Pit stops impacted by new-look F1 cars

AlphaTauri completes pit stop practice in Bahrain

The introduction of a larger wheel and tyre package, combined with new-look cars into Formula 1 this season has impacted the way teams will perform pitstops.

F1 has introduced 18-inch wheels for the coming year as part of a larger set of new technical regulations design to improve racing.

That’s seen a number of sweeping aerodynamic changes, such as the banning of turning vanes alongside the cockpit, but the introduction of other items such as fenders above the front tyres and wheel covers.

“The wheel/tyre package is heavier,” Scuderia AlphaTauri’s technical director Jody Egginton explained when asked about pit stops by Speedcafe.com.

“Every winter we do a lot of training with the drivers to get them back into the loop, to make sure they their positioning is good and they’re hitting their marks, as we call it, on the stops.

“And we’ve done a lot of training with the mechanics in the winter with our pitstop car back at the factory – regular sessions, very well coordinated sessions by the team manager.

“So they’re getting familiar with the bigger tyre and wheel package.”

Along with the physical aspects needed to turn around a car quickly during a stop, AlphaTauri has looked to incorporation visual cues.

“We’re putting some visual aids on the front fenders and things to try and help the guys really be able to get the wheel on and off as quick as we can.

“But it’s heavier. It’s a different technique.”

Complicating matters is the all-new design, which includes farings that rise up over the front tyres.

These are designed to clean up the airflow over the car, but have the knock on of inhibiting where a mechanic can hold the wheel when fitting and removing it.

“We’ve got a big black wheel disc on the wheel now – you’ve got to be able to get the gun located on to the nut and not have a miss hit.

“When the guys are grabbing the tyres and wheels to get them off, you’ve got a fender there. They’ve got nowhere to put their hands.

“So it’s just practice really,” Egginton added.

“I don’t think we’re going to be quicker to start with, but hopefully we won’t be slower.”

The Bahrain Grand Prix begins at 02:00 AEDT on Monday morning.

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