Ferrari have revealed they are aiming to head to Bahrain with their pit crew having completed 1,000 practice pit stops before the 2023 starts.
This is part of a rigorous training regime being put in place at the team’s headquarters over winter, as they look for ways to become more consistent in the pit lane and look for any marginal gain they can find in race strategy – which proved to be a problem area for Ferrari last season.
Head of vehicle operations Diego Ioverno has been overseeing a physical and nutritional plan which is aimed at getting the Ferrari crew in prime condition for servicing the new car in 2023, currently code-named ‘Project 675′, with members of the pit crew split into two groups, completing 20 practice stops per day three times per week in a room at the team’s headquarters which has been prepared to help them train in this regard.
Ferrari managed to get 73% of their stops under the three-second mark last season, compared to 71% for Red Bull, but this fell short of Ioverno’s internal target of 80%.
The heavier cars and 18-inch wheels put in place for 2022 have made sub-two-second stops far less frequent than before, with a greater physical exertion now required to complete a pit stop in Formula 1 – but McLaren’s 1.98-second effort in Mexico was the quickest of the season.
Ferrari finished fourth in the DHL Fastest Pit Stop Award standings for the season in Formula 1 – with points awarded on the same basis as the Drivers’ and Constructors’ tables, behind runaway winners Red Bull, McLaren and AlphaTauri.
With that, they hope to move up that particular table as well this year.
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“During the tests we recorded extraordinary record times,” Ioverno told the Italian edition of Motorsport.com.
“We arrived at readings of 1.65 [seconds], but in the laboratory the car always arrives perfectly aligned to the station and, above all, stops exactly at the expected point, while during a Grand Prix many other variables come into play that make the exercise very complicated.
“Those under 3 seconds are considered very good, up to 3.5 seconds are good but not perfect, under 4 seconds are inadequate and above 4.5 seconds we consider them to be failures.”
Alongside the rigour of training the pit crew with multiple practice stops per day, Ferrari are also looking to train each member to be able to work on multiple areas of the car in stops this season.
This comes as a result of finding that crew rotation from a record calendar last year ended up with the so-called ‘reserve’ crew members, perhaps understandably, not quite being up to the same speed as those who go to the majority of races.
“It is crucial to raise the average level of the team,” Ioverno elaborated.
“We analysed that problems emerged when we were forced to make personnel rotations in a long season that counted 22 GPs on the calendar.
“As well as trying to bring everyone towards the same threshold, this year we thought of making the functions more flexible as well: and so a gunner can also train in changing the wheel. In 2022, we had already intensified the activity: it was not a perfect year, but it was a top year.
“In 2023 the intention is to improve, avoiding that in a pit you can lose a wheel as happened last year: it wasn’t the mechanic who was wrong where to position himself, but the car’s call had come too late and he had found the passage obstructed by the car.”