McLaren personnel are confident the team is on the right path with its pit stop performances in 2012, even though a problem in the Valencia pits overshadowed the team's delivery of the fastest Formula 1 stop in history earlier in the day.
After much focus on the team's performances in the pits this year, the McLaren pit crew completed a 2.6-second stop at Lewis Hamilton's first stop in Valencia to set a new benchmark in F1.
However, that achievement was followed shortly afterward by Hamilton losing time at his second stop when the front jack failed after its release mechanism was triggered by the car hitting it.
Although that latter problem was a disappointment – and the team will implement equipment modifications for the next race at Silverstone – McLaren's sporting director Sam Michael says the timing data shows that the crew are doing a better job than the critics suggest.
"The guys are ignoring all the criticism, because they know they are good and we already had the fastest stationary time in Montreal before the Valencia performance," Michael said. "The job they are doing at the moment is spot on, and I have felt it coming for the last two or three races. We've done a lot of work internally on the procedures and equipment, and we've been pushing them on a lot. And now we are in a world where we are dealing with milliseconds, rather than tenths. It is as competitive as the aero game now."
The time to "green" – the moment the driver is signaled to go – for Hamilton's first stop in Valencia was just 2.32sec. This was 0.11sec quicker that what is believed to have been the previous benchmark set by Mercedes in Korea last year for Michael Schumacher's first stop.
Despite the pit crew delivering the record time in Valencia, Michael says the target still remains being consistent.
"It has always been like that, but it just so happens that we have managed to get more pace than our original target," he said. "Our target is not to do a 2.3sec stop before the driver reacts – it is to be sub three-second on average. If you look at the areas where we have had mistakes and issues in recent races, they are no longer because we are pushing to try and improve time."
McLaren will have to restructure its pit crew for the British Grand Prix after the right-hand rear gunner cut himself on a wing endplate during the Valencia stops. He will be replaced for the Silverstone weekend.