The pit stops have been quite decisive this season. Too early or too late a stop could cost many positions, both in the race and in the drivers' and constructors' championship. We could observe it in many Grand Prix during the 2021 season of Formula 1, for example, Monaco. The streets of the famous European circuit full of glamor, were the witnesses of how the poor strategy of Mercedes caused it to lose numerous positions during the race. Another example was Spain, where Mercedes decided to go for a two-stop strategy, while Red Bull played it safe and only opted for one, the Germans were victorious. Finally, the last French Grand Prix was another clear example of how strategy and quick pit stops had a huge influence during the race. With this as a preamble, the FIA announced that they will implement new rules and measures to allow teams to take longer to change tyres.
Starting with this season's Hungarian Grand Prix, which will take place on August the 1st of this year, it will be the first race in which a new technical directive will have to be used. In this directive, there are new implementations, which have the objective of having delays during the pit stop of the equipment and thus, increase the time. Why? These new rules have been introduced to reduce the chances of a car returning to the track before all of its tyres have been properly fitted on the car.
To better understand what has to be done in a pit stop, it is necessary to know that each gun has a sensor, which is put into action once the mechanic has finished tightening the tyre nut. Once all four guns have triggered this sensor, that is, all four nuts and tyres have been installed correctly, the light in front of the driver changes from red to green, indicating that you can accelerate.
Thanks to this new directive, the reactions of the mechanics who are responsible for tightening the nuts during the pit stop will be the ones that will be taken into account the most. If a mechanic indicates that he has already finished tightening the nut in less than 0.15 seconds, the sensor on his gun will override it, causing the mechanic to repeat this action and make sure it has been properly tightened. In addition, once all the mechanics have tightened their respective nuts as they should be, the new regulations establish that a total of 0.2 seconds must elapse between the last pistol sensor being activated and the green signal of the driver's light. Knowing this, it is understood that the purpose of implementing the rules is for the team to be 100% sure that the tire nuts have been properly tightened and thus avoid an incident on the track that could neutralize the competition.
On the other hand, it has been rumoured that many teams have had doubts as to how Red Bull Racing manages to complete their pit stop in very low times, even less than 2 seconds. DHL is in charge of providing prizes to the pit-crews who make the fastest stops during all races. In 5 of the 7 races that have been carried out, Red Bull has won this award. Their fastest pit stop was for Sergio Perez in the last French Grand Prix of just 2.04 seconds, a difference of 0.16 seconds with respect to the second fastest stop. Finally, estimates suggest that since the Hungarian Grand Prix, pit stops will be slower by two to three tenths of a second, this as the minimum of “lost time”.