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Behind every successful F1 driver is a dedicated pit crew. Generally comprised of twenty members, pit crews are responsible for serving vehicles during Formula One races. If you’ve dreamt of joining a pit crew, you might be wondering about how to turn your dream into reality.
Formula One pit crew members must have a background of automotive knowledge and will need to complete relevant training courses to join a pit crew. To supplement your education, prospective crew members should get involved in local racing and work their way up to bigger circuits.
If you’re enthralled by the idea of joining an F1 pit crew, we’re going to break down everything you need to know. We’ll discuss which people are suited to a pit crew career path, the different crew roles, the necessary education, gaining experience, as well as F1 salary expectations.
Can Anyone Become An F1 Pit Crew Member?
Formula 1 racers aren’t the only team members setting records. Pit crew teams are constantly breaking pitstop records. In fact, in 2019, Red Bull broke their own 1.88-second pitstop record by completing a pitstop in just 1.82 seconds! These records highlight how quickly these pitstops happen.
Of course, how long a pitstop lasts depends on the aspects of the vehicle that need to be serviced. A vehicle that needs four tires changed will take longer in a pitstop than one that just needs to have two tires replaced. Regardless of this, pitstops are performed in a matter of seconds. Due to these time constraints, Formula One pit crew members need to be fast and agile.
However, this also means pit crew members need to be equally agile and careful when performing their roles. If pit crew members lack these qualities, the driver may lose the race due to the unnecessarily long delays during pitstops. Every member needs to be able to bring their part during these races to ensure their team wins the race.
If you’re considering a career as a pit crew member, you need to be willing to work under these time constraints. However, it’s important to consider that pit crew members don’t just work during races. Ultimately, this means it is not possible to only be a pit crew member.
Formula 1’s pit crew members also hold full-time jobs as part of their racing team. These permanent positions include mechanics, truck drivers, and engine fitters. Only the pit crew chief holds a permanent pit crew role. As a result, you won’t simply find a job listing looking for F1 pit crew members – so, how do you join the pit crew?
There are various aspects to consider when joining a pit crew. Firstly, you’ll need the appropriate education. The second aspect is the necessary expertise to be a part of these teams. However, endurance and physicality are also of the utmost importance for members of these teams.
Later in this article, we’ll examine these aspects in more detail. However, before we explain the specifics of this, it’s crucial that you understand the various roles that comprise a pit crew. After all, your dream is to fill one of these positions!
Understanding Formula 1’s Pit Crew Roles
While Formula 1 drivers receive much recognition from fans, pit crew members play a vital role. The successes of F1 drivers would not be possible without a dedicated pit crew backing these racers. For those looking to become one of these crew members, it’s important to understand the various roles and how these members work together.
Generally, a pit crew will be comprised of around twenty members. This number tends to fluctuate due to routine regulation changes. For instance, the need for a refueling member hasn’t been needed for more than a decade. In 2010, refueling midrace was banned.
Similarly, it wasn’t always possible for an F1 vehicle to start up like a normal car. Due to this, a starter man was needed on the pit crew. However, since 2014, regulation changes have dictated that drivers be able to start their vehicles from the cockpit. Despite this, there are still plenty of pit crew roles to consider!
F1 Pit Crew Chief
Formula One pit crews are led by a crew chief, who is the highest-paid member of the pit crew. This role entails creating the best strategy for an F1 team. However, crew chiefs do more than lead their teams: they’re also responsible for filling the various roles on their crew.
F1 Pit Crew Tire Changers
Besides the crew chief, tire changers play one of the most vital roles of any pit crew member. Each F1 pit crew will have four tire changers, who are responsible for handling tire changers during F1 races. The chief gets to decide which tires will go on the car, while tire carriers assist tire changers during races.
F1 Pit Crew Tire Carriers
On F1 pit crews, there are eight tire carriers that assist tire changers during races. These crew members help ensure that tires are safely changed before a driver gets back onto the track. Four tire carriers will handle old tires that have been removed, while the remaining four handle the replacement tries.
F1 Pit Crew Jack Men
Pit crews also have two jackmen, one for the rear and one for the front. These members are responsible for lifting vehicles during pitstops and then safely leveling the vehicles before a driver resumes the race.
F1 Pit Crew Wing Men
Crew members who adjust the wing angles on a racer’s vehicle are called wingmen. These wing angles are adjusted to provide more or less downforce where needed. In the event that a vehicle’s front wing sustains damage during a race, the wingmen will be responsible for replacing this during a pitstop.
F1 Pit Crew Stabilizer
Pit crews generally have two stabilizers. These members are responsible for establishing a driver’s vehicle on each side, as well as the middle of the vehicle.
F1 Pit Crew Lollipop Man
Each crew will have one lollipop man, who gives the signal for a vehicle to be released. This member is responsible for ensuring there’s a safe gap in the pit lane for the driver.
F1 Pit Crew Fire Extinguisher
This is perhaps the most self-explanatory role on a pit crew. As the title suggests, the fire extinguisher member is responsible for dealing with any potential fires during races.
The Track To Becoming An F1 Pit Crew Member
Now that we’ve outlined the current roles on F1 pit crews, it’s time to look at the specifics of joining these crews. There are three different aspects to consider here: education, experience, and endurance. Firstly, let’s consider the education prospective pit crew members will require.
You must enroll in a specialized pit crew training program to become a crew member. Many institutions offer these courses, which cater to practical experience that will adequately prepare students for fulfilling careers in the motorsport industry. In this career field, you will benefit from focusing on STEM subjects.
However, if you truly want to join a world-class Formula 1 pit crew, sticking to traditional studies isn’t enough. Prospective pit crew members will need to seize every opportunity to better their automotive skillset and expertise. However, you may be wondering about how to find these opportunities.
A good place to start in this regard is finding local racetracks that regularly host events. There are various ways you can take part in motorsport starting at a local level. For one, having experience as a racer at these tracks can provide valuable insight into the motorsport industry.
Of course, to join a pit crew, you’ll also want to see what happens behind the scenes. By joining a local racetrack, you can gain valuable experience that will take you far on your journey to becoming an F1 pit crew member. This type of experience will greatly complement your education by putting your automotive expertise to use!
Ultimately, those looking to become F1 pit crew members will need to work their way up through the industry. This will mean starting with smaller teams while keeping your eyes on your goal of joining a Formula 1 team. With experience in this industry, you’ll be able to truly hone your skills to prepare for bigger racing teams. You’ll also make plenty of industry connections along the way.
Finally, let’s consider endurance. Being part of a pit crew is a physically demanding job. As we mentioned earlier, pit stops are often completed in minutes, which truly speaks to the demanding nature of these jobs.
Those contemplating this career path need to ensure they have the appropriate strength and endurance. After all, work shifts for pit crew members will range between 12 and 15-hour shifts – not to mention the traveling involved with this career!
In the fast-paced world of motorsport, there are countless opportunities for those with an appetite for adrenaline. You can find much success in this field if you have the right education, experience, training, and connections. By focusing on each of these aspects, you’ll be able to work your way up to Formula 1’s world-class pit crews.
How Much Do Formula 1 Pit Crew Members Earn?
In this section, we’re going to break down how much Formula 1 pit crew members earn on average. Of course, this is an important aspect to consider before joining a prospective career field. For F1 pit crew members, there are three aspects to consider here: salary per race, annual salary, and race-winning bonuses.
If you’re considering a career as a pit crew member, these salary and bonus estimations will give you a better understanding of what to expect! However, it’s important to note that these are only estimations based on available data. Ultimately, payrolls tend to differ between F1 teams. So, how much do pit crew members earn on average?
Pit Crew Chief
A Formula 1 crew chief will generally earn $10,000 per race, which amounts to an estimated $1 million annual salary. As we mentioned, this is the highest salary of all pit crew members. Furthermore, crew chiefs earn around $5000 per race that is won.
Pit Crew Tire Changers
On average, F1 tire changers make around $5,000 per race, which amounts to a yearly salary of around $350,000. Should the team win the race, tire changers will receive a bonus of around $2500.
Pit Crew Tire Carriers
Tire carriers typically earn around $3500 per race, which amounts to an annual salary of around $270,000. When a race is won, tire carriers receive a bonus like that of the tire changers. Generally, this bonus is around $2500.
Pit Crew Jack Men
Formula 1 jackmen earn an estimated $3000 per race. In one year, jackmen earn around $150,000. For races that are won, jackmen will receive an estimated bonus of $500.
Pit Crew Wing Men
The wingmen on a pit crew also earn around $3000 per race, which also results in an annual salary of around $150,000. The race bonus received by wingmen is typically the same as that of the jackmen, which is an estimated $500 per race that’s won.
Pit Crew Stabilizer
Formula 1 pit crew stabilizers generally earn $2500 per race, which amounts to $90,000 annually. Should their team win, stabilizers will receive an estimated bonus of $250 per race.
Pit Crew Lollipop Man
Lollipop men on F1 pit crews generally take home $1500 per race. Generally, lollipop men earn $70,000 per year. The race bonus for lollipop men on pit crews tends to be around $250.
Pit Crew Fire Extinguisher
The pit crew member responsible for extinguishing fires earns around $500 per race. Per year, this amounts to an annual salary of $30,000. Once again, the winning bonus is estimated to be $250 per race that’s won.
Becoming a Formula One pit crew member requires a lot of hard work and dedication. To become a member of an F1 pit crew, you will need the appropriate education and experience working on smaller race circuits. Then, once you work your way up to bigger circuits, you’ll have the required expertise to join a Formula One pit crew.