Former McLaren Mechanic Marc Priestley reveals an old McLaren Medical Equipment trick used by the team to gain time advantage during pit stops.
Formula one has always been a sport in which engineers try to find marginal gains by bending the rules to their own advantage. However, no one would have thought how medical equipment could help a team save a few tenths.
Almost a decade ago, refueling was allowed during pitstops in Formula one. After a pitstop, Getting the cars back on track was crucial. Doing it quickly was even more important. However, the rate at which fuel went in the tank through the nozzle was constant for all teams. This meant that no team had the advantage.
However, mechanics at McLaren had a different approach that saved them crucial time.
Former McLaren mechanic Marc Priestly revealed this during a podcast:
“In the refueling days, when everyone had this mandated technology, same kit, same hardware, delivered fuel at the same rate, you weren’t allowed to modify the fuel rigs in any way.”
“And yet, if you could find a way to speed up your refueling pitstop it was a differentiator,”
Explaining the little trick they used at McLaren, in which with the help of a stethoscope they saved time. Priestly explained this McLaren Medical equipment trick.
“We had a great little trick at McLaren where the refuelling man wore a doctor’s stethoscope. He had the thing in his ears and then the tube went down his arm. The sleeve of his race suit, came out at his hand which had the piece that the doctor puts on your chest to listen to your heart, and as the fuel rig went on he held that little stethoscope onto the nozzle of the fuel rig. So when the fuel was being delivered he could hear what was going on inside.”
“And just before, when the required amount of fuel was delivered. There was a little sort of motorised butterfly valve inside the nozzle that used to whir closed. Only when that was closed did the lights then turn to green on the nozzle and you could start the two-stage process of releasing it.”
“So of course, he could hear when that butterfly valve was starting to whir up and close having had all the fuel delivered. And he could then start the first phase of this release, before the lights went green. And then as the lights went green we were ready to just take the nozzle off.”
This McLaren Medical Equipment trick was unknown until now. Nobody knew they were doing it and it was completely legal. They were not modifying the fuel rig or anything.
That’s what Formula one is all about. Trying to save that extra one-tenth in any way possible!
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