F1 and NASCAR are two completely different series. Take just one look at the cars and the racing formats, and you can tell there is little resemblance between the two. Another big difference between F1 and NASCAR is the format and speed of their pit stops.
F1 pit stops are much faster than NASCAR pit stops. On average, an F1 pit stop is between 2 and 3 seconds, while a NASCAR pit stop can last between 13 and 16 seconds. The fastest ever F1 pit stop took just 1.82 seconds, while NASCAR’s fastest was 8.6 seconds – almost 5 times longer.
Below, we will reveal in detail how fast F1 pit stops are compared to NASCAR pit stops. We will then explain why F1 pit stops are so much faster than NASCAR’s, before comparing an F1 pit crew to a NASCAR pit crew. We will finish by revealing how many pit stops are made during a race in each series.
How Fast Are F1 Pit Stops?
An average F1 stop lasts around 2.4 seconds. In 2019, Red Bull pulled off an amazing feat with a 1.82 second pit stop at the Brazilian Grand Prix. F1 teams have large pit crews of about 20 members. This allows each F1 pit crew member to perform just one role, which raises the stop’s efficiency.
Another reason they’re so fast is that F1 pit crews can’t refuel a car during a stop for safety reasons. This means F1 pit crews can only change the tires (or repair minor damage or replace a front wing) during a stop, making them incredibly fast.
How Fast Are NASCAR Pit Stops?
NASCAR pit stops usually take between 13-16 seconds, but how fast they are depends on the type of pit stop. NASCAR pit stops may involve 4 tires being changed or just 2, and the cars can also be refueled to varying degrees. The fastest 4-tire pit stop came in 2022, with a time of 8.6 seconds.
Today, you will see the pit crew practice their stops throughout the week, seeking perfect choreography for race day. One little mishap on pit road can set a team back, and the pit crew members know this, which justifies their strict fitness regimens and training programs.
The more synchronized the choreography and better physical condition of the pit crew, the better the chances they pull off the fastest pit stop to help their driver achieve the best track position possible.
Why Are F1 Pit Stops Faster Than NASCAR?
F1 pit stops are faster than NASCAR pit stops because F1 stops only involve tire changes and no refueling, and they also require about 20 crew members. NASCAR only allows 5 members over the wall during the first half of the race, and 6 over the wall during the second half.
The sixth member is a utility who performs tasks like giving the driver water (and in some cases food), cleaning the windshield, or providing service to the car the other members do not typically perform.
A NASCAR pit crew comprises just two tire changers, one tire carrier, one jack man, and one fuel man. This means the tire changers must operate both sides of the car while the tire carrier can only replace one tire at a time during the pit stop, with another member like the jack man stepping in to replace the second tire.
In F1, you will see over 20 crew members operate during a pit stop. Unlike NASCAR pit stops, every member of an F1 crew performs just one specific task. This means F1 has two jack men, one at the front, and other at the rear.
F1 pit stops have a specialized jack for the front of the car. This jack pivots, which allows the jack man to step to the side, negating any chance of a delay. If there is any damage to the front wing, teams have a backup plan to utilize side jacks (and even replacing the entire wing can take as little as 12 seconds). And just like in NASCAR, there is a lot of choreography involved.
NASCAR Pit Stops Are Still Fast
Though they are nowhere near as quick as an F1 pit stop. For starters, the pit crew’s athletic background augments the speed of a pit stop. Their excellent choreography, practiced so many times, gives the stop the look of something automatic.
Each pit crew member knows where they need to be before the car even pulls into its pit box. If you have ever repeated something so many times that it became a reflex, it gives you an idea of how a NASCAR pit stop is so fast. Combine a pit crew’s athleticism with these trained reflexes, and you get a fast pit stop – barring the occasional mistake.
KEY POINTS• NASCAR pit stops can take about 5-8 times as long as an F1 pit stop
• F1 pit stops don’t involve refueling, unlike NASCAR stops
• F1 pit crews are also much larger than those in NASCAR
F1 Pit Crew vs NASCAR Pit Crew
The size of an F1 pit crew dwarfs that of a NASCAR pit crew, with the former having a roster designed to get the car back onto the track in as little as 2 seconds. An F1 pit crew also has a far more complex roster, so before we get into it, let’s talk about the smaller roster of a NASCAR pit crew in more detail instead.
NASCAR Pit Crews
A NASCAR pit crew’s tire changers take care of the right side tires first. As the jack man lifts the car with the fairly rudimentary jacks, the tire changers are at work unscrewing the lug nut to replace the right side tires. The tire carrier deposits one tire for the right front and a second tire for the right rear.
The jack man often bolts toward the front, where they replace the front tire as the front tire changer removes the worn tire. The rear tire carrier does the same for the rear tire changer. During this time, the gas man rushes to refuel the car, something they will do throughout the duration of the pit stop.
The gas man must remain aware of when the tire changers, tire carrier, and jack man swing around to the left side of the car. If you watch a NASCAR pit stop closely, they will often step closer to the car to make room for the other four crew members. The tire carrier will take the old tire toward the pit wall before selecting another fresh tire to place it onto the left front of the car.
The jack man will replace the left rear tire while the tire changers continue to unscrew the lug nut, get rid of the old tire, and replace the lug nut once the jack man and tire carrier place the new tires onto the left side. All of this happens in a choreographed dance that ideally will take about 13 seconds or less.
F1 Pit Crews
Four wheel gunners loosen the tires while four other members slide off the old tires. Four more crew members replace the tires with fresh ones, allowing the gunners to re-tighten the lug nuts right before the jack men lower the car. An F1 pit crew also has two members called stabilizers, who hold the car to prevent it from moving while it is on its jacks.
Once a final member of the main pit crew sees the pit is clear, they signal for the driver to leave their pit box through a traffic light system in front of the driver. With such specific roles for each member of an F1 pit crew and so many bodies around the car, it is easy to see how they pull off such fast pit stops.
NASCAR Stops Will Not Catch Up
Suppose NASCAR employed four tire carriers, eight tire carriers (four to take off the tires, and another four to replace the tires), and four lug nut men, their pit stops still would not be as quick as an F1 stop. The reason lies within the refueling, something F1 banned in 2010.
Since there is no truly quick way to refuel a NASCAR car, each pit stop would last just as long even if NASCAR employed a pit crew as large as those you see in F1. If NASCAR ever banned refueling and allowed more members on the roster, they could have a chance, but don’t expect this change to happen any time soon.
How Many Pit Stops Do F1 Drivers Make In A Race?
F1 drivers tend to make anywhere between 1 and 3 pit stops during a race, but this varies depending on many different factors. The most important are the tires they have available, the weather and track conditions, if their car is damaged in any way, and also what their rivals are doing.
The number of pit stops F1 drivers make during a race depends on several factors. Weather and track conditions are important, as they will directly influence tire wear and how long a driver can go on one set of tires. Teams must also pay close attention to the strategies of their rivals.
Fresh Tires Equals More Grip
Since there is no need to refuel, doing so isn’t a reason for taking a pit stop during an F1 race. Like in NASCAR, fresher tires mean faster cars since they offer more grip. Once a driver starts running out of grip on a set of tires, they will need to come into the pits soon before they lose too much time.
The track surface and layout will also determine the number of stops a driver needs to make. You can expect an F1 driver to make at least one pit stop during a race since they are required to use at least two different compounds (unless it’s wet).
How Many Pit Stops Do NASCAR Drivers Make In A Race?
NASCAR drivers may make as few as 4 pit stops during a race if most of the event runs under green and there is low tire wear. However, you’re more likely to see between 6 and 12 pit stops per driver, with factors such as cautions, weather, and track type affecting the number of stops per race.
The number of pit stops a NASCAR driver makes varies upon several factors, with the primary factor being the type of track. While teams use different tire compounds for different tracks, some will wear down tires faster than others. Track conditions can also affect grip and even the way a car handles, and they will also play a factor in the number of pit stops per race.
The events that occur throughout a race also affect the number of stops. Some races see the caution flag thrown out many times while other races will have just a few cautions. The more cautions during a race, the more you will see cars file down pit road for tires and fuel, especially as the race reaches its later stages.
The Effect Of Cautions
If a caution occurs with ten laps to go, it is common to see the drivers come in for just tires or maybe a splash of fuel so they can be at their fastest during the last few laps of the race. If the caution flag barely waves and most of the final stage runs under green, you won’t see teams opt for a pit stop unless they need just enough fuel to cross the start-finish line.
During races that see few cautions and run predominantly under green, you could see as few as four pit stops in an event, assuming the tires wear properly. More likely, you will see between six and 12 stops for each driver fortunate enough to run the full event, with the higher number of stops occurring if there are more on-track incidents.
KEY POINTS• Not only are F1 pit stops faster than NASCAR stops, but drivers will normally pit far fewer times per race as well
• This is partly due to the far longer races in NASCAR than in F1
• F1 drivers might pit once in a race, while NASCAR drivers could pit 12 or more times
F1 pit stops are faster than NASCAR pit stops given their much larger pit crews and no need to refuel. F1 pit stops can be between 5 and 8 times faster than NASCAR pit stops, with the average for Formula 1 being about 2-3 seconds, and that of NASCAR being closer to 13-16 seconds.
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