McLaren bullish about pitstop performance after record Valencia stop

McLaren has no doubts it is on the right path with its pitstop performances in 2012, even though a problem in the Valencia pits overshadowed the team's delivery of the fastest Formula 1 pitstop in history earlier in the day

McLaren bullish about pitstop performance after record Valencia stop

After much focus on the team's performances in the pits this year, the McLaren pit crew completed a 2.6-second stop at Lewis Hamilton's first stop in Valencia to set a new benchmark in F1.

However, that achievement was followed shortly afterwards by Hamilton losing time at his second stop when the front jack failed after its release mechanism was triggered by the car hitting it.

Although that latter problem was a disappointment - and the team will implement equipment modifications for the next race at Silverstone - McLaren's sporting director Sam Michael says the timing data shows that the crew are doing a better job than the critics suggest.

"The guys are ignoring all the criticism, because they know they are good and we already had the fastest stationary time in Montreal before the Valencia performance," Michael told AUTOSPORT.

"The job they are doing at the moment is spot on, and I have felt it coming for the last two or three races. We've done a lot of work internally on the procedures and equipment, and we've been pushing them on a lot.

"And now we are in a world where we are dealing with milliseconds, rather than tenths. It is as competitive as the aero game now."

AUTOSPORT understands that the time to 'green' - the moment the driver is signalled to go - for Hamilton's first stop in Valencia was just 2.32s. This was 0.11s quicker that what is believed to have been the previous benchmark set by Mercedes in Korea last year for Michael Schumacher's first stop.

But despite the pit crew delivering the record time in Valencia, Michael says the target still remains being consistent - and ensuring that every stop is good.

"It has always been like that, but it just so happens that we have managed to get more pace than our original target," he said. "Our target is not to do a 2.3s stop before the driver reacts - it is to be sub three-second on average. If you look at the areas where we have had mistakes and issues in recent races, they are no longer because we are pushing to try and improve time."

McLaren will have to restructure its pit crew for the British Grand Prix after the right-hand rear gunner cut himself on a wing endplate during the Valencia stops. He will be replaced for the Silverstone weekend.

* For a full analysis of what McLaren has done to emerge as Formula 1's quickest pitstop crew, see this week's AUTOSPORT which is on sale on Thursday.

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Series Formula 1
Teams McLaren
Author Jonathan Noble
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