Inside the Formula One pit stop with Williams Martini Racing


The Williams F1 Team complete a practice pit stop - Monaco 2016. Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd

The Williams Martini Racing team won the award for the fastest pit stop in 2016, consistently remaining around the two second mark for the majority of the year, with their quickest time set at 1.92 seconds during the 2016 European Grand Prix, in Baku.

The British team recorded the speediest stop at the first nine races of the 2016 season, and were quickest at fourteen of the twenty-one races contested that year. That is no mean feat, considering every pit stop requires absolute precision, perfect teamwork and split-second decisions, along with the added pressure that one slip up could cost your driver the race.

In a report for CNN’s The Circuit, host Amanda Davies scrutinises the different stages of a pit stop whilst gaining valuable insight from Williams’ Sporting Manager, Steve Nielsen.

Nielsen describes how the numerous hours of training and practice, have allowed the team to complete a full practice pit stop in an eye wateringly fast 1.78 seconds.

“The pit stop is the one time the outside world gets to see what a team sport this is. Like a lot of things in F1, it’s just attention to hundreds of details.

“This is their Sunday job; we employ them to build race cars for us…

“The pit stop is something they do whilst the race is going on because the team needs it. So, it’s very much their secondary reason for existing.”

“They understand and are buying into the fact that physical fitness, whilst not the only thing you need, it’s one of the key ingredients you have to have.”

“If we take the fastest time of each corner ever achieved, we get a time of about 1.6 [seconds] – so we know there’s a theoretical possibility to go to 1.6, because we’ve individually done that. There’s always something to chip away at and to aim at.”