Zhou Guanyu, Sauber, Albert Park, 2024

Sauber apologise to drivers after another botched pit stop leads to fine

Formula 1

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The Sauber team apologised to their drivers after suffering more problems during their pit stops in today’s Australian Grand Prix.

Valtteri Bottas and Zhou Guanyu had pit stops ruined by slow wheel changes due to problems with wheel nuts during the first two races of the season. Sauber put fixes in place for this weekend’s race in Melbourne but saw no end to their difficulties.

“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,” said team representative Alessandro Alunni Bravi.

“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.”

The cause of Bottas’ problem was not identical to previous cases, he said. “What happened to Valtteri is a slightly different, but linked, issue compared to what happened in Bahrain or Saudi Arabia, but one for which we paid a really high price and that completely ruined Valtteri’s race.”

Compounding Sauber’s frustration, the stewards fined them €5,000 (£4,300) for dropping a wheel nut into the fast lane of the pits.

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

Bottas, who was running 10th until a 30-second pit stop dropped him to last, said the problems were “not acceptable.”

“We know we have work to do on those,” he told the official F1 channel. “It’s frustrating because I think we had good pace, good start. Should have ideally got points today with the performance we had. So it’s tough. We obviously haven’t solved the issue yet that we have so that’s what we need to keep working on.”

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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...

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14 comments on “Sauber apologise to drivers after another botched pit stop leads to fine”

  1. Yeah, there REALLY need to solve this ASAP.

  2. One race is acceptable, while two is already a stretch, & three definitely unacceptable on this level.

    1. @jerejj … And isn’t this the first time it happened twice? So even going the wrong way (unless I remember wrong, which is definitely a possibility)

    2. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
      24th March 2024, 15:01

      They have had 4 now. Zhou also had an awful stop this race. They are just making sure they are treating both drivers equally ;)

  3. Every time Bottas drives into the pits, I fear for him having a mishap.

  4. Their sponsors have taken things too far. A pitstop isn’t supposed to a random roulette..

    1. Lol good one! They are literally kicking the tyres during pitstops.

  5. They are really making their case here. Three races, zero points. Botched stops at every event. A driver who has fully embraced his meme-status, and another who is a nice enough guy but not anything noteworthy in F1 terms.

    FOM made it clear being competitive for podiums and wins was a requirement for Andretti, and look at these guys… all that experience and this is the best they can do. Although to their credit, at least they had two cars – unlike one of the other teams that hadn’t scored a single point in all three races.

  6. Everything will be better when Audi take over.
    It’s all part of the plan.

  7. Dumpster fire but we can’t allow Andretti to have a team.

    1. Thanks. Thought that also, and even more so for Williams! 3rd race and no spare tub! And won’t have a spare for the NEXT TWO races?
      Let Andretti in and at least the team will be run in a professional manner!

  8. Wondering about Sauber’s pit stop practices (earlier in the race weekends)…

  9. The entire paddock starts to look at Sauber during their pit stops – will they? will they not? And poor Bottas and Zhou … they have started to dread the words “Box Box Box”. Won’t surprise me if both of them just start bolting on hards and complete the races without any tyre changes. They would still finish higher up the order instead of the current quagmire.

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