Oscar Piastri, McLaren, Monaco, 2024

Damage from “very small” Sainz contact initially cost up to 0.5s per lap – McLaren

Formula 1

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McLaren said the contact between Carlos Sainz Jnr and Oscar Piastri at the start of the race did enough damage to cost their driver half a second per lap.

They estimate they were able to recover half of that damage through the repairs they made when the race was stopped.

Sainz clipped the right-hand side of Piastri’s car as they rounded Sainte Devote on the first lap. “I definitely felt the touch at turn one and at that part of the car, it’s such a sensitive part,” said Piastri.

The race was stopped for almost three-quarters of an hour due to a crash between Sergio Perez and the two Haas drivers shortly after the start. That played into McLaren’s hands, said Piastri.

“The team told me how much downforce I was losing before we tried to fix it and it was a pretty big number,” he said. “I don’t know what we managed to get it down to but obviously the length of the red flag helped us out quite a lot there.”

Despite his team’s repair job, Piastri wasn’t able to maintain the pace of his closest rivals at the end of the race.

“Being in Monaco, it’s probably the one track where having damage doesn’t hurt you as much,” he said. “It was a very, very small touch.

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“But with these cars, especially with the floor being so sensitive to the downforce it generates, it can ruin your race very easily. So I was very happy we could try and fix it.”

McLaren team principal Andrea Stella said the team’s repair work halved the initial performance loss Piastri suffered from the original contact.

“As soon as the collision happened we observed the 20 points [of downforce] down, which here in Monaco is about half a second. But then, thanks to the red flag, we were in condition to make some repairs to the floor.

“The side wing of the floor was broken so we repaired it, we didn’t fix it entirely and we changed the sidepod that was broken as well. So overall the deficit was about 10 points for the entire race, which is a couple of tenths, maybe two-tenths and a half.

“That obviously made us a bit more nervous about the possibility to keep the tyres in a good situation, in a good condition, because the car was a little damaged. But Oscar managed to do that and ultimately the damage was, not influential for the final result.”

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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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7 comments on “Damage from “very small” Sainz contact initially cost up to 0.5s per lap – McLaren”

  1. Señor Sjon
    27th May 2024, 13:32

    You guys ran 10s off qualy pace. That half a second was never used. Even without wings, you could keep it on track at that pace.

    1. It might have played a rather insignificant role in Leclerc building a gap towards the end. But as you mention nothing that would have changed the race most likely

      1. Except when downforce goes down, tire wear goes up.

        1. Sure. But at this race, he was never going to get past Leclerc nor was anyone going to pass him regardless of whether the tyres or the car were in somewhat rough shape.

  2. 0.5 sec / lap? Even if it was 5 sec / lap it would have been hard to lose 2nd at the pace they were going.

    1. My thoughts exactly. There is no relevance what race pace was possible. All was decided on Saturday

  3. Interesting that they didn’t tell the driver how much damage he was still carrying after the repairs… “the car’s perfect mate, get on with it”

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