Rapid pit-stops are now in Red Bull ‘DNA’

Jamie Woodhouse
Red Bull complete a pit stop. Qatar, November 2021.

The Red Bull crew complete a pit stop at the Qatar Grand Prix. November 2021.

Red Bull sporting director Jonathan Wheatley has explained their approach to pit-stops, which saw them bag a fourth consecutive fastest stop award.

Pit-stops are now a vital aspect of Formula 1 racing, with a tyre change expected to take place in not much more than two seconds.

Before the FIA intervened with a new technical directive, sub two-second stops were also achievable.

Over recent years, mega pit-stops have become Red Bull’s party trick and thanks to a 1.88s stop for Max Verstappen at the 2021 Bahrain Grand Prix, they claimed the DHL Fastest Pit Stop Award for the fourth year on the trot.

Sergio Perez leaves the pits. Mexico November 2021
Sergio Perez from behind as he leaves the pits, Red Bull mechanics walking away. Mexico November 2021

Explaining the key characteristics of Red Bull’s pit crew, Wheatley told the team’s website: “I think one of the most exciting and interesting aspects of my role is the overall responsibility for the team’s pit-stop performance.

“It can be a bit of a double-edged sword. Things don’t always go right. But it’s something I’ve taken a tremendous amount of enthusiasm for and I’ve enjoyed so much over the years.

“The team’s had an extraordinary four years, success in the DHL trophy four years in a row. I think that consistency, that desire to be the fastest, to be the best at what we do, and also to be the safest at what we do, it’s in the team, in our bones, in our DNA.

“Fundamentally, you have to start by looking for someone who’s got great core stability – it’s human performance.

“A pit-stop can often be confused for this bit of equipment or that bit of equipment but ultimately, it’s a human endeavour.

“So we work very hard with the guys in terms of their mindset and also with their core stability. You don’t want any injuries, you want the same people at the last race as at the first race.”


Red Bull were not only fast with their stops but also consistent, clocking the fastest pit stop at 13 of the 22 races in 2021.

But come 2022 the goalposts will shift again as Formula 1 upgrades to new 18-inch wheels, part of wider changes under new regulations coming into play.

Wheatley admits this will alter the “dynamic” completely, while Red Bull have not yet completed any practice stops with the larger tyres.

“We are entering a new phase in Formula 1, the 2022 cars with 18-inch wheels, big heavy wheels,” he said.

“Frankly, as I sit here today, we haven’t even tried one pit-stop practice with those types of wheels.

“It will take an entirely different dynamic next year. There will be massive key in getting consistency and that’s what we’ll be working on all winter.”