Jaime Alguersuari (ESP) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR5 makes a pit stop.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 3, Malaysian Grand Prix, Race, Sepang, Malaysia, Sunday 4 April 2010.
Today, perhaps more than ever, races are won and lost in Formula One in the seconds when the cars aren’t moving at all

How a pitstop can be over in four seconds



After his win at this year's Singapore Grand Prix on September 26, Fernando Alonso gave full credit to the action off the track that had played a crucial part in seeing his Ferrari take the chequered flag: "The pit stop went off perfectly, both in terms of strategy and in the way it was done in pit lane."

For Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel, however, forced to settle for second place, it was the opposite story: "We came in on the same lap as Ferrari and unfortunately I made a little mistake at the pit stop; otherwise I think it would have been very close. That's the story of the whole race."

Today, perhaps more than ever, races are won and lost in Formula One in the seconds when the cars aren't moving at all - during the all- important pit stop, an intricate, fluid ballet between man and machine in which timing is everything and fractions of a second can decide the result.

This season's ban on refuelling during races has made the race against time more intense than ever, with pit stops generally lasting no more than about about three-and-a-half to four seconds. During that time, the car has to be jacked off the ground, front and rear, and all four wheels changed before the driver is given the green light to return to the racing track.

At the Italian Grand Prix at Monza, the race before Singapore, Ferrari likened the process to a ballet after Alonso's car was given a fresh set of rubber in just 3.4 seconds, catapulting him past leader Jenson Button and paving the way for his third win of the season.

But for Gerard Lecoq, Toro Rosso's chief mechanic and the man in charge of the team's pit-stops, the dance analogy no longer applies to a pit stop.

Speaking in the build-up to the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, the Frenchman explains: "It could be a ballet in the past but not any more because a good pit stop is under four seconds and I don't know of any ballet that last only four seconds!"

Removing the refuelling factor has eased some problems and dangers, but putting the focus on a rapid tyre change has created others.

"Now, it's just so intense," says Lecoq. "In the past, the bottleneck was the refuelling but now it's the changing of the four wheels. Before, the time factor was down to just three guys holding the refuelling hose and now it's down to 12 guys, three on each wheel, so it multiplies the chances of making a mistake."

In all, 19 members of a team are involved in the pit stop: three on each wheel, one on the front jack, one on the rear, one who steadies the car, another on hand with a change of steering wheel if required and another in case the hydraulic system needs pumping up. Another is ready to change a damaged nose cone or to alter the angle of the front or rear wings to adjust the car's downforce. And, of course, there's the "lollypop man", whose job is to guide the car in and let the driver know when he can drive off again.

All the performers have "day jobs" within the race team and are selected for their pit-lane tasks because of their different character traits. "Someone cool and calm" fits the job description for the operator of the wheel gun, while "those who are nervy" are, apparently, the ideal candidates to remove the tyres.

According to statistics from the season to date, the Mercedes GP pit crew is marginally the quickest on the grid, although Ferrari's recent efforts have arguably stolen the limelight.

After Monza, the team released a breakdown of Alonso's race-winning stop. By 0.35 seconds, his car had already been lifted by the two jack men. At 0.7s, all four tyres were off, and it took just another 0.7s to get the new wheels in position. The first wheel was locked on by 2.3s and the fourth had followed 0.6s later, allowing the Spaniard to leave his pit position a remarkable 3.4s after he had arrived.

For his part, Lecoq was not particularly impressed by Ferrari's efforts on that day, even though it had won the race. "I wasn't blown away because we checked the Alonso pit stop in Monza and the front tyre change was identical to our car," he explains."We lost some time because we had a new guy on the rear jack."

Lecoq is not one to suffer fools gladly. In his previous post at Toyota, he boasted the quickest pit crew in the paddock and he is using methods learnt at the now defunct Japanese team to catapult Toro Rosso up the grid in his first season with the team.

The most notable feature he has tried to change at the Italian outfit is to use video analysis to shave fractions of a second from any given stop. But is there such a thing as a perfect pit stop?

"No, as getting better is always possible and it's only down to practice that you do that, mostly from quiet times in the factory before the season or between races."

In his opinion, Toro Rosso's best stop was during the Spanish Grand Prix in May, when the team gained a place; Monza, by contrast, was a setback, which cost a spot. Unforgivable, one would think, but the pit-stop director is philosophical.

"To lose a place is bad but that's racing - sometimes you win and sometimes you lose," he says. "And there are so many things that come into play. The timing of the pit stop includes the driver coming into the pit lane and leaving it again so the total time taken is not just down to the pit-stop crew."

But despite the joint responsibility, if Toro Rosso fail to get their drivers quickly and safely back into the race then the buck stops with Lecoq, a fact of which he is all too aware.

With time more precious than ever before, the chances of similar incidents taking place in Abu Dhabi, and throughout next season, are high.

The ballet of the pit lane may last only seconds, but this is where races are won or lost - making the pit stop less like a dance and more like an exquisitely choreographed fight to the finish.

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Almouneer
Started: 2017
Founders: Dr Noha Khater and Rania Kadry
Based: Egypt
Number of staff: 120
Investment: Bootstrapped, with support from Insead and Egyptian government, seed round of
$3.6 million led by Global Ventures

Company profile

Date started: January, 2014

Founders: Mike Dawson, Varuna Singh, and Benita Rowe

Based: Dubai

Sector: Education technology

Size: Five employees

Investment: $100,000 from the ExpoLive Innovation Grant programme in 2018 and an initial $30,000 pre-seed investment from the Turn8 Accelerator in 2014. Most of the projects are government funded.

Partners/incubators: Turn8 Accelerator; In5 Innovation Centre; Expo Live Innovation Impact Grant Programme; Dubai Future Accelerators; FHI 360; VSO and Consult and Coach for a Cause (C3)

The more serious side of specialty coffee

While the taste of beans and freshness of roast is paramount to the specialty coffee scene, so is sustainability and workers’ rights.

The bulk of genuine specialty coffee companies aim to improve on these elements in every stage of production via direct relationships with farmers. For instance, Mokha 1450 on Al Wasl Road strives to work predominantly with women-owned and -operated coffee organisations, including female farmers in the Sabree mountains of Yemen.

Because, as the boutique’s owner, Garfield Kerr, points out: “women represent over 90 per cent of the coffee value chain, but are woefully underrepresented in less than 10 per cent of ownership and management throughout the global coffee industry.”

One of the UAE’s largest suppliers of green (meaning not-yet-roasted) beans, Raw Coffee, is a founding member of the Partnership of Gender Equity, which aims to empower female coffee farmers and harvesters.

Also, globally, many companies have found the perfect way to recycle old coffee grounds: they create the perfect fertile soil in which to grow mushrooms. 

Important questions to consider

1. Where on the plane does my pet travel?

There are different types of travel available for pets:

  • Manifest cargo
  • Excess luggage in the hold
  • Excess luggage in the cabin

Each option is safe. The feasibility of each option is based on the size and breed of your pet, the airline they are traveling on and country they are travelling to.

 

2. What is the difference between my pet traveling as manifest cargo or as excess luggage?

If traveling as manifest cargo, your pet is traveling in the front hold of the plane and can travel with or without you being on the same plane. The cost of your pets travel is based on volumetric weight, in other words, the size of their travel crate.

If traveling as excess luggage, your pet will be in the rear hold of the plane and must be traveling under the ticket of a human passenger. The cost of your pets travel is based on the actual (combined) weight of your pet in their crate.

 

3. What happens when my pet arrives in the country they are traveling to?

As soon as the flight arrives, your pet will be taken from the plane straight to the airport terminal.

If your pet is traveling as excess luggage, they will taken to the oversized luggage area in the arrival hall. Once you clear passport control, you will be able to collect them at the same time as your normal luggage. As you exit the airport via the ‘something to declare’ customs channel you will be asked to present your pets travel paperwork to the customs official and / or the vet on duty. 

If your pet is traveling as manifest cargo, they will be taken to the Animal Reception Centre. There, their documentation will be reviewed by the staff of the ARC to ensure all is in order. At the same time, relevant customs formalities will be completed by staff based at the arriving airport. 

 

4. How long does the travel paperwork and other travel preparations take?

This depends entirely on the location that your pet is traveling to. Your pet relocation compnay will provide you with an accurate timeline of how long the relevant preparations will take and at what point in the process the various steps must be taken.

In some cases they can get your pet ‘travel ready’ in a few days. In others it can be up to six months or more.

 

5. What vaccinations does my pet need to travel?

Regardless of where your pet is traveling, they will need certain vaccinations. The exact vaccinations they need are entirely dependent on the location they are traveling to. The one vaccination that is mandatory for every country your pet may travel to is a rabies vaccination.

Other vaccinations may also be necessary. These will be advised to you as relevant. In every situation, it is essential to keep your vaccinations current and to not miss a due date, even by one day. To do so could severely hinder your pets travel plans.

Source: Pawsome Pets UAE

A cheaper choice

Vanuatu: $130,000

Why on earth pick Vanuatu? Easy. The South Pacific country has no income tax, wealth tax, capital gains or inheritance tax. And in 2015, when it was hit by Cyclone Pam, it signed an agreement with the EU that gave it some serious passport power.

Cost: A minimum investment of $130,000 for a family of up to four, plus $25,000 in fees.

Criteria: Applicants must have a minimum net worth of $250,000. The process take six to eight weeks, after which the investor must travel to Vanuatu or Hong Kong to take the oath of allegiance. Citizenship and passport are normally provided on the same day.

Benefits:  No tax, no restrictions on dual citizenship, no requirement to visit or reside to retain a passport. Visa-free access to 129 countries.

Paris Agreement

Article 14

1. [The Cop] shall periodically take stock of the implementation of this Agreement to assess the collective progress towards achieving the purpose of this Agreement and its long-term goals (referred to as the "global stocktake")

2. [The Cop] shall undertake its first global stocktake in 2023 and every five years thereafter