5 April 2015
Williams must improve its pit stops, says Smedley
Rob Smedley says Williams need to keep working on its pit stops and strive for greater consistency with them during the rest of the F1 2015 season
Williams' head of vehicle performance Rob Smedley has called on the team to keep working on its pit stops and to strive for more consistency.
Smedley was speaking after the 2015 F1 Malaysian Grand Prix last weekend, where Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa both encountered problems during one of their three stops during the 56-lap race.
“There is work to do and we need to improve the consistency of the pit stops,” Smedley confirmed. “We had some good pit stops, but then both cars had some very slow pit stops - one of them we lost when we did the double stop with Valtteri - getting the left rear on - and then in the final pit stop with Felipe, we lost time as well for an issue there.
“The positive thing is that these were two problems that we haven't encountered before. One was getting the tyre blanket off during the double pit stop, it was just a procedural thing - we didn't take the blanket off quick enough.
“The second one with Felipe was the jack, which didn't engage properly on the rear crash structure and so we didn't get the rear of the car up.
“We have done hundreds of stops up to now and so we know it is not an issue with the  rear crash structure, absolutely not, and it shouldn't be an issue with the rear jack either. We did plenty of stops with that geometry on the rear jack without any issues and it is no problem.”
Put to him that the tyre blanket error was rather inexcusable, Smedley added: “I am not going to talk about what is excusable and what is not inexcusable. It is just a waste of time, isn't it? It is like the China thing last year. If you want someone to blame, blame me. I am the one in charge aren't I? If you want someone to shoot, then shoot me.
“We have got to go away and look at it and understand what happened and just tidy up and make sure that it doesn't happen again. That is the important bit.
“They are procedural things that we can fix. We didn't do a great job, but we didn't do a great job as a group of people. There is no one person in particular at fault. It is just all of us together. We have to improve.”
So how do the team stop these errors from happening, especially given the outfit spent a lot of time practicing at Barcelona in pre-season testing?
“Keep working at it,” Smedley emphasised. “You pre-emptively try and find mistakes before they bite you in the race and the ones that you do, which we do all the time, we fix.
“But the unfortunate nature of the business is and the speed at which we move in this business is that every so often you will get bitten in a race.
“Our pit stop consistency wasn't great in Malaysia. But if you look up and down the pit lane we weren't the only team with inconsistent pit stops and that is not an excuse, it is just to indicate what the nature of the business is. We are all running at 110 mph, flat out and you get bitten sometimes and we did here.”
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