A fraction of a second gained or lost during a pit stop may mean the difference between victory and defeat in a Formula One (F1) race. This means that the pit crew must be in excellent physical condition and practice incessantly until each member can work as part of a well coordinated machine.
However, the crew and driver can only be successful in managing their pit times and shaving small increments of time from their previous efforts by advancing the technology of their equipment. These advances are readily apparent in the ever decreasing times that have been achieved by various tire changing teams from the top pit crews of Formula One racing teams.
Advances in Wheel, Nut, and Drive Pin Synchronization
Great strides has been made in making the tire change as seamless and efficient as possible. Drive pins, onto which the wheel is seated, are perfectly positioned so that the wheel can be seated with a perfect fit in one fluid motion. If you've ever changed a tire on your family vehicle, there's a lot of wiggle room that requires a few seconds to seat the tire on the pins. A few seconds in a Formula One race means that the race is lost.
The nuts themselves are loosely fitting inside the wheel, held in place by o-rings or clips. When the wheel is placed on the axle, the nuts are already in place, ready to be tightened by a wheel gun. Formula one racing teams use Paoli Wheel guns, because of their torque and the intricately designed pockets, which provide a precise fit on the nuts so all of the torque power is transferred to the nuts instead of being dissipated by an imprecise fit.
The nuts themselves are designed with widely spaced threads, so that a minimal number of revolutions are required for the nuts to be fully tightened.
Advances in Wheel Guns
Wheel guns are constantly being adapted as new technologies become available. Until a ban that was decreed in 2012, helium was introduced in wheel guns to provide increased rotation speeds because of its naturally low density. Formula One officials declared the ban because of the decreasing supply of helium, which is useful for optics and other scientific instruments,
Wheel guns are now equipped with sensors that can analyze the entire pit experience and provide valuable data for future improvements and adaptions. They also have a button that can provide an alert that the vehicle is ready to leave the pit, which is invaluable in the confusion of twenty members of a pit crew trying to get their vehicle back on the track in a matter of seconds.
This is a definite asset when the previous sign was that of a pit crew chief raising his arm to signal that that car is ready to roll, when the crew chief can't even see much of the vehicle because of the swarm of crew members in the pit.
For more information, contact local professionals like United Race Parts.