Antonio Giovinazzi, Alfa Romeo, Circuit de Catalunya, 2021

Luckless Giovinazzi laments ‘s*** race’ as team explains bizarre pit stop problem

2021 Spanish Grand Prix

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Antonio Giovinazzi rued another luckless race after a bizarre problem during a pit stop ruined his Spanish Grand Prix.

Alfa Romeo brought Giovinazzi in during the Safety Car period. However as his mechanics began to fit his new front-left tyre to the car, they discovered it was flat.

The team was forced to switch from his sole remaining new set of medium tyres to an old set. Adding insult to injury, Giovinazzi was unable to rejoin the rear of the field when the race restarted as an error on his dash display meant he was incorrectly instructed to follow the Safety Car delta time.

“My steering wheel was not working behind the Safety Car because it was still [showing] the delta to follow,” Giovinazzi explained.

“So when I start after the green flag I was 10 second behind. So just a shit race from beginning to the end.”

Giovinazzi said gambling on a pit stop under the Safety Car was “a good thing to do, but in the end we lost 45 seconds on a pit stop.”

Alfa Romeo discovered a valve on Giovinazzi’s wheel had become damaged, allowing air to escape. “The valve got damaged and [there] was no way to solve it at that point, there was no way back,” said the team’s head of track engineering Xevi Pujolar.

The tyre was correctly inflated when the race began, he added, but lost air at some point before Giovinazzi’s pit stop on lap eight.

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“We have got a monitoring system. I just saw now that it was okay when the race started, but at some point in the garage, then it went wrong, I think a couple of laps before before the pit stop.”

“For sure it is an area that we can improve,” he added. “That should not happen.

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

The puncture compromised Giovinazzi’s strategy, leading the team to fit a used set of soft tyres at his final pit stop (pictured). That and the time lost behind the Safety Car cost Giovinazzi a chance to score Alfa Romeo’s first points of the season, Pujolar believes.

“We wanted to have the two mediums, that was the plan with that the strategy. And I think it would have been fighting for the points because he would’ve been very well-positioned on what we could do with the tyres with two mediums. But anyway, it is what it is.”

Alfa Romeo have since identified the cause of the valve fault. “We know what went wrong and it will be fixed for the next race,” said Pujolar.

Giovinazzi has been plagued by misfortune over the opening races of the new season. He lost seven seconds with a slow pit stop in Bahrain, and was forced to make an extra pit stop in the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix to clear debris from his radiators.

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2021 Spanish Grand Prix

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
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Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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10 comments on “Luckless Giovinazzi laments ‘s*** race’ as team explains bizarre pit stop problem”

  1. isthatglock21
    10th May 2021, 19:16

    He seems like a nice guy but needs to watch himself. I thought everyone last year kinda agreed that he only held onto his seat largely based on the his nationality at the Ferrari/Fiat higher ups stepped in to save him. Always seemed like Ferrari really wanted Mick in this seat & Callum Illot in the Haas to develop their driver academy talents.

  2. On the commentary Martin Brundle said that he couldn’t recall a single instance where a tyre was punctured/deflated BEFORE being put on the car.

    Can Racefans staff or readers remember such an incident before this one? Very bizarre thing to occur.

    Reply moderated
    1. @arcada I remeber seeing something similar happening in Le Mans but never in F1.

  3. We have got a monitoring system. I just saw now that it was okay when the race started, but at some point in the garage, then it went wrong, I think a couple of laps before before the pit stop.”

    So a monitoring system but not one to monitor it..
    Come on.

    1. @erikje come on indeed. Toni Cuquerella works in the Spanish broadcast, and the first thing he said was something along the lines of “if you bring out the wheels for a pit stop and then discover one of them is flat, someone wasn’t doing his job”.

      P.S: My clumsy fingers mistakenly clicked on the “Report comment” button, if any admin sees this… sorry!

  4. Could have been worse, if he had been in the lead at Monaco.

  5. As a driver there are things that are your responsibility and things that are the responsibility of others, and this faulty tyre valve is an example where something went wrong that wasn’t your responsibility. I think Antonio should have had a more positive attitude about this. I wouldn’t go as far as saying it was a great day, but he could have presented this as an example of great team work because the back up systems did work. The person putting the tyre onto the car checked it and discovered it was deflated, the person in charge of changing tyres then ordered the removal of all that set of tyres and the fitting of a standby set of Antonio’s tyres. Yes, this outcome wasn’t desirable, but when he drove out of the pitlane he had a legal set of tyres on and he didn’t receive any penalties because of this problem. It could easily have been he departed the pits with a deflated tyre or a not-legal set of tyres fitted to the car. My guess is someone didn’t use the old trick of putting some [water with some detergent in it] onto the valve.
    Having the incorrect information on the steering wheel display wasn’t his fault too. At the least he wasn’t being told he could go faster than the rules allowed.
    As it was, he finished ahead of Fernando Alonso. I don’t know why that was, but to me that is another positive.

  6. Alfa Romeo seem to be having the most bizarre run of misfortune this season. They could have had points in double figures by now if not for poor luck.

    At this stage I wouldn’t be surprised if one of their cars gets destroyed in Monaco parc ferme by having a piano fall on it or something.

    1. At this stage I wouldn’t be surprised if one of their cars gets destroyed in Monaco parc ferme by having a piano fall on it or something.

      Hahaha that’s gold.

  7. AlphaTauri fan
    11th May 2021, 17:47

    Xevi, a good craftsman never blames his tools.

    Although the deflated tyre was unfortunate, you had the chance to see it thanks to the TPMS sensor.

    Also, the dash excuse for GIO following the delta time is not acceptable. Race Engineer should inform him when he has to follow the delta or not. That’s called being switched on, as a team.

    Again Xevi, a good craftsman never blames his tools.

    Reply moderated

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