Williams and Red Bull are in complete control over the sport’s other eight outfits in terms of pit stop performance. Over the first twelve races of the 2019 Formula One World Championship, both squads have recorded the fastest pit stop on five occasions.
Next to the starts, pit stops are probably the most intense part of Formula One races where absolute precision, perfect teamwork and split-second decisions are needed for a smooth stop. Fast stops can help drivers gain crucial seconds while battling hard with their rivals. By contrast, an unsuccessful tyre change can see drivers dropping down the order. However, teams also have to find the right balance between being lightening-fast and achieving consistency during their pit stop work.
Five to five
So far this season, Williams and Red Bull are neck on neck when it comes to the fastest pit stops. Both the Milton Keynes and the Grove-based outfit have recorded the best pit stop performances five times. Only Ferrari and McLaren were able to set the best time in a race. The Italian team was fastest in Azerbaijan while its British arch-rival was quickest in Spain.
The first races of the season saw teams getting relatively slowly up to speed in terms of pit stop times. However, from the first European race of the season, the Spanish Grand Prix, teams started setting breath-taking times again. This trend culminated at the British Grand Prix where Red Bull set the pit lane almost afire with a record-braking performance.
The four-time world champion’s team’s pit crew made the swap in an astonishing 1.91 seconds, 0.01 second faster than the previous world record held by both Red Bull and Williams. The Red Bull team achieved the record when it brought French driver Pierre Gasly into the pits on Lap 12 to give his car a new set of hard tires. Just one race after lowering the benchmark for the fastest pit stop in the history of F1, Red Bull Racing did it again at Hockenheim where Max Verstappen's all four wheels were changed in a record 1.88 seconds!
At the last round, the Hungarian Grand Prix, the Williams pit crew struck again in Hungary and completed the quickest tyre change once more. George Russell was turned around and sent back out on his way in just 2.19 seconds.
|Grand Prix||Pit stop time||Team|
|Australian GP||2.19||Red Bull Racing|
|Bahrain GP||2.17||Red Bull Racing|
|Chinese GP||2.15||Red Bull Racing|
|British GP||1.90||Red Bull Racing|
|German GP||1.88||Red Bull Racing|
Consistency is key
Formula One’s logistics partner DHL created a special award in 2015. The DHL Fastest Pit Stop Award was established to recognize outstanding teamwork and performance. Teams receive points based on the same scheme as they are given championship points. After races, the sport’s ten teams are ordered according to their fastest pit stop at the given event.
When it comes to combine speed and consistency, Red Bull emerges victorious. The energy drink company-owned outfit has collected a total of 324 points so far to lead the pit stop competition. Second on this list is Williams with 258 points, followed by Ferrari with 197 points.
Interestingly, when considering every single pit stop completed during the first twelve races of the season, the ten quickest tyres changes were all achieved by either Red Bull or Williams.