F1 has changed plenty over the years, the obvious things being
advancements in aerodynamics, engine technology, and safety equipment.
However, as a new documentary from
Racing reveals, the pit stop has changed drastically as well. The
trailer for this documentary is above, and you can view the film in its
entirety, hosted by retired F1 driver,
David Coulthard, at this link. It's well worth your 45 minutes.
Perhaps most interesting is the story of how Gordon Murray, designer of the McLaren F1, and his crew devised the modern pit stop in the early 1980s. As the documentary explains, teams made sure to have long-lasting tires and carry enough fuel onboard for the race, since pit stops were slow. Murray, a member of the Brabham F1 team at the time, was looking for some way to reduce weight in the car. He realized that fuel was a major portion of the vehicle's weight, so he started working out how they could run a lighter car with less fuel – without losing the advantage in a pit stop.
The team's solution was interesting, to say the least. They rigged up a fuel system using pressurized beer kegs painted in the team's colors so they could pump 30 gallons of fuel into the car in just 3 seconds. The team also would take the opportunity to put fresh tires onto the car, which meant they needed a way to get them on quickly, as well as a way to keep the tires warm in the pit. They were able to do this by pre-loading wheel nuts into the air gun sockets and building a makeshift heated box to store the tires in. While engine reliability issues initially hid the benefits of Murray's strategy, those were overcome, and the team saw massive success.
The documentary covers more than just Murray's story, though. You'll also see the dangerous early days of pit stops, and the high-speed, well-trained crews of modern teams. There are also some great stories about life on Formula 1 teams now and then, and about famous F1 figures, such as Bernie Ecclestone. The history of the pit stop is truly fascinating, so find the time and check it out.