To non-Formula 1 fans, pit stops are often the most impressive part of the sport, and even to the initiated they’re a thing of beauty.
Perhaps it’s because it’s more comprehensible on a human level, a car going 223mph on a camera doesn’t translate so viscerally, and neither does taking 130R flat out in the wet or keeping the throttle pinned through Eau Rouge.
But anyone can relate to changing a car’s tyres, and the mind-blowing achievement of doing that in well under two seconds, it’s also an area where F1 is undisputably the pinnacle of motorsport.
DHL recognises this, sponsoring the Pit Stop Championship which is a fascinating look into just how far some teams are ahead of others in the pitlane.
In a Grand Prix, with everything going on out on the circuit it can be hard to properly see the separation between the best pit crews and the worst. But averaged out over a season, the numbers really do tell a clear story.
DHL’s Pit Stop Championship awards F1‘s points allocation to the top ten quickest stops each race, and adds them up over the course of the season to provide a definitive list of fastest (wheel) guns in the West.
And it’s much more clear-cut than the real constructors’ championship, 12 points is the closest margin and from eighth upwards, no teams are separated by less than 40 points.
10th: Haas – 14
Bottom of the pile and unlike in the constructors’ championship, it’s not particularly close either.
Haas have only scored points in five races – four for Kevin Magnussen, but three of those have been higher than tenth place.
Unfortunately, they’ve also averaged over five seconds per stop in six races. Their gap in average pit stop to the best team on the grid is a whopping 1.6 seconds, which would be equivalent to almost a gap of almost a minute between first and last in qualifying for the Abu Dhabi GP.
9th: Alfa Romeo – 38
The second team in a row to retain their constructors’ championship position in this ranking, but don’t fear – there’s only one more in that category for the rest of the list. Can you guess which?
They managed top-ten pit stops in eight races but never cracked the top five, and averaged under three seconds just thrice. They’ve ended the season strongly though, besting that mark two times in the last five races.
8th: Williams – 50
The closest championship battle heading into the final weekend, Alfa Romeo would’ve needed at least a fourth-place finish to depose Williams, mirroring real life where the Grove outfit fought off AlphaTauri in the final race.
Williams have actually only scored points in eight races but recorded several top-five finishes which fires them to the top of the backmarkers.
7th: Mercedes – 100
Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Mercedes were once the envy of the F1 pitlane but those days are long gone, part of a wider operational problem with the team.
They recorded 19 points-scoring finishes but never recorded a podium in any race, and didn’t even manage a top-four quickest time after the Miami GP.
In terms of headline times, Mercedes were even further away from cracking the top 10 than they were at winning a race in 2023.
6th: Aston Martin – 145
Aston Martin only finished one place behind their constructors’ championship position, but with 135 points less than their real-life haul.
They still beat Alpine‘s constructors’ tally, but it’s fair to say Aston Martin had a more successful season on the track than in the pitlane
In contrast to Fernando Alonso‘s eight podiums, Aston only had a top-five quickest pitstop in five races – though produced the sixth-best on seven occasions.
5th: Alpine – 191
Alpine started very strong recording two podiums in the first three races of the season, but only managed one more after the Spanish GP. Interestingly, four out of those five trips to the virtual rostrum were servicing Esteban Ocon‘s car.
Alpine also had no opportunity to score in Hungary as both Ocon and Pierre Gasly retired within two laps.
4th: AlphaTauri – 255
The team with the highest rise from their constructors’ position, AlphaTauri scored over ten times their constructors’ championship tally, managed a podium in five races and even beat the top team in five races over the season too.
Their average pit stop places them seventh but it’s harmed by three stinkers all over five seconds in the Netherlands, Singapore and Mexico City. They actually didn’t have any four-second average races. But take out the howlers and their interquartile mean is 2.94.
3rd: McLaren – 418
McLaren have six of the top ten fastest pitstops in F1 in 2023. Just let that sink in. And interestingly, it was an even 3-3 split between Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri.
Piastri‘s stunning 1.80 seconds stop at the Qatar GP was the best in the season by over a tenth – that’s equivalent to Max Verstappen‘s pole position in Abu Dhabi being six seconds quicker than the next best competitor.
So why aren’t they higher? Put simply, McLaren weren’t quite consistent enough – they didn’t even have the quickest average at the Qatar GP.
McLaren were also hamstrung in the points championship as they didn’t get to make a registered stop at the season-opening Bahrain GP due to Piastri‘s early retirement and Norris requiring hydraulic fluid refills at each of his six stops.
2nd: Ferrari – 468
Ferrari fans don’t pinch yourself, as unbelievable as it seems, this really is true.
The reddest mechanics in the pitlane started the season phenomenally, going toe-to-toe with Red Bull over the first quarter of 2023 and didn’t average over three seconds per stop in a race until the Austrian GP.
Even better, they only broke that ceiling five times in the season but three of those were over four seconds, preventing them from pushing the champions all the way.
Ferrari recorded the second-fastest pitstop of the season, though that wasn’t even enough to earn top spot for that race as it came up against McLaren‘s mythical 1.8 seconds at the Losail International Circuit.
Still, they come in second once again – forever the bridesmaids – and worst of all it’s behind…
1st: Red Bull – 543
Another championship topped by Red Bull (snore), the team’s superiority across every part of F1 would be beautiful if it wasn’t so oppressive.
They have the best car, the best driver, the best strategy and the best execution of that strategy too. When put like that, it’s a bit easier to understand why Red Bull have just completed the dominant season in F1 history.
Red Bull only averaged three seconds or more in two grand prix and had the fastest pit stop per grand prix in nine races. The only possible chink in their armour appears to be fatigue – just three of those winners came in the second half of the season.
They weren’t quite as spectacular as McLaren‘s three of the top ten fastest times in the season, but the overbearing consistency was more than enough for top spot.
Average pit stop times
What were the fastest pit stops of 2023?
|Las Vegas GP
|United States GP