2018 Hungarian GP Preview – Mercedes AMG Petronas

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2018 Hungarian GP Preview – Mercedes AMG Petronas

2018 Hungarian Grand Prix – Preview

The team looks ahead to Round 12 of the 2018 Formula One season and the final race before the summer break…

  • Toto Talks Hungary
  • Featured this Week: Chasing Pit Stop Perfection
  • Stat Attack: Hungary and Beyond

Toto Talks Hungary

We’ve had our fair share of bad luck this season, but it felt like our fortunes turned around in Hockenheim. A one-two is always a great result; to get it on Mercedes home turf after starting from P2 and P14 on the grid was absolutely incredible. However, in the cold light of day, we also know and recognise that we did not bring the quickest car to Hockenheim.

We’ve passed the halfway point of the season and we lead both championships by very close margins. Each and every member of our team has worked very hard to make this possible and the determination and energy in our factories seems to be ever-growing. We all know that no prizes are given out for half-time champions, so we will keep pushing to improve our performance.

Hungary will see another tough fight with both Ferrari and Red Bull. It’s a high downforce track and on paper they should both be very fast in Budapest. However, if there’s one thing the German Grand Prix taught us, it’s the fact that predictions don’t determine race results. We will give it everything to go into the summer shutdown with as many points as possible.

Featured this Week: Chasing Pit Stop Perfection

It’ll take longer for you to read this sentence than it takes a Formula One team to complete a pit stop. That’s how quick modern-day tyre changes are. Well, at least in theory – if you change the tyre choice last minute, it can take slightly longer…

What is the most important factor for a good pit stop?
Achieving the perfect F1 pit stop is far from easy. It requires all of its intricate elements to be working in absolute harmony. This is a tough task, particularly when the pit stop falls in the midst of a tense on-track battle. Cars arrive and depart in a little over two seconds. Well, that’s the aim, anyway. Anything over that mark is considered a ‘slow stop’, which is remarkable when you think about the amount of activity that happens in such a short space of time. Outright speed, however, is actually not the most important goal for the team – instead, it’s all about consistency. A 1.9-second stop is great, but if you follow that up later in the race with a 3.6-second tyre change that advantage is lost. Teams are looking for their pit stop times to be consistent across not only individual races but the season as a whole.

What exactly do the individual crew members do in a pit stops?
Within the tight timeframe of an F1 pit stop, the first step is the car coming into the box and stopping on the marks. One crew member will be holding a stop board, indicating where exactly the front tyre should come to a stop. Once the car has reached its position, the sign will go up and it will then be lifted up by the people operating the front and rear jacks. It’s at this point that the tyre crew get to work. There are twelve people involved in changing the tyres, three on each of the car’s four corners: one operating the wheel gun, one taking the old tyre off and another placing the new tyre on. Once the wheel nuts have been loosened, the worn tyres are taken off and new ones are then fitted. The wheel nuts are tightened and if the crew members are happy that they are safely on, they will hit a button on their wheel guns to confirm this. While this is going on, there are two crew members positioned at the front of the car to adjust the front wing flags, using electrically-operated guns. There are also two placed in the middle of the car, to steady it on the jacks, clear the radiators and clean the driver’s visor and mirrors when required. Another team member is overseeing the pit stop and the pit lane traffic. This person has the final say as to whether the traffic light gantry system goes green, which releases the driver into the fast lane. If there’s too much traffic, they’ll keep holding down their button until a gap emerges.

How long do the individual tasks take?
It’s tricky to break down just how long each element takes, because it goes by so quickly. But, from the car stopping on its marks to the wheel nut being taken off is around five tenths of a second. From there, you need another second for the tyre change and securing it back on is roughly four tenths. Dropping the car takes around two tenths. But, of course, this all depends on whether everything goes to plan.

How does the pit crew practice for pit stops?
Naturally, with so much focus on consistency and the need for all of these people to be working in synchronisation, practise most definitely makes perfect. The team completes around 60 practice pit stops over the course of the race weekend. On the Thursday, there’s always a change-around, where people swap roles for a few of the stops. Every member of the pit crew has his set role and these are usually kept the same throughout the course of a season. But, people have experience in different task, so a change-around can take place if necessary. And the team doesn’t just running through normal, everyday scenarios. They’re also practicing possible situations that may come up, like changing a nose (which requires a special side-jack), switching to the spare wheel guns or using the starter motor if the car stalls. To make sure that the pit stops are as consistent as possible from the very first race of the season on, the team does about 60 pit stops per week during pre-season.

What else can a team do to get faster pit stops?
In addition to trying to prepare for most scenarios, there’s a constant drive for improvement – from the positioning of the crew to the equipment itself (such as the wheel nut design). Fitness is another way to enhance pit stops and the team work hard in the gym to be in the best shape possible. The main focus is on strength, conditioning training and stretching, but there’s also training specific to the different roles.

Stat Attack: Hungary and Beyond

2018 Hungary Grand Prix Timetable

Session Local Time (CEST) Brackley (BST) Stuttgart (CEST)
Practice 1 (Friday) 11:00-12:30 10:00-11:30 11:00-12:30
Practice 2 (Friday) 15:00-16:30 14:00-15:30 15:00-16:30
Practice 3 (Saturday) 12:00-13:00 11:00-12:00 12:00-13:00
Qualifying (Saturday) 15:00-16:00 14:00-15:00 15:00-16:00
Race (Sunday) 15:10-17:10 14:10-16:10 15:10-17:10







Race Records – Mercedes F1 at the Hungarian Grand Prix

  Starts Wins Podium Places Poles Front Row Fastest Laps DNF
Mercedes 8 2 5 4 6 1 3
Hamilton 11 5 6 5 7 0 1
Bottas 5 0 1 0 0 0 1
MB Power 24 10 19 10 18 5 22





Technical Stats – Season to Date (Barcelona Pre-Season Test 1 to Present)

  Laps Completed Distance Covered (km) Corners Taken Gear Changes PETRONAS Fuel Injections
Mercedes 4,709 22,799 75,374 223,168 188,360,000
Hamilton 2,299 11,147 36,636 108,762 91,960,000
Bottas 2,410 11,651 38,738 114,406 96,400,000
MB Power 13,228 63,842 210,891 622,393 529,120,000





All-Time Records – Silver Arrows in Formula One

  Starts Wins Podium Places Poles Front Row Fastest Laps 1-2 Wins Front Row Lockouts
Mercedes 179 80 167 93 167 60 42 53
Hamilton 219 66 125 76 124 39 N/A N/A
Bottas 108 3 27 5 13 6 N/A N/A
MB Power 449 166 435 176 347 155 67 88


2018-07-25T20:28:12+00:00July 25th, 2018|Formula One, Hungarian Grand Prix, Mercedes|