Bottas expects permanent solution “by Imola” for Sauber’s F1 pitstop issues

Photo Credit: Sauber
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The Japanese Grand Prix proved to be a better race for Sauber as they didn’t suffer as much from their pitstop issues as in the earlier races, but the team remains pointless so far. Zhou Guanyu retired with gearbox issues, whereas Valtteri Bottas ended P14, partially because the pitstops are still significantly slower than the opposition. Before the race in Suzuka, the team expressed their hope to have a permanent fix before this weekend’s Chinese Grand Prix, but according to Bottas that unfortunately hasn’t been achieved.

“It’s a difficult situation and we shouldn’t be in this situation, but we are and now we need to get it sorted,” the Finn explained.

“There are further modifications for this weekend, but it’s not 100% fixed, so we know it’s not yet our strength for sure. If anything, it can be our weakness, but we’re trying. Let’s hope that things go smoothly now.”

Asked when a permanent solution was expected he stated that it should be there “by Imola”.

In terms of pace the team’s second-to-last position in the constructors’ table is poorly explained, as their performance has been on par with the likes of Haas and RB, Bottas explains.

“We’ve been improving race by race, and that’s because we’ve been bringing bits. In the last two events we’ve been, in terms of pace, very similar to RB and Tsunoda.

“The issues we’ve been having, especially with the pit stops, that’s been masking quite a bit what the actual race results should have been,” the former Mercedes-driver refers to five cars stopping together in lap 23 of the Japanese Grand Prix. A pitstop which saw him dropping two spots immediately, and one more later on due to being undercut by Alpine’s Esteban Ocon.

Photo Credit: Sauber

“For example, in Japan before the first stops, I was ahead of Tsunoda and with similar pace,” Bottas argues for Sauber’s improved pace. “And he finished in 10th. So, I think we haven’t really seen the full potential yet.”

He continues: “We are aware that most likely if we stop at the same time as our competitors, we have a bigger chance of losing the position.

“We’ll try to optimise for that, but hopefully that doesn’t need to be the case. Hopefully, we are getting that consistency and 100% fix in a couple of races.”