McLaren not expecting repeat pit blunder in Spa

By Ewan Marshall

McLaren have taken steps to ensure that there will not be a repeat of the pit stop blunder that ruined Lewis Hamilton’s chances of victory in the European Grand Prix.

Hamilton was leading Sunday’s European Grand Prix going into the final round of pit stops, but a late call from the team meant his tyres were not ready for him, and the delay contributed to him losing the race.

“It was a very aggressive strategy call.” Forumula1.com heard McLaren’s Managing Director, Jonathan Neale, say in Wednesday’s McLaren-Mercedes ‘phone-in’ session. “We got it too late, not by much, and you saw a result of that.”

“In the end that was not immaterial of Rubens jumping us. That was always going to happen. But certainly we would have been able to put Lewis closer to Rubens if we had either executed the stop properly or allowed him to go the extra lap. It was marginal.”

Neale confirmed that steps have been taken within the team to ensure that the pit stop process will function more smoothly during this weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix. Neale also confirmed that the blunder had been made by the McLaren pit wall and that any criticism of the pit crew was unjustified.

“It is important we don’t dwell on the past and look forwards” explained Neale.

“I have been through all of the data, I’ve replayed that particular piece of video footage of that stop, I don’t know how many times… looking at every movement of who did what and who said what. So we’ve forensically taken it apart, looked at what we need to do.”

“I have to say that in defence of the garage, (they) are blameless in this business. It’s an unfair criticism of the guys who actually manage the tyres and work the cars. The pit lane crew did an excellent job, but our decision making was slow so we compromised them and that pit stop.”

“So what we need to do for this weekend is to learn on that, look at our decision making and everyone on the pit wall has been through the after-event analysis, the debrief and we’ll be sharper this weekend.”