Bottas explains why Sauber is suffering so many pit stop problems in 2024 F1 season

Photo Credit: Sauber
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Along with receiving a €5000 fine, the Sauber Formula One team experienced more terrible pit stops at the Australian Grand Prix.

The team experienced back-to-back slow pit stops this season already. Bottas was had a 50-second pit stop in Bahrain, while Zhou suffered his share of it in Saudi Arabia.

After experiencing two slow pit stops in the previous races, the team flew to Melbourne in an attempt to lower the possibility of slow pit stops. But that wasn’t a success as both Bottas and Zhou suffered long waits in the box during the Grand Prix at Albert Park.

Zhou Guanyu had a 20-second pit stop on lap 35 after Bottas suffered a 30-second one on lap 8.

Bottas opened up about the pit stops issues for the team and stated that they acquired new wheel nuts which are lighter than the previous ones. He added that the Hinwill-based squad never experienced any such issues during their winter testing, only finding out why it’s happening in a race situation.

“With the wheel nuts, we tried to go for a route to make them super lightweight, so the material we are using is the issue,” Bottas stated.

“In pit stop practice over the winter, there was no issues, but we’re seeing that in races when the temperature gets higher because of the brakes, then the wheel nut [has problems].”

During Bottas’s first pit stop in Melbourne, it was seen that the wheel nut was seen flying off the car which doesn’t usually happen. The team was fined 5,000 euros for the flying wheel nut since it rolled on to pit road which was considered a potentially dangerous situation by the stewards.

The Finn stated that the problem is the equipment, not the mechanics.

“It’s more about components, It’s nothing that the pit crew is doing wrong or nothing the pit crew needs to change.”

Sauber racing director Xevi Pujolar stated that these slow pit stops are very costly for the team and they didn’t experience any issues during free practice or during winter testing.

“From the first race, we found some issues with pit stops, with the cross-thread,” he said. “It’s something that we don’t find when we do free practice, or even during the winter, we didn’t find a problem.”

“But then every time we go into a race situation it becomes more critical. We took some containment this week, some small modifications. It’s not robust enough, and we had one pit stop issue.”