1.8 seconds – that’s the official record time for a pitstop in Formula 1. McLaren’s mechanics achieved this performance with Lando Norris’ car during the 2023 Qatar Grand Prix in October. Red Bull Racing has now decided to have a go at the fastest tire change but in different conditions as they turned off the lights.
Despite having to work in pitch black, RBR’s mechanics were only about one second slower. Ok, I know a second can be the difference between winning or losing a race but it’s still an impressive performance. Swapping out those center-lock wheels on Max Verstappen’s RB23 in a whopping 2.84 seconds without seeing anything is nothing short of amazing.
Red Bull F1 car tire change in complete darkness
RBR’s mechanics were first asked to perform the pitstop while the light was on but the visors on their helmets were blacked out. Following several tries, their best time recorded was 4.93 seconds. The lights were then turned off and only the two jackmen and the driver were allowed to use night vision goggles. After several attempts, they managed to shave off more than two seconds from the time achieved while the light was still on.
You’ll be seeing those Pirelli medium tires in the years to come. In October 2023, the Italian company inked a deal with the FIA to remain the sole tire supplier until 2027. The contract also includes an option to extend the arrangement for the 2028 season. In addition, Pirelli is going to supply the rubber in Formula 2 and Formula 3 during those seasons.
F1 fans will recall a pitstop used to mean more than just changing tires. Mechanics also had to refuel the car but that was banned after the end of the 2009 season. Why was it outlawed? FIA’s thinking was that it posed safety concerns for the drivers. Costs were also a factor since shipping heavy fueling equipment from one race to another meant higher freight charges.
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