Here’s a few of the best questions from #SocialFriday at the 2013 German Grand Prix asked by fans on the official Vodafone McLaren Mercedes Twitter page, @McLarenF1.
#socialfriday [email protected]: "What determines the number of pit stops in a race?"
TFD: It’s all down to how fast the tyres degrade at that given circuit. The free practice sessions on Friday are all about getting to grips with the expected tyre-lives before they begin to fall off the cliff and the drivers lose time. For that reason, all teams tend to do long runs on the Prime and Option tyres. The drivers, engineers and senior management will then debrief to discuss tyre preferences so that they can devise race strategy, including how many pit stops are planed for that race. However, that’s a moving target: degredation can improve or worsen during the race itself, which always keeps you on your toes!
#socialfriday @BakedStaple13: "Is it the mechanics or the cars that make up your pit stop crew or someone else?"
TFD: The car mechanics all have a role to play in pitstops so they effectively do two jobs at every grand prix. When the car is in the garage, the mechanics are hard at work doing repairs, adding new parts, making set-up adjustments etc. and then during the race they are ready for the call that Jenson or Checo are boxing to make a stop.
Tooned: Series Two
#socialfriday [email protected]: "Do the drivers stay in their race suits between sessions or do they change out of them?"
TFD: Although the suits are custom-made for Checo and Jenson, the drivers always change out of their race suits between sessions. High temperatures in the cockpit means that the drivers can get pretty hot! Both like to shower, wear some casual team kit for lunch and then get into some fresh suits for the next session. They are normally provided with plenty for the race weekend by Sparco, who have been an official supplier to the team since 1996.
#socialfriday @TarlySingh: "Do the drivers find it hard when it comes to getting used to time differences and how do they cope with it?"
TFD: Both drivers are seasoned travellers who get used to time differences relatively easily. With races and media commitments, our drivers spend a fair amount of their time in transit. To counter jet-lag, Jenson and Checo arrive early, exercise and adapt to the the local time as soon as possible so that they are fully acclimatised by the time they get into the car. In fact the majority of employees in F1 are used to the travel as it’s part of the job!
#socialfriday @Jenny_Jacobs94: "Do the pit crew have fitness training like the drivers?"
TFD: Yes, the mechanics have an exercise programme which they carry out in the McLaren Fitness and Wellbeing Centre back at the MTC, where the equipment is designed specifically to work on areas of their body that will be under stress during race weekends. Their role is a very physical one so they need to be in good shape, which means a healthy diet, too!
#SocialFriday will resume during Free Practice Sessions 1 and 2 in Hungary. Join us on Twitter then!