In an effort to drum up some positive news from the Malaysian Grand Prix, Red Bull Racing has produced evidence that it broke the old record for a four-wheel change o fewer than five times during the Sepang race.
While the 1-2 finish the team achieved was overshadowed by the 'multi21' affair that left Mark Webber fuming and Sebastian Vettel contrite during awkward podium and press conference presences, Red Bull's performance in turning the drivers around during the event was almost exemplary.
Having reviewed data from Sepang, the Milton Keynes squad believes that it has now lowered the record for the fastest pit-stop of the modern era – that is, since the ban on refuelling focused attention on replacing all four wheels in the quickest possible time - to just 2.05secs after servicing Webber's #2 machine during one of its four visits at the Malaysian Grand Prix.
The previous benchmark stood at 2.31secs – achieved by McLaren while attending to Jenson Button's car at last year's German Grand Prix - but Red Bull claims to have broken that record multiple times in Malaysia.
“Having reviewed the data, we're pretty sure we beat the previous mark on five separate occasions during the race,” the team reported on its website, “McLaren have held the record since last year's German Grand Prix, where they changed four wheels for Jenson Button in 2.31secs, [but] we went under that in Malaysia with Seb's first stop being 2.13secs, [while] Mark's first stop, two laps later was also 2.13secs. The crew then lowered the new benchmark to 2.05secs when Mark came in again, and his two subsequent stops were 2.21secs and 2.26secs.”
Despite describing the process as 'a blink-and-you'll-miss-it blur of tyres, wheel-guns and improbably balletic mechanics', however, Red Bull insists that it can be quicker.
“What you won't hear is anyone using the word 'perfect',” the story continued, “There's always a quicker stop out there, and it's possible this season we'll see the magical two-second barrier breached at some point. However, rather than chasing individual times, improving consistency is always the thing coveted by the crew: breaking records is merely the consequence of doing that well.”
The reigning world champions – who can now expect a visit from the Sky Sports F1
team to mark its achievement at next weekend's Chinese Grand Prix – could face some serious competition in the race to record the first sub-two second stop, as it is claimed that McLaren also beat its old record – albeit by just 0.03secs – and Mercedes, who was just a hundredth slower during one of Nico Rosberg's stops.