Red Bull sporting director Jonathan Wheatley said the team has serviced their car in as quick as 1.45 seconds on the front axle, the challenge being to then transform that into a full pit stop.
Red Bull saw their record pit-stop time of 1.82 seconds, set at the 2019 Brazilian Grand Prix, fall during F1 2023 as McLaren set the new standard.
Clocking a 1.8s stop on Lando Norris’ car at the Qatar Grand Prix, McLaren thus set a new record for the fastest F1 pit stop ever seen, as Red Bull now set about reclaiming their crown.
Red Bull as fast as 1.45 seconds on front axle
Of course, many people must combine in perfect synergy to clock the perfect pit stop, from the drivers hitting their marks, to the mechanics on the wheels and the jack operators.
And if the Red Bull crew can keep up with the tyre change times set by the mechanics on the front axles, then Red Bull has the potential to shatter that record.
“We can get 1.6 [seconds] on individual corner times,” said Red Bull senior engineer Rich Wolverson on the Talking Bull podcast.
“It’s just getting everything together.”
Red Bull sporting director Jonathan Wheatley then lowered that bar even further.
“On the front axle you get 1.45s, 1.48,” he said.
“I look at a pit stop and I see a thing of beauty when it goes as it should do. And it’s that human contribution to motor racing, which I think is extraordinary.”
Red Bull pit-stop incident triggered modern F1 wheel gun
Of course, a pit stop does not always go to plan and in rare cases, that can cause danger to those in the paddock.
Red Bull had such an experience at the 2013 German Grand Prix, where a wheel came loose from Mark Webber’s car and struck cameraman Paul Allen, leaving him with broken bones.
Wheatley detailed how Red Bull put that emotional trauma into attempting to ensure such an incident would not happen again, leading to the creation of the modern F1 wheel gun system.
“We had an incident where we lost a wheel in the pit lane, Mark Webber’s car and it hit a cameraman,” Wheatley recalled.
“And when you can sit here on days like this and looking at trophies and go, fantastic side of pits tops, there’s the downside like that. If you have any kind of empathy at all, you’ve hurt somebody, as far as you’re concerned, you’ve hurt somebody.
“And we carried out a root and branch review of our pit stop in order to make it as safe as humanly possible. And that was a massive priority and full commitment from Christian [Horner, team principal] and the technical team here at the factory. And a group of very, very bright people came up with this intelligent wheel gun system that we have now.
“It can’t fix every problem, but all of the problems we learned about and everything that we thought might go wrong with a pit stop in future, we tried to put some kind of a fix in it for that, as well as changing some other fundamental parts of the components involved in the pit stop.
“I think we’ve got to a point where I’m not holding my breath for a pit stop every weekend anymore.”
While Red Bull’s pit-stop record fell to McLaren in F1 2023, they did top the DHL standings for the sixth season in a row.