McLaren says its pitcrew now hitting target
|By Jonathan Noble||Tuesday, July 10th 2012, 16:17 GMT|
McLaren sporting director Sam Michael says the team's pitcrew has reached the speed and consistency that he wanted - but he concedes the pressure is now on for it to stay at that high level.
Michael set an ambitious target at the start of the season for his outfit to achieve an average pitstop time of under three seconds in a race.
That feat was achieved at the British Grand Prix - where the fastest stop of 2.66 seconds was also just slightly slower than the record-breaking 2.60s stop that it did in Valencia a fortnight ago.
Michael is delighted that the crew has now got under that three-second average time, as he looks for it to now produce that performance on every weekend.
"We knew we were there in Montreal, but we had a couple of races with hiccups, where things failed and had problems," Michael told AUTOSPORT. "In terms of the pace and the consistency of the pace, we knew it was coming – and we said that.
"Now, we are definitely there – but we have got to keep on it. If you look at some of the problems that teams had at Silverstone - Mercedes had the wheel nuts again, Sauber with [Kamui] Kobayashi, and Red Bull had a problem as well – it is hard out there.
"So if we can stay away from the problems and average those sorts of times, then we can be there to make sure that we are fast enough when the car is quick enough to win. Then it will become a differentiator. It wasn't at Silverstone, but it can be."
McLaren's pitstop performance at Silverstone was boosted by the late return of its star right rear wheel gunner – who was injured after being cut by Lewis Hamilton's front wing during a stop in Valencia and had looked set to be forced to miss the British GP.
"He was better, he came in on race morning," explained Michael. "He came on Saturday, did that morning's pitstop practice, did 10 stops and was the quickest on those!
"He didn't work [on the car] Saturday, didn't work on Sunday, but came in for the race and we used him. He was good to go!"
Although McLaren was the fastest pit crew at the British GP, Ferrari retains the best average over the season so far.