New hardware arrival for struggling F1 team set to address major issue

Henry Valantine
Valtteri Bottas leaves the pits F1

Sauber endured wheelnut issues in all of the first three races of 2024.

Sauber’s head of trackside engineering Xevi Pujolar has said they have new hardware to help them address their F1 pit stop issues this season.

Sauber began the season struggling in the pit lane to a significant degree, enduring cross-threaded wheelnuts at each of the first three races of the season to slow their cars down significantly in race trim.

Sauber have new F1 hardware to help solve major pit stop issues

Additional reporting by Thomas Maher

These issues in the pit lane saw Valtteri Bottas stuck in his pit box for almost 30 seconds in the Australian Grand Prix, costing him what was a likely points finish at that stage, after suffering a similar problem in Bahrain and Zhou Guanyu bearing the brunt of it in Saudi Arabia.

While their stops have steadily improved over the course of the season so far, Sauber have yet to trouble the fastest pit stop standings for 2024 – not yet claiming a point in the sponsor-run World Championship for a stop that makes the top 10 quickest in a race.

But Pujolar explained that, with the arrival of new parts, they hope to bring their average time in the pit lane down and improve in a crucial area.

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“We had the hardware update here – the first part of the hardware update, I think we’ll have more things coming,” Pujolar confirmed to media including PlanetF1.com.

“But it was good that at least now we can be back fighting at the pit stops and we can protect positions, so that was encouraging. We had also a floor upgrade, which was another big step, but it also was responding as we expected.

“Obviously, everyone was bringing new parts, and we can see some competitors taking a bit of a step. So we need to just keep working hard and close the gap.”

When asked if the new hardware will give the pit crew full security in the pit lane, Pujolar remained cautious for now, but said that he hopes for Sauber to be able to compete at the higher end of the grid during tyre changes.

“I think in this business, being 100%… there is always something possible, but we try to be better every time, and I think that was a good step,” he responded.

“Now it’s giving us more confidence, we can start to push for performance. We want to be not only safe at the pit stops, but we want to be the top of the pit stop performance, so that can give the crew also the confidence to push more.”

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