F1 is a multi-billion-dollar industry filled to the brim with peak automotive technology. It’s a smorgasbord of carbon fiber, titanium, precision engine management, and a horde of geniuses all paid handsomely to put it all together and win races. All of this might make it seem like the sum of its parts, including its tools, are out of financial reach for everyday consumers.
But that’s not entirely the case, as recently reported by the Torque Test Channel on YouTube. In fact, as its video about the Canadian GP demonstrates, a lot of the tools used in F1 paddocks are common lithium-powered fare that you can pick up right now at places like Amazon.
A common 12V Bosch impact driver is seen in action tightening down some screws on Alpha Tauri’s entry, whereas a DeWalt unit is used by McLaren to fasten what looks like aero or suspension componentry. DeWalt is a major sponsor of the orange-and-black-clad team.
Cordless leaf blowers are widely utilized as well, though not to clear away foliage. They're used to help cool down brakes and radiators. As pointed out by TTC, it looks like most teams utilize Makita units in this instance, even if the brand doesn’t directly sponsor any of them. A ringing endorsement if there ever was one.
What’s cool is that TTC explains why the various tool models and their accompanying batteries are good choices for these various applications. You know, if you’re inclined to really trudge deep into the nerdy thicket. Including McLaren using thicc-boi 15 amp-hour lithium packs for its cooling needs.
Interestingly, based on TTC’s own research, Makita doesn’t always score the highest in terms of actual tool performance, but due to the brand’s massive distribution across the globe, it probably makes sense to use the company's tools just from a practical replacement standpoint. Teams could just go to the local hardware store if a tool or battery died.
There’s plenty of discussion surrounding the ever-crucial and always-entertaining-to-watch impacts that pit crews use to zip wheels on and off. While pneumatic units are still the norm for race-speed pit stops, battery-powered units are starting to permeate through the paddock as well, though more for applications where speed isn’t important, like swapping wheels during practice. One Williams team member was spotted using a Milwaukee 1-inch impact to zip a wheel onto a car. Now when I get my F1 team, I'll know what to buy.
It’s neat to see stuff that’s quite common and often on sale at Home Depot being used in such particularly highly demanding environments. Not everything that an F1 team uses needs to be $1 million and made of carbon fiber, as it turns out.
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