Pit Stop Pandemonium
For McLaren the Spanish Great Prix almost turned into a nightmare. Lewis Hamilton was relegated to 24th place on the grid after an astonishing fastest lap in Q3, but he had to pull his car over before arriving in the pits to save enough fuel for the required amount for sample testing, and was therefore penalised as the regulations state.
Then in the Grand Prix itself, on the 14th lap Hamilton was released by the pit crew after a tyre change, only to run over the one that had just been taken off the left rear. This of course was not the first time, similar incidents have happened this season. Both in China and in Bahrain Button and Hamilton faced similar problems. A full investigation had been ordered by McLaren after these races.
Perhaps the only saving grace from the Spanish Grand Prix from McLaren’s point of view was the performance of Lewis Hamilton’s driving skills when he came from 24th place on the grid to finishing in 8th position.
We witness weekly pit stop tyre changes that take place in around 3 seconds. Everyone involved in F1 from, drivers, teams and pit crews to journalists and fans are getting so used to in F1 looking at things in thousands of a second. We see huge gaps between cars that are 3 seconds apart and we begin to see a full second as a long period of time. If we try to put this in perspective and look at our own everyday lives, what things can we do in 3 seconds, try for example taking your kettle from its stand, opening the lid, pouring water in from the tap, closing the lid, putting it back on its stand and switching the kettle on without spilling a drop of water.
We often think that the ones putting their lives on the line in F1 are only the drivers but try being the guy on the front jack as a formula one car is speeding towards you at 100kph and flicking the nose up within hundredths of a second of the arrival of the car, while under the pressure these guys are to ‘get in right’.
I know I have seen in my short experience of F1, pit crew being knocked down by cars, set on fire in the refuelling days and having their hands or feet run over by an F1 car. Theirs is not an easy job, although many of us would love to do it.
We who love F1 and support a team, whether it is McLaren or Ferrari or Lotus or any other of the teams, supporting a team also means supporting them when they are winning or when they do not get it quite right. The pit crew are part of that team we support. I for one am a supporter of my pit crew too.
Author: Mandi Finch
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