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Faster pit stops a priority for Lotus

ESPN Staff
April 5, 2013 « Hamilton No.1 at Mercedes - Stewart | More to come from Mercedes - Hamilton »
Lotus practice stops have been as quick as 2.4s © Sutton Images
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Lotus has made faster pit stops a priority ahead of the next two grands prix in order to try to give its drivers a competitive advantage in races.

At the Malaysian Grand Prix, Red Bull set a new pit stop record with all four tyres changed in just 2.05s on Mark Webber's car. The previous record had been 2.31s set by McLaren, but with improved equipment and hours of practice Red Bull beat that five times during the race in Malaysia.

Lotus race team manager Paul Seaby said it was essential his pit crew continued to lower its times in order to remain competitive.

"For both myself and the crew, the main priority at the moment is to get our pit stops more competitive and - more importantly - consistent," he said. "We want to give the drivers a better chance of keeping up with the cars in front, or preferably further ahead of those behind! We know we can do it; it's just a matter of instilling that confident mind set to allow them to relax and breeze through the stops as second nature. There's certainly no lack of effort, and we're sure it will come."

Lotus has completed roughly 40 practice pit stops at its factory this week and Seaby said new equipment had helped to reduce the pit crew's times.

"We tried out a new rear jack which proved to be an instant hit, raising the rear of the car a lot quicker. We're looking for tenths of a second, so any small details like that can make a big difference.

"Our best stops are down to about 2.4 seconds now and we're consistently hitting between 2.5 and 2.7 seconds which is not bad at all for a live stop. Performing push stops - where a few of the guys physically push the car into position - can flatter you a bit as it's easier to get the gun on the nut, so considering that this is as 'live' as you can get without being out on track I'm pleased with our progress."