Toto Wolff Promises Pitstop Overhaul After United States Grand Prix

Mercedes Vows a New Pitstop Approach Following Costly Slow Changes

Toto Wolff, the head of Mercedes, has pledged a fresh perspective on pitstops after the sluggish tire changes that proved to be a setback in the Formula 1 United States Grand Prix.

Lewis Hamilton’s performance, just 2.2 seconds behind the race winner Max Verstappen, was one of his most competitive showings of the year before he was disqualified for a plank infringement.

However, both Hamilton and the Mercedes team were acutely aware that the race might have taken a different initial course if their two pitstops had been executed more swiftly, timed at 3.6 and 3.4 seconds.

Comparatively, the fastest pitstop of the day, performed by Alpine, was a swift 2.2 seconds, and Red Bull’s quickest stops clocked in at 2.4 and 2.5 seconds.

Mercedes has often struggled in recent years with pitstop times, consistently trailing behind other teams. Wolff noted that the issues faced by Mercedes are equipment-related, rather than human error, but emphasized the need for a change in approach, as the competition is gaining too much ground.

“Our mindset in the last 12 years, we don’t need to be world champions in pitstops,” he said.

“We need to avoid very slow pitstops. And it’s coming to a situation now where we realise that it has got so competitive, and we just need to ramp up our game up there.

“That’s in terms of equipment and science around it, and the way we are set up, to avoid 3 or 3.5 seconds pitstops because all of that played a part.”

Hamilton candidly acknowledged that the pitstops were indeed one of the critical areas that incurred costs during the United States race.

“I do think we would have been in a fighting position to fight with Max,” he said. “I think we made our life a lot harder today than it probably needed to be…

“And I think in one of the pitstops, I might have been a bit long, which then made it harder for the guys and then the stop wasn’t that great overall.

“So, there’s lots of areas that we could have been better but the positives are that we were, at points, matching them [Red Bull] for pace, and to be only two seconds back afterwards, at the end of the pace is, I think, a good sign.”