What's Actually Going On in the Two Seconds of a Formula 1 Pit Stop

Formula 1 pit stops are almost comically quick. The driver rolls in; a gang of crew workers buzz around; and then two seconds later, the race car shoots out to zip around the track again. But what’s actually going on? And what the hell are all those damn people doing? This video explains.

Red Bull says about 18 people are involved in their pit stops and they all have fun sounding titles like “lollipop man” and “wheel gunner.” Basically, a team of people are in charge of each wheel (taking it off, putting a new one, locking it in) with others jacking up the car and even more signaling to the driver what’s happening.

What’s also cool: to see the pit stop in slow motion and then again at full speed.

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Every one of these guys knows exactly where to stand, and has an exact assigned task. Every movement is already worked out. It’s gloriously efficient!

A few years ago a pit crew was hired to consult with ER rooms on improving immediate response to trauma victims. They were appalled! It was chaos. No task assignments, people reaching over each other, ERs needed a pit captain. Big improvements were made.