Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has admitted that the team have been forced to change their “mindset” in regard to pit-stops, as they neglected improving them throughout their dominant era.
From 2014-2021, Mercedes had such a strong car year-on-year that they could afford slow pit-stops on a regular basis and still exit the pits with their one of their drivers in the lead.
Whilst the Silver Arrows’ stops are rarely very slow, they are never as fast as the likes of Red Bull or McLaren.
Red Bull and McLaren’s pit crews are unbelievably fast, with the Woking-based side having set a new world record at the 2023 Qatar Grand Prix.
At the Lusail International Circuit earlier this year, McLaren completed a pit-stop on Lando Norris’ car in just 1.8s, whilst Mercedes tend to take between 3.5s-4s per stop.
What makes this so damaging for Mercedes, is that in the second half of the 2023 season, McLaren were more often than not quicker than the Brackley-based team.
It meant that Lewis Hamilton and George Russell tended to enter the pits already behind Norris or Oscar Piastri and exited the pit-lane even further behind than they already were.
Mercedes need to get close to Red Bull and McLaren’s level when it comes to pit-stops, as that area of F1 has “become so competitive”.
Wolff recognises that the Germans haven’t focused on this “for the last 12 years” but that they now must become quicker at changing the tyres on Hamilton and Russell’s cars.
The Mercedes boss has confirmed that the team “will be making a step up” to decrease their pit-stop time, to ensure they lose less time to their rivals.
“Our mindset for the last 12 years was that we don’t need to be World Champions in pit-stops, we just need to avoid slow pit-stops,” Wolff told media including RacingNews365.
“It is coming to a situation now where we realise because it has become so competitive, we just need to ramp our game out there.
“In terms of equipment and science around it, we will be making a step up to [be better] than three-and-a-half seconds.”