Formula 1 | McLaren F1 doubted legality of Red Bull pit stops
The FIA has introduced, from the Hungarian Grand Prix, a new “TD” (technical directive) in order to reinforce the safety of pit stops (by imposing a minimum reaction time), and to reduce the role of electronics for the benefit of humans.
And this directive was badly received by Red Bull: Milton Keynes’ team were the best at pit stops… precisely because of their electronic aids. A harmful consequence of this directive could well have been directly involved in the incident between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen at Monza: because just before, the Dutchman had suffered a very long pit stop (11 seconds), which the had returned to the track just at the level of the Mercedes driver.
Reacting to this new directive, Christian Horner did not hide that he was “Always boring to have a change mid-season, and especially with a procedure like this. «
“It had a direct impact on the human problem that we added to Monza, which is annoying but it’s the same for everyone, we have to learn from it, understand what went wrong, remedy it to try to ensure that it does not happen again. This is a consequence of the change that has been introduced. «
Even at Mercedes, on the side of Toto Wolff, we recognize that such a change was embarrassing … But didn’t Mercedes come out better?
“This is a procedural situation or a process. And if you’ve been doing something the same way all these years and need to change it can still be a little tricky – but it wasn’t disastrous, we put in some mitigation measures in place that got us going. allowed not to waste too much time. But it’s a new challenge. «
McLaren F1 manager Andreas Seidl has a more positive view of the new directive. It must be said that in hollow, McLaren estimated that the pit stop procedures at Red Bull were at the limit of legality, or even beyond …
“Well, first of all I think it’s no secret that we had a few question marks regarding the legality and safety of some teams’ pit stops over the past month and so we were looking forward to it. of this clarification from the FIA before the summer break. In the end, that didn’t mean we had to change anything, as from our perspective it was clear beforehand how the streak was to be. «
“As always, we are just focusing on ourselves. We are very happy with the progress we have been able to make in the pit stops compared to previous years. At the same time, there is still room to improve and be more consistent and that is what we are focusing on. «
The human factor in question
The fact remains that this directive has reinforced the weight of people in pit stops, and therefore human errors. How is Mercedes approaching this situation? How to reduce this probability?
Toto Wolff has a strong point of view on the issue, in line with the refusal of the “culture of blame” at Mercedes.
“Human error does not exist. There’s that thing in the way the process is designed, the way the equipment is calibrated. So that’s what we need to look at, and we need to give the best possible pistol and the best possible process for the mechanics so that they can operate safely to avoid longer pit stops, but also to be pretty fast; and this balance has always been delicate for all teams in Formula 1, always. «
Christian Horner believes that human errors exist … as Red Bull unfortunately observed at Monza!
“There is what is called human error and I think we saw one in the last race. You’re still learning and changing your tools too to try and make life easier, whether it’s in software and so on, and pit stop is an intrinsic part of a Grand Prix and you have to rely on a minimal downtime as part of your strategy. So obviously a lot of analysis is done when there is a problem, as is the case with any component in the car. You try to learn from it, you try to put in place safeguards to deal with the situation if it happens again. «