Tight pit lane “part of the challenge” say McLaren as Sainz blames them for penalty

2022 Dutch Grand Prix

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Carlos Sainz Jnr blamed a McLaren mechanic for an incident in the pits which led to him receiving a five-second time penalty after the Dutch Grand Prix.

However McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl said the difficulty of dealing with Zandvoort’s unusually tight pit lane is part of the challenge of racing there.

The stewards penalised Sainz after ruling Ferrari sent him out of his pit box too close to Fernando Alonso’s approaching Alpine during the Safety Car period at the end of the race. However Sainz insisted he was released in good time, but then had to slow when a crew member from McLaren appeared in front of him.

“I had to brake because a McLaren [mechanic] ran in my way,” he said. “You need to analyse every situation.

“By the time I was released by the mechanics, Fernando was really far behind. The problem is that then there was this McLaren guy with a jack running into my driving line and I had to brake and I didn’t get the pit exit right.

“But is it my fault, is it my team’s fault? No. It is some guy with a jack at McLaren that ran into my driving line and I had to hit the brakes.”

Sainz also accused Alonso of making the incident look worse than it was. “I’m pretty sure also Fernando exaggerated a bit the [risk of] hitting me and all that to try and get me a penalty,” he said.

George Russell, Mercedes and Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Circuit Zandvoort, 2022
Gallery: 2022 Dutch Grand Prix in pictures
Other series made allowances for the cramped pit lane, one of the shortest F1 uses, last weekend. Formula 2 introduced a one-off rule change forbidding drivers from making their mandatory pit stops during Safety Car periods to reduce congestion in the pits.

F1 did not make any such alterations to its rules. Seidl said it’s up to the teams to ensure they carry out their pit stops safely in the limited space available.

“It is a tight pit lane which also brings some challenges with it,” he said. “But at the same time I think probably all of the teams managed well today.

“Of course, let’s say this brings a bit of uncertainty into the game, this tight pit lane, because you might end up having pit stops that are definitely a bit slower than other cars that, for example, are also lucky and can do a pit stop without anyone around. But it’s part of the challenge – it’s not just this track like this.”

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2022 Dutch Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...
Claire Cottingham
Claire has worked in motorsport for much of her career, covering a broad mix of championships including Formula One, Formula E, the BTCC, British...

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5 comments on “Tight pit lane “part of the challenge” say McLaren as Sainz blames them for penalty”

  1. Yeah, the pitlane was tight for everyone. I get that Sainz was frustrated and was thinking of trying to blame everyone else for the exit. His mechanics might have released him in time ahead of Alonso, but that doesn’t mean he can just blame the team ahead also pitting for crossing into the “fast lane” when there’s another car already there (Alonso).

    And what to think about the Ferrari guys leaving their gun out there lying around where Perez had a tough job not damaging his car by running over it!

    The pitlane here is tight, it’s part of the things that are part of the track which was OKed by the FIA and Formula1. But that is the same for everyone and it is just part of what they have to count on when racing.

    1. Safety car driving through pitlane is always going to mean traffic for release except for cars having a clear gap. Always a risk to drop a few places in such situation and can actually be anticipated given the position of the cars and the boxes.

  2. Jelle van der Meer (@)
    5th September 2022, 13:57

    Sainz should watch the whole pitstop again and then blame his own pitcrew not Mclaren.
    It was a Ferrari guy standing somewhere he shouldn’t almost being hit by Norris and after almost being hit by Sainz.

    There is absolutely no blame on Mclaren pitcrew, they worked well within their area and did nothing wrong.

    This is the 2nd race in a row where Ferrari is quick to blame the wrong person. In Spa they blamed Max by saying it was his tear off that ruined Leclerc’s race while in fact it was the tear off from Lance Stroll.
    Yesterday it was a Ferrari person and Ferrari pitstop approach as well maybe Sainz driving that caused the too slow departure from his pitstop and in doing so forcing Alonso to slow down => that is unsafe release => penalty.

    1. @jelle-van-der-meer they didn’t blame Verstappen for the tear-off at all. They only said it was Verstappen’s tear-off. That’s not blaming. That’s pointing facts.

      1. @spafrancorchamps It’s not pointing facts if it’s wrong though is it? It wasn’t verstappen’s tear-off, it was Stroll’s

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