McLaren confident jacks issue is fixed

Autosport

McLaren sporting director Sam Michael is confident that there will be no repeat of the pitlane problems that hit the team in the European Grand Prix after exhaustive testing of its modified swivel jacks.

Lewis Hamilton's second stop in Valencia lasted over 14 seconds because off a front jack failure. McLaren has modified the design to rectify the fault and Michael believes that it will work as expected.

"We identified why that failed and the design has been modified," said Michael. "On Monday this week, we completed 800 pitstops on the jacking systems with no faults at all.

"During a race weekend, we would probably do about 50 pitstops, including all of the practices, so effectively we did 16 grand prix weekends on Monday.

"We believe that we have solved it, but at least we have done good due diligence on the new design for Silverstone. If we go there and have a fault we can say that we have done as much as we could, which is what we do in engineering."

McLaren has suffered a litany of pitstop problems this season, but Michael is adamant that it has not sacrificed consistency in pursuit of speed.

Numerous changes have been made to procedures and equipment since last year, including the introduction of a traffic light system, swivel jacks and retained wheel nuts.

Michael believes that hitches are inevitable with new technology, but that ultimately it will lead to McLaren becoming consistently quick in the pits.

McLaren set a record stationary time in Valencia of 2.6 seconds and its overall time spent in the pitlane during that stop was four tenths faster than Ferrari. But its average time was poor due to the jack problem during Hamilton's second stop.

"Consistency always has been our goal and all of the technology that we have added has actually been to add consistency rather than speed," said Michael.

"We have gained speed at the same time, but that's not at all our focus. This year, we have been on a technology and personnel ramp-up, we have introduced a lot of different parts.

"The very nature of R&D is that you sometimes get things wrong and that's what happened to us in Valencia. If you look back at the other teams that have introduced some of these items before us, they went through similar pain and some of them are still going through it.

"We're not unique in having problems but we most certainly take it very seriously internally. Being on a curve in the last few races into this season with that equipment, it's absolutely natural that we are going to have issues."

Michael added that McLaren's right-rear gunner, who was cut by an endplate on Hamilton's car in Valencia during a pitstop, is recovering well.

"He has recovered very well and he may be back for Silverstone," said Michael. "But we have a backup plan in case he's not."

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