Red Bull expect no record-breaking pit-stops in 2022

Jon Wilde
Max Verstappen leaving the Red Bull pit box. Portimao May 2021.

Max Verstappen leaving the pit box after a stop during the Portuguese Grand Prix. Portimao May 2021.

Christian Horner does not think Red Bull will be putting their own pit-stop records under threat with the 2022 cars.

The RB18 is among a fleet of all-new challengers representing the 10 constructors in the 2022 Formula 1 World Championship, all designed from scratch to comply with the heavily revised technical regulations.

Besides a switch to ground-effect aerodynamics with markedly different-looking wings, the other most notable new feature is the move to 18-inch tyres from their previous 13-inch construction.

This, according to Red Bull team principal Horner, will automatically mean a mid-race pit-stop becomes a slightly less seamless procedure.

Red Bull have achieved a reputation for being the tyre-change kings in recent F1 seasons and while Horner expects them not to relinquish that status, he believes it may take some time before his mechanics are back on their previous pace when Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez ‘box’ for fresh rubber during a grand prix.

The front of the Red Bull RB18 as it's launched. February 2022.
A view of the Red Bull RB18 as it is unveiled to the world for the first time. February 2022.

“It will definitely have an impact on the pit-stops – the tyres and wheels are heavier, more bulky, and so having got the world record at 1.82 seconds I don’t think we will be challenging it in this first year with these wheels,” said Horner during the team’s launch of the RB18.

“It will be about adapting and refining our techniques and I’m pretty sure we can get close to two-second stops even with these wheels and tyres.”

Horner’s colleague, sporting director Jonathan Wheatley, had previously described a pit-stop as being “an entirely different dynamic” this season for the team who have won the DHL Fastest Pit Stop Award four years in a row.

They got within six hundredths of a second of their world record with a 1.88-second stop for Verstappen at the 2021 season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix.

 

Wheatley added: “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.”

 

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