The new rules of Formula 1 has adopted for the season 2017 has led to many consequences to the category. The most obvious is the increase of the speed of the cars in the curves and, consequently, a dramatic reduction of the lap times that threaten to break records over ten years ago.
on the other hand, the most aggressive of the cars -which have recovered in part the classic taste of tyres and cars wide with ailerons low and intimidating- has restored hope to many fans, that they now feel more identified with what they see on the track.
But there are more consequences, and one of them is the slowing down of pit-stops. The fault will have new tyres that, in addition to being a 25% wider that in 2016, have also increased their weight.
Williams was in 2016 the team leader in that pit-stops are concerned, not only because his mechanics were the fastest in most races. Director Sports, , Steve Nielsen, explained to Autosport the keys that will make the pit stops a art even more complex than in previous seasons. “A pit-stop of Williams is composed of 34 actions that happen in two seconds, if any of them goes wrong, you can stand up and delay your pit-stop. Of the 34, 12 of them are affected by the larger tyres”, said Nielsen before setting out on the new complications that arise with the Pirelli 2017.
Nuts more inaccessible, the less margin of movement
on the one hand, the nut that secures the wheel to the shaft is hidden inside the rim, because the tires are wider. On the other, the mechanics have to move a larger volume and, although the weight does not influence too much the final result, do their dimensions. “Particularly on the rear wheels, the nut is much more inward (in the rim), so that it is much more complicated for the mechanic to reach it. But the limiting factor at this time is the transition, since the wheel is pulled out until it catches the other to place it. There is where the extra time, because they are three people that need to be moved a few centimeters, and the wheel is much wider. So that the free spaces between them must be older, must be given more space and that adds a tenth or two”.
Steve Nielsen believes that to lose the two seconds it is still possible, but that will no longer be as usual as in 2016 and estimates the total loss of time in around four or five tenths with respect to previous records. “from what we have seen so far, the times of the past year are still achievable, but circumstantial. A good pit-stop last year was around two seconds. We can still get it, but the times reaching around over the 2.4 or 2.5 seconds. While it is fantastic to make a pit-stop of 1.9 seconds -everyone talks about it-what is more important is the consistency. If you do four stops and a is 1.9 and the rest of 3.5, the best thing is that all were below 2.5 seconds”.