Teams braced for challenge of Zandvoort’s tighter-than-Monaco pit lane

2021 Dutch Grand Prix

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The narrow confines of the Zandvoort track have already caught out several drivers this weekend. But an added challenge awaits teams during the race.

While its facilities have been extensively renovated and upgraded for its return to the calendar, the simple limitations of the land area available meant Zandvoort’s pit lane could not be significantly enlarged.

As a result the track features the most cramped pit lane of the season. Smaller even than Monaco, where the grand prix takes place on a temporary circuit.

“It’s the tightest pit lane in the entire year,” explained McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl. “In Monaco we have around 60 metres in a pit stop position, here we have only 40 metres.”

This presents difficulties for he drivers getting in and out of their pit boxes without passing too close to rival teams if they are also awaiting a pit stop.

“We prepared for that challenge as much as we could,” said Seidl. “We practiced with trying different scenarios together with the pit crew and the drivers.”

However a Safety Car deployment could send the field scurrying to the pits at once. “If all the cars are coming in together, that can cause issues,” Seidl foresaw.

In Hungary, which has a more typical pit complex, Kimi Raikkonen and Nikita Mazepin collided when around half the field pitted at once ahead of a restart. Avoiding similar incidents in the same circumstances will be even harder this weekend.

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Teams will also face problems if they try to ‘stack’ – pit both their cars at once – and one driver has to wait behind the other. That is likely to have a bearing on a decision whether to pit when other cars are also expected to.

“If everyone comes in at once you’re going to have a lot of tense people,” predicted Daniel Ricciardo. “But you kind of have to look at it as a potential opportunity.

“I think the main thing really is, for sure there could be chaos in terms of lots of cars and confusion, so just stay cool and try to stay calm. That kind of reinforces a little bit of confidence into the pit crew because obviously they’re the ones standing out in pit lane and in that situation, they’re putting themselves at risk. So I think just if you stay calm, then the group around you remains calm.”

In line with practice at other circuits with tight pit lanes, the speed limit for drivers has been reduced to 60kph as a safety precaution.

“Obviously it’s not the standard from a new-build circuit,” said Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff. “But it’s equally challenging.

“You need to be careful what happens in the pit lane and I’m sure the drivers will know that and adapt accordingly.”

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Author information

Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
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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9 comments on “Teams braced for challenge of Zandvoort’s tighter-than-Monaco pit lane”

  1. I have to admit I was worried that modern F1 cars would look out of place at Zandvoort, but the cars look great on track! They really looked like they were hustling through practice and quali, it was pretty spectacular.

    So I think the teams need to just suck it up when it comes to the narrow pit land and get on with it. This is just another bit of variety on the calendar and it is welcome. I’d rather have a tight pit lane than the cavernous one you see at Austin.

    1. I’m enjoying this weekend, to add camber on corners that had no run off, that was brilliant and great use of tec pro, but still how on earth is this a certified f1 track? Should’ve spent some money improving the pits.
      Ever since the end of refuelling pitting has only became more dangerous, we were promised it would become safer. I expect an embarrassing and dangerous incident today.

  2. So everybody will try to avoid 2 stops then..

  3. 60 and 40 meters for a pit box? I think not. But equally 6 and 4 meters doesn’t work so where on Earth did those numbers come from? And what are the correct numbers?

    1. Good objection, I don’t understand it either.

    2. Unless it’s 16 and 14, cause if you spell it it’s sixteen vs sixty and fourteen vs forty, maybe.

  4. Yet another reason to make those awfuly long cars shorter. The next year’s shorter cars are still too long in my opinion.

  5. Well this is going to end well ….

  6. Indycar can do it, why not F1. They will be fine

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