What happens during an F1 pitstop?

The Formula 1 pitstop is an exciting feature of a motor race that relies on immense skill from the race team and great tactics. Many a race has been won in the pit, with the best teams now getting everything done in well under 10 seconds. How does it all work?

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Prior planning

The race team and strategists will plan ahead when the driver should pull into the pit and will load the car with exactly the amount of fuel to get to this point. The driver is informed during the race, and the pit crew scrambles together. The driver will enter the pit lane at about 80km/h.

Team work

The driver must be able to stop exactly where the crew is waiting; otherwise, valuable time is lost. Each team member will know exactly what their own very specific role is and will have rehearsed many times. There will be someone at the front jack, someone at the rear jack, and another two members of the crew for each wheel once the car is jacked up just a couple of inches off the ground. Of this pair, one will operate the gun to take off the central retaining nut while the other swaps the wheel. The gun operator then replaces the nut. This is all done in roughly three seconds!

The car is also refuelled during the pitstop at a staggering rate of 12 litres per second.

Meanwhile, the driver is preparing to get back on the track. Although speed is limited in the pit lane, once he passes the line he is clear to get back up to race speed.

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If you would like more information from those on the ground about what happens during an F1 pitstop, there is a great guide on the F1 website.

Alternatively, get up close yourself and go to a race. There is nowhere quite like Silverstone for a bit of home-crowd support, with the F1 Paddock Club Britain a great way to get involved. A specialist events company such as https://edgeglobalevents.com/f1-paddock-club/britain/ can arrange everything for you.

With the popularity of F1 as big as it is, you can always be confident the races will be shown on television; however, nothing beats the experience of watching live and hearing the roar of the crowd and the squeal of the engines.