Stake F1’s glaring admission with crippling pit stop troubles expected to continue

Michelle Foster
Valtteri Bottas leaves the pits

Sauber have had wheelnut issues in all three races

Stake F1 could be in for more pit stop woes with Xevi Pujolar admitting they need more “robust” modifications after another 30s stop for Valtteri Bottas in Australia.

At the start of a season in which Stake F1 are desperately fighting to score a single point, the Hinwil team’s efforts have been blighted by lengthy pit stops.

Stake F1 had wheel-nut issues in all three Grands Prix

While Bottas was delayed in the pits at the season-opening race in Bahrain due to a wheel-nut issue, his team-mate Zhou Guanyu suffered the same fate in Saudi Arabia.

But despite the team making changes ahead of the Australian Grand Prix, another 31.18s stop for Bottas means it’s evident Stake F1 issues have not been resolved.

“From the first race, we found some issues with pit stops, with the cross-thread,” trackside engineer Pujolar said. “It’s something that we don’t find when we do free practice, or even during the winter, we didn’t find a problem.

“But then every time we go into a race situation it becomes more critical. We took some containment this week, some small modifications. It’s not robust enough, and we had one pit stop issue.

“As long as we have this issue, it becomes very difficult for us. It’s not the problem with the crew, the crew are doing everything correctly.

“We’ve got a problem with the hardware, and we need just to make sure that we have got time to find that solution and the parts and we’ll try to fix it for Suzuka.”

Pujolar confirmed that the parts Stake F1 need to change come from an outside source and will take time to produce. “The final solution will take a bit longer,” he said.

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The updated Drivers’ and Constructors’ standings after the Australian GP

Stake F1 apologise to drivers after pit stop troubles

Stake F1 have yet to score a single point this season with team representative Alessandro Alunni Bravi apologising for letting Bottas and Zhou down.

“First of all, we need to apologise to our drivers, especially to Valtteri, who in the first part of the race showed he could match the top 10 drivers and was clearly fighting for a points finish, thanks to a good start and strong pace,” he said.

“As we said before the race, we had implemented mitigation measures for our pit stop issue, something that has improved the situation but, as we have seen, not completely solved the problem.

“As a team, we need to take our responsibilities when these things happen. It’s the only way we can improve.”

The team’s Australian GP frustrations were compounded as they were fined €5,000 for dropping a wheel nut into the fast lane of the pits.

After investigating the matter the stewards ruled that “the team lost control of a wheelnut during a pitstop causing a potentially dangerous condition in the pit lane during the race,” and imposed the fine.

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