Formula 1 pit stops are prime examples of how teamwork and coordination can yield maximum success. Within a blink of an eye, an orchestra of around 15 mechanics change tires, front wings or adjust downforce levels and send the car out on track once again.
Formula 1 is a sport where a few milliseconds can be the difference between winning and coming second. Teams spend millions of dollars on research and development to gain the slightest advantage on the track.
However, to enjoy their advantage on the track, teams need to perform their pit stops in the fastest and most efficient way possible.
How long is an average Formula 1 pit stop?
Since the 2010 season, Formula 1 has banned refueling in the pits. This means that all cars should carry enough fuel to last an entire Grand Prix length. Pit stops since 2010 only require teams to change tires and the front wing if needed. Due to this, average pitstop timings have drastically reduced over the past decade.
The average Formula 1 pit stop takes between 2 and 2.5 seconds of stationary time in the pit box. This figure does not include the time it takes for cars to come in and get out of the pit lane. The total time for a Formula 1 pit stop ranges from 20 to 25 seconds depending on the length of the pit lane.
What is the fastest pit stop in Formula 1 history?
The fastest pit stop ever recorded in Formula 1 history was during the 2019 Brazilian Grand Prix by Red Bull Racing. On lap 21, Max Verstappen came into the pits and the Red Bull crew changed all four tires in a mere 1.82 seconds, which stands as Formula 1's fastest ever pit stop.
The previous record belonged to Red Bull as well. It also came during the 2019 season when they completed a pit stop in 1.88 seconds at the German Grand Prix.
Red Bull are rightly considered the masters of the pit stop. During the 2020 season, the team recorded the fastest pit stop in 15 out of the 17 races.
Since 2015, Formula 1 credits the fastest pit stops in each race with an unofficial award called the DHL Fastest Pit Stop Award. The award has been won by Red Bull for the past three seasons. In 2020, Red Bull amassed 555 points in 17 races, while second-placed Williams only got 264 points.
The winners of the DHL Fastest Pit Stop Awards are as follows:
2018: Red Bull
2019: Red Bull
2020: Red Bull
Pit stops could play a crucial role in the upcoming championship battle between Red Bull and Mercedes. Races are often decided by pit strategy, and the energy drink company will look to maximize any advantage they hold over the reigning champions.