McLaren aiming for two-second pitstop as 'standard' in F1 2013
|By Jonathan Noble and Matt Beer||Tuesday, December 11th 2012, 11:47 GMT|
McLaren is aiming to achieve two-second pitstop as 'standard' in the 2013 Formula 1 season.
The team set a record four-tyre-change time of 2.3 seconds on Jenson Button's car during this year's German Grand Prix.
Asked by AUTOSPORT if pitstop times were now near the limit of physical possibility, McLaren sporting director Sam Michael replied: "They are, but it's not hard enough at this point that we can't see a lot of things to change.
"We'll be really busy this winter taking the next step along that idea.
"Our target for next year is two-second pitstops. We thought we'd get down to it this year. We can do it.
"Our target is to get there during the winter so that two-second pitstops are normal rather than flash in the pan. That involves people and equipment.
"We've got a few technology changes for next year, but already compared to our preparation for the first race next year will be completely different from this year.
"Our target is to start off there right away in Melbourne."
Michael believes McLaren and Red Bull's pitcrews were a class apart by the end of 2012.
"Mercedes were the benchmark last year. Ferrari were definitely a benchmark at the start of this year, but they've just stayed still," he said.
"Red Bull and ourselves have just gone five or six tenths quicker than everybody. Red Bull definitely caught up to us in the last few races. They've definitely changed some things to do that. I know what they've done."
He added that the greatest satisfaction still came from making up positions in the pits, rather than achieving records.
"The most important thing when you're an engineer in Formula 1 is that you're working on things that you can see make a difference, and the pitcrew has done that this year," Michael said.
"I'm really proud of the job that they've done - not just the guys in the factory who have brought along the technology, but the humans in the garage.
"It's not doing the pitstop time. When we broke the record at Hockenheim, it wasn't that we broke the record [that was satisfying], it was that we jumped [Sebastian] Vettel by doing it.
"When it's so close, with 50 milliseconds here or there, pitstops make a big difference to the race outcome. Saving half a second is massive."