Red Bull Racing Performs World's First Zero Gravity Pit Stop

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Because the pressures of a Formula 1 race aren't enough.

Anyone that follows Formula 1 will know that as much as the driver is responsible for what happens on the track, the team of engineers behind the scenes are equally as responsible for ensuring a win. The same can be said of the pit crew: when something goes wrong during a pit stop, it can be catastrophic. But it's these same crews that can save split seconds where they count, and they're an integral part of race strategy. So Aston Martin Red Bull - the Formula 1 team with heavy engineering ties to the Aston Martin Valkyrie - are right to be proud of their pit crew after they changed Max Verstappen's tires in just 1.82 seconds at the 2019 Brazilian Grand Prix. Not content with setting that lightning-quick record, the team has become the first-ever to perform a pit-stop in zero gravity.

With the help of Roscosmos - the Russian state space agency - a group of the team's mechanics loaded a 2005-spec Red Bull RB1 F1 car aboard an Ilyushin Il-76 MDK cosmonaut training plane. They used the 2005 car as the 2019 versions are much wider and would not be able to be used in the confined space of the aircraft.

Once all was loaded, the team filmed the epic attempt over the course of seven days and seven flights. They endured 80 'parabolas' to get the final attempt right - a maneuver in which the plane climbs rapidly at 45 degrees before entering a free-fall 'ballistic arc' at 45 degrees to create the effect of zero gravity. It's not quite the same as performing the pit stop on a Tesla Roadster out in space, but it's pretty damn cool nonetheless.

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Red Bull Racing
Red Bull Racing
Red Bull Racing
Red Bull Racing

Red Bull mechanic, Paul Knight, described the strange sensations of getting used to the maneuver. "The first parabola we did was really quite strange. Climbing at 2G, with twice your normal body weight, feels like being planted into the ground and you struggle to move. Then that sensation reverses when you go over the top and into freefall."

He also said the team was a little awkward at first. "We were all a bit like Bambi-on-ice at first - legs everywhere. But we figured out how to hold ourselves and the best way to deal with the sensations."

Red Bull Racing
Red Bull Racing
Red Bull Racing
Red Bull Racing

The unique attempt was a world first and adds yet another accolade to the team's list of achievements. You can be sure that a team willing to go to these extremes are likely to produce some phenomenal road cars with this sort of innovation behind the Aston Martin Valkyrie and Valhalla. Maybe we'll soon see an Aston Martin starring in its own space-bound adventure like Porsche.

Red Bull Racing
Red Bull Racing
Red Bull Racing

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