For years, Formula 1 pit stops in less than two seconds were the order of the day. This changed when the rules for pit stops were tightened in the middle of the 2021 season. In 2022, for the first time since then, a team managed to break this magic mark with McLaren taking victory in the fastest pit stops award.
In the past season, there was exactly one pit stop in less than two seconds. At the Mexico Grand Prix, McLaren completed Daniel Ricciardo’s pit stop in 1.98 seconds, the best time of the season.
No coincidence, as McLaren have regularly been among the teams with the best pit stops this year. “A huge compliment to the team. We have made a big step forward there for this year,” Andreas Seidl was already pleased in October.
In fact, McLaren made the fastest stop six times in the 22 races in the 2022 season. Only Red Bull managed this more often (ten times), Alpine was in front in this respect three times, Ferrari, AlphaTauri and Williams once each.
Mercedes at the back
On the other hand, the difficulties Mercedes had in the past season are striking. The Silver Arrows only came eighth in the “Fastest Pit Stop Award”, in which points are awarded according to the system familiar from the real World Championship.
In 2021, the Silver Arrows had still been in second place behind serial winner Red Bull, who won the award for the fifth time in a row in 2022. Already at the beginning of the season, Mercedes realised that they suddenly had a problem in this area.
Toto Wolff already explained after the season opener in Bahrain that because of the new hubcaps in this one, “it’s not trivial to get into this rim with the impact wrench.” In addition, the new low-profile tyres with 18-inch rims are “much heavier”.
However, these are challenges that all teams had to master – and apparently often managed to do so better than Mercedes. For example, McLaren, who moved up from eighth place (2021) to second place (2022) in the standings.
The team boss at the time, Seidl, is “super satisfied with the step forward, because of course it is important not only to continuously improve the car, but also to simply become better overall as a team in all areas,” he explains.
Another winner of the past season was AlphaTauri – at least in this sense. The AT03 was not a fast car overall. On the other hand, the Scuderia managed to jump from second to last to fourth place in the “Fastest Pit Stop Award”. The last place, as in 2021, went to the Haas team.
With a man like Zak Brown at the helm, the only award McLaren can hope to win is the fastest pit stop award.