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Red Bull's F1 team have completed a zero gravity pit stop
But think of the poor video team. Red Bull just upped its stunt game 33,000 feet
“Aston Martin Red Bull Racing needed a new challenge after three record-breaking pit stops this season,” reads the bumf. That challenge? To perform a pit stop in zero gravity. The old ‘can a Formula 1 car drive upside down?’ question has been thoroughly trumped.
Red Bull’s team are no strangers to a big ol’ stunt for video, of course, and this one took even more prep than usual. The kind of prep that involves decamping to a Russian space complex to start readying themselves for a pit stop on an actual 2005-vintage F1 car inside an actual Ilyushin Il-76 MDK plane at 33,000 actual feet.
“Over the course of a week, 16 pit crew members took a crash course in cosmonaut training in preparation for multiple Zero-G flights in the plane’s fuselage along with the F1 car and a ten-strong film crew,” aforementioned bumf continues.
The time limit applied to the pit stop was 20 seconds – a generous 18.18 seconds longer than Red Bull’s 1.82sec record set during the 2019 season – to allow for the slightly higher difficulty level.
Rather than travel all the way to space – a tad extravagant even for Red Bull – the plane flew in a serious of ascents and descents, climbing at a 45-degree angle before falling in a ballistic arc. That created a 22sec period of near weightlessness for the team to not only attempt the pit stop, but for a ten-strong film crew to capture it.
The whole car needed to float to make it happen, too, but naturally had to be secured before and after each attempt with everyone clearing the deck seconds before the weightlessness ended to avoid being clouted by a winglet or wheel. Frantic, huh?
“Each filming take was around 15 seconds and provided the most physically and technically demanding activity the live demo team has ever undertaken,” the bumf concludes. Given Red Bull’s wealthy back catalogue of gob-smacking promo videos, that’s a stocky claim…