‘No way’ freak Alfa pit stop should have happened

Date published: May 9 2021 - Henry Valantine

Antonio Giovinazzi Spain 2021 PA

Alfa Romeo have bemoaned the issue that caused Antonio Giovinazzi’s 35-second pit stop at the Spanish Grand Prix.

The team had tried to take advantage of the early Safety Car period by bringing the Italian into the pits, but a quick-thinking mechanic spotted one of the tyres appeared to have a puncture, so the team had to grab a whole new set to fit to his car.

That process meant Giovinazzi was stationary for much longer than he had hoped, leaving him needing to catch the pack again after the Safety Car had come back into the pit lane.

Alfa’s head of trackside engineering, Xevi Pujolar, told Autosport: “It was just an operational problem in that the valve got damaged and there was no way to solve it at that point. There was no way back.

“Picking up the set at one point, when getting everything ready in the garage, that damaged the valve.

“We have a monitoring system and they saw it was okay when the race started but then at some point in the garage it went wrong, and that came a couple of laps before the pit-stop.

“We should have been able to recover because it was a Safety Car, so if then we hadn’t had the other problem with the dash then I think we were pretty much there at the back of the group.”

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The Italian driver eventually recovered and split the Williams duo of George Russell and Nicholas Latifi in P15 at the end of the race, but Pujolar believes points would have been possible had his pit-stop issue not occurred in the early stages of the race.

In a race that saw a tight midfield battle throughout, that problem in the pits could have cost the Hinwil team a chance to get more points on the board in the Constructors’ Championship.

“We wanted to have the two [sets of] mediums, that was the plan with the strategy,” Pujolar added. “I think we would have been fighting for points because he would have been very well in position in what we could do with the tyres.

“But it is what it is. We know what went wrong and it will be fixed for the next race.”

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