Williams Martini Racing set a new record for the fastest recorded pit stop at the Grand Prix of Europe. The team finally broke the magical 2 second barrier with Felipe Massa’s stop. Williams are the first team to officially complete a pitstop in which all 4 tyres are changed in under 2 seconds in Formula One.
After a series of calamitous pitstop performances throughout the teams 2015 campaign, for 2016 the team employed a process manager to analyse possible areas of improvement and implement change. One change has been to introduce a 21st person to the process. The person is responsible for monitoring the pitlane throughout the stop and signal (through a hand-held remote) when it is safe to release the car. This additional person reduces the number of tasks to be completed by the front jack man, and as a consequence has allowed for increased focus and improved efficiency. By allocating only single tasks to individuals in a pitstop process focus can be absolute. No doubt rival teams will be looking to emulate the Williams pit stop process in races to come.
For the 2016 Season DHL are awarding a Fastest Pitstop award after each Grand Prix. Williams have won this accolade at every race this season.
Williams has been assisting the neonatal unit at the University Hospital of Wales (UHW) in Cardiff by bringing Formula One pitstop know-how to help in the resuscitation of newborn babies.
Recognising the similarities between neonatal resuscitations and Formula One pitstops, the resuscitation team at UHW invited members of the Williams Formula One team to the hospital last year for an exploratory meeting to discuss how Formula One techniques and processes could be incorporated into their work. Wednesday 4th May saw members of the neonatal team from UHW visit the Williams factory in Oxfordshire to observe the team practice pitstops to see first-hand how they operate.
Both scenarios require a team of people to work seamlessly in a time critical and space-limited environment. In Formula One, a pit crew can change all four tyres on a car in around two seconds, with a team of nearly 20 people working in unison to successfully service a car. Williams has a dedicated human performance specialist who works with its pitcrew to fine tune the technique, processes, team work and health and fitness of team members. Their experience previously treating new-borns in clinical practice has facilitated the transition of knowledge between the two industries and they have been the primary advisor to the hospital. Williams’s pitstops have been a real success story for the team in 2016, recording the fastest stops of any team at each of the first four races of the 2016 Formula One season.
Following these site visits, the neonatal team has identified and started implementing a number of changes to improve its resuscitation processes that are based on those used in Formula One racing. The resuscitation equipment trolley has now been audited and streamlined to ensure that equipment can be located as quickly as possible. The neonatal team have mapped out a standardised floor space in delivery theatres to clearly show the area for the neonatal resuscitation team to work in; copying the customised floor map the Williams team takes to races to map out the specific pit box requirements at each track. The pitstop resuscitation team at UHW are also in the early stages of implementing Formula One communications and analysis techniques, including the use of a “radio-check” prior to a resuscitation, greater use of hand signals rather than verbal communication, and video analysis to analyse performance following a resuscitation with debrief meetings as standard.
Speaking about the project Dr Rachel Hayward, specialist registrar in Neonates at the University Hospital of Wales said; “Resuscitation of a compromised neonate at delivery is time critical, requiring the provision of efficient and effective resuscitation to ensure an optimal outcome. Delays in providing effective resuscitative care can have marked consequences on survival or the development of long term complications. There is a growing amount of evidence to support a systematic approach to resuscitative care which is time-critical and dependent upon optimal team dynamics and clear communication. Analogous with the requirements of an effective pitstop we have worked with the Williams team to implement Formula One techniques and processes to augment neonatal resuscitative care”.
Claire Williams, Deputy Team Principal of Williams, added; “When we were approached by the Neonatal team at the University Hospital of Wales last year to offer some advice we were delighted to assist. Their work is vitally important and the pressure they work under is difficult to comprehend; it’s a matter of life and death every day of the week. If some of the advice we have passed on helps to save a young life then this would have been an extremely worthy endeavour. We are increasingly finding that Formula One know-how and technology can have benefit to other industries and this is a great example.”