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Red Bull completes first F1 pitstop in total darkness

Red Bull's Formula 1 team has bookended 2023 by completing the first ever pitstop in total darkness, clocking in at 2.84s in its Milton Keynes factory.

The world championship winning team, which is known for its quirky PR activities, trained its pit crew to pull off the so-called "pitch black pitstop" as a celebration for winning the DHL Fastest Pit Stop Award for six consecutive years.

The trophy is handed out to the team that pulls off the fastest pitstops on average across the F1 season, with Red Bull beating Ferrari and McLaren in the standings this year.

After three practices using blindfolds the 22 pit crew members were then "fully plunged into darkness" in a dark factory, with their helmet visors also blacked out.

Following 10 attempts they sharpened their time from a first attempt of 8.84s down to 2.84s, which is faster than some teams achieve over a race weekend.

While the tyre change crew operated blind, its front and rear jack operators and the driver wore night vision devices provided by the military.

Red Bull Racing pitch black pit stop

Photo by: Red Bull Content Pool

Red Bull Racing pitch black pit stop

“The sense of sight, being able to see the car, your team-mates and what you are doing are intrinsic to a successful pitstop, so having that taken away presented some serious hurdles," said Red Bull's sporting manager Jonathan Wheatley.

"However, what soon became clear is how fluid the team is in its approach, communication, ability and cohesive spirit; that the task at hand was almost second nature. I was really proud of their performance.

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"The time of 2.84 seconds is a strong stop even in broad daylight. I’m certainly not saying that I would like to turn the lights out in a race, but being able to pull this off so succinctly, in the pitch black, shows what a well-oiled machine the crew is and testament to the fact we have won six consecutive DHL Fastest Pit Stop Awards. Beautiful work.”

Red Bull has also held the world record for fastest F1 pitstop during a grand prix, until its time of 1.82s was beaten by Lando Norris' pit crew at McLaren during this year's Qatar Grand Prix, bringing it down to 1.80s.

In 2023 Red Bull won all but one grand prix with its dominant RB19 as Max Verstappen walked to his third straight world championship with a record 19 race wins.

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