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McLaren confident jack issue resolved

5 July 2012

McLaren says it is confident that the pit lane issues suffered by the team in the European Grand Prix won't be repeated in the British Grand Prix this weekend at Silverstone.

While the team produced a record-breaking stop of 2.6 seconds in Valencia, it then lost more than 14 seconds when Lewis Hamilton pitted for the second time when a front jack failure saw the Briton stranded while a replacement was brought out.

It was the latest pit problem to hit the team this season but sporting director Sam Michael said work had been ongoing to resolve the issue ahead of Silverstone.

“We identified the problem in Valencia and why that failed and the design has been modified for Silverstone,” he told the latest Vodafone McLaren Mercedes phone-in. “On Monday this week, we completed 800 pit stops on the jacking systems, with no faults at all. So during a race weekend, we would probably do about 50 pit stops, including all of the practices. So effectively we did 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 we have got for Silverstone. If we go there and have a fault we can say that we have done as much as we could, which is what we do in engineering. We also had a problem with our right-rear gunner who was cut by the front-wing endplate on Lewis's last stop. That was because the box was so tight. He has recovered very well and he may be back for Silverstone. But we have a backup plan in case he's not.”

Michael added that the team was seeking to make its stops consistently quicker, with glitches such as the one seen in Spain being par for the course as McLaren works on developing new technology.

“Our target is consistency,” he said. “Our target is not the fastest stationary time but the fastest average time. Our internal target is to achieve three-second pit stops consistently. 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 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, like a traffic light system, fast jacking systems and retained wheel nuts. 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, which was mechanical and had nothing to do with the operators.

“If you look back at the other teams who have introduced some of these items before us, they went through similar pain and some of them are still going through it.”


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