McLaren’s pit-stop woes.

23 Apr

Lewis Hamilton’s two ruined pit stops were both due to the rear left tyre not going on anywhere near quick enough. These problems to McLaren’s pit stops weren’t just a one off at Bahrain, so far there have been many problems for McLaren at the pit stop and many of them have been at the rear left. In a sport where teams compete for 0.1 seconds these losses of 9 seconds are critical and yesterday may have made the difference between a podium and 8th position.

So last night myself and my dad had a good thought about this and may have hit the solution:

Now every team practices the pit stops regularly and it’s a common site to see pictures of it happening on thursday, saturday or sunday and occasionally during a practice session, but because most drivers only do a few laps before coming into the pits the tyres do not get as hot as they would in a race and so even when they practice the pit stop they haven’t fully simulated the heat of the tyres, wheel nut and axle. Now most teams can get away with this, but McLaren’s axle and wheel nuts are made of different metals (titanium and aluminium respectively) and so when both get hot from the nearby tyres and brakes giving off their heat the metals will expand. Now because the two parts are made of different metals they will expand at different rates, and because both of these parts connect together when you try to put a cold wheel nut on a hot axle and with the axle having expanded it’s never going to fit.

Now this reason may not be the real reason for all these problems. But if it is we would see McLaren having to rethink the metals used in the axle and the wheel nuts.

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