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McLaren changes front jack after Valencia failure
McLaren will bring a revised pit stop jacking system to the British Grand Prix after a failure cost Lewis Hamilton time at the European Grand Prix two weeks ago.
In the pursuit of consistently quick pit stops, McLaren has invested in new equipment this year but has still made a number of high-profile mistakes while changing tyres. In Valencia it set a new fastest stationary pit stop time, with a tyre change clocked at just 2.6s, but it also lost time when its new swivel jack suffered a mechanical failure.
"Just to be clear, our target is consistency and our target is not to have the fastest stationary time but to achieve the fastest average time," McLaren sporting director Sam Michael told the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes phone-in. "The internal target is to consistently achieve sub-three second pit stops for all the stops in the race. Consistency always has been our goal and all of the technology that we have added has actually been to add consistency rather than speed. We have gained speed at the same time but that's not our focus, in fact that's not at all our focus.
"This year at McLaren we have been on a technology and personnel ramp-up, we have introduced a lot of different parts in a short space of time - traffic light systems, faster jacking systems and also the retained wheelnuts. But the very nature of R&D is that you sometimes get things wrong and that's what happened to us in Valencia with the front jack failure. It was a mechanical failure, it had nothing to do with the operators. If you look back at the other teams that have introduced some of these items before us, they went through similar pain and some of them are still going through it."
Michael said a new jack is ready for this weekend's British Grand Prix.
"We identified why that failed and the design has been modified for Silverstone," he added. "On Monday this week, we completed 800 pit stops on the jacking systems with no faults at all with the new design. During a race weekend, we would probably do about 50 pit stops, including all of the practices, so effectively we've done 16 grand prix weekends on Monday. We believe that we have solved it, but at least we have done good due diligence on the new design for Silverstone. If we go there and have a fault we can go back and say that we have done as much as we could, which is what we do in engineering."