1. It’s just based on the data the FIA publishes after each race.

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