Formula 1 Racing

Sauber’s F1 pitstop issues may not be fixed until after China

Valtteri Bottas, Stake F1 Team Kick Sauber

The Sauber squad has arrived at Suzuka for this weekend’s 2024 Japanese GP after pitstop issues blighted each of its showings in the opening three rounds of the new season.

The problem concerns wheelnuts getting crossthreaded during changes, which meant the team made adjustments to its procedures for the Melbourne round last time out.

But a reoccurrence of the problem at Bottas’s first stop there meant it ran to nearly 30s and a successful second service for the Finn in Australia was then undermined by a wheelnut rolling across the pitlane and Sauber being fined €5000.

Sauber team representative Alessandro Alunni Bravi had said ahead of the Suzuka race that the team had been working “day and night back at base in Hinwil to resolve our pitstop issues”, which Bottas explained meant “progress” on “modifications made to the procedure and some of the materials that we could [use]”.

“Some measures have been taken, but it’s not still 100% fixed unfortunately,” he replied when asked by if he was still expecting Sauber to face further pitstop issues at Suzuka.

“But, again, the chance of having an issue should be lower. Basically, it is an issue that we didn’t know before the season that it would be an issue and it’s not a quick fix.

“But there is a 100% fix planned hopefully for China. Still not 100% sure. But here, extra measures have been taken on that.”

Valtteri Bottas, Stake F1 Team Kick Sauber

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

Bottas also said Sauber had “apologised, which is fair” for his delayed stop in Melbourne, which he felt cost a shot to score the team’s first points of 2024.

“But we’re in this together,” he added. “I was disappointed, but the whole team was disappointed because these things shouldn’t happen.

“So, we’re definitely taking it seriously and it is a priority now to get that sorted.”

As the pitstop issues are set to continue being a concern for Sauber for at least the short-term, Bottas reckons it would be a confidence booster for the team’s pit crew to have consistent services in Suzuka, even if that meant slower stops overall.

“For sure, I’ll be hoping for a clean weekend,” he explained.

“Even if we don’t need to have the fastest pitstops but can be consistent this weekend – that would be important.

“But I think it will also be important for the pit crew to have clean stops. For the confidence and…

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