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F1 | Exclusive: What engineers see on pit wall monitors

Let’s find out, supported by exclusive photos, what data engineers observe on the pit wall monitors during F1 sessions.

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Among the places that arouse the most curiosity in the world of motorsport there are certainly “pit walls“. In fact, during all F1 sessions, several engineers can be seen on the teams’ pit wall, who observe and analyze numerous data surrounded by monitors. Well, it is among the wishes of many fans to know specifically what type of information there are. Let’s find out!

Here’s a monitor of the Red Bull pit wall, which we have broken down into different areas to analyze in detail. In particular, we will first examine the right side of the screen, dedicated to live timing and GPS, and then the left one, occupied by weather information, live broadcasts and race direction messages.

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Red Bull F1 pit wall (©F1inGenerale)

Right side: Timing and GPS

Let’s begin to delve into the right side of this monitor, dedicated to the live timing of the session. We will divide it into three horizontal bands.

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Timing and session info (©F1inGenerale)

Upper band: timing tables

The upper band contains general information about the session such as time, time remaining, flags on track and number of laps.

Going down we can immediately notice how F1 engineers at the pit wall have highly detailed information on timing and gaps, let’s analyze them further in detail.

The table at the top left shows in order: gaps from the leader, gaps between the drivers, times and speeds of the sectors, lap time, top speed reached, number of laps completed and tyre fitted and number of pit stops. In this case, all times and speeds refer to the driver’s last lap and, in the case of a personal best, the data appears in green – if overall fastest in purple – otherwise in yellow.

Going on to the right there are 2 tables which show, for a single car, all the previously mentioned data. However, it is not only for the last lap but a list of each passage. This therefore allows to build a real “history” of that driver‘s session and thus to have immediate information on each of his laps. At that moment Verstappen and Perez had been selected by Red Bull. However, if necessary, they can switch to any other driver on the grid.

Central band: rankings of the best times

In the central band of the monitor on the left we find 2 boxes. The topmost one shows messages from the race direction while the other one weather information, in particular the odds of rain, temperatures and wind. For the latter, the delta compared to the last session is also indicated, in order to be able to give the driver a reference.

However, the prevailing part of this section can be observed by shifting the gaze to the right. In fact, there are 5 tables that rank the best time in the 3 sectors, the best lap and the ideal lap (ie the hypothetical lap time combining the best sectors) of each driver.


Read also: F1 | Analisi Tecnica: I segreti del volante Ferrari


Bottom band: Race pace and GPS

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Race pace and GPS (©F1inGenerale)

In the lower half of the monitor there are indications on the race pace of each driver, showing all lap times. The numerous colors that can often be glimpsed on TV are nothing more than an indication of the tyre fitted (red, yellow and white respectively for soft, medium and hard while green and blue for intermediate and extreme wet). In addition, the best lap of the driver is also marked here in a lighter green and in purple the fastest time of the session.

Below there is the GPS radar of the circuit, which can also be showed by TV commentators. However, in this case the map is enriched by numerous information such as micro-sectors, rain and wind weather information directly displaced in the affected sections and information on gaps and radio communications. This way, the engineer can have such important information immediately.

Left side: Weather radar and race direction

Weather radar (©F1inGenerale)

In the left half of the monitor there is the weather radar. This service does not belong to the team but is nevertheless provided by Meteo France to all the teams on the grid. The map depicts the movement of clouds around the track and alongside there are weather data such as air and track temperatures, wind speed and direction, pressure, humidity and amount of rain. All this is accompanied by information on current conditions and forecasts.

Live and FOM data (©F1inGenerale)

Going down there are two boxes. The first, called the “Pit lane channel“, shows international live feed – the same one the fans see on TV. In fact the engineers obviously do not just look at the data but also at the session as a whole in order to observe better what is happening.

On the other hand, the lower one is a monitor provided by FOM (Formula One Management) which shows the messages from the race direction and the graphs over time of the aforementioned weather information, in order to see their evolution over time.

Live stream monitors

The monitor analyzed above, which shows a large number of data, is joined by another one purely intended for live broadcasts. This way, as previously stated, engineers on the pit wall can also follow the F1 session as a whole.

Live streams monitor (©F1inGenerale)

As it can be seen, there are different views. The larger one comes from the international direction, which shows the session like on TV. At the bottom there are instead two smaller boxes: one portrays the straight and the pit lane while the other shows the team’s pit stop area. The latter comes from the team’s cameras mounted on the structure for pit stops and is therefore private. They are used by engineers to observe pit stops and the work of the mechanics. It also allows to analyse the procedures in the factory, for instance to correct any errors during tyres changing.

The “confidential” monitor

The teams also have other monitors, usually in a lower and therefore more hidden position. Indeed, these F1 pit wall screens are much more top-secret as they show not only session data but also sensible information about the car – such as temperatures, sensor data and fuel loads – and strategy info. For this reason they cannot be shown in full. However, despite this, we have decided to share a window, which is among the most interesting: the one used to call pit stops.

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Red Bull pit stop call window (©F1inGenerale)

This box has a very high density of indications and commands, which is why we will analyze it by sections.

Top half: controls for calling pit stops

At the top, next to the driver’s name, there is a “next/flap” button which probably shows the indications on when the next stop is expected according to the strategy and on the changes to be made to the incidence of the front wing flaps. The latter maneuver is often carried out during pit stop in order to adapt the aerodynamic balance of the car to the conditions of the new stint (including track conditions, lower fuel loads, new compounds and push strategy).

Going down a little, there is an indication of the strategy in the event of a Safety Car or Virtual Safety Car. In this way, as soon as it is called by the race direction, both mechanics and drivers know immediately how to proceed. It also indicates how many positions the driver would lose if he pits.

The buttons to call the stop follow. There are 4 of them in total: 2 to call in pilots individually and 2 to call a double stack with one or the other entering first.

Menu in the lower half: more details about the stop

At the bottom are several menus. The first, “Tyres“, allows you to select the compound to be whipped. However, at this moment the “Comments” menu is open, which is used to give any additional information to the mechanics, such as the need to replace the front wing in case of damage or the order to wait 5 or 10 seconds before proceeding with the stop in the event of a penalty.

As it can be seen, this window, albeit small gives several precious exclusive indications on how Red Bull is strategically organized in the procedure for calling pit stops.

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