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Valtteri Bottas

Bottas on Stake F1 pit stop woes: ‘Hopefully in Japan it will be fully fixed’

A major contributing factor to Stake F1’s slow start to the current season has been an issue with its wheel nuts, consigning the team to average pit stops upwards of six times slower than their rivals.

Bottas Aus Thursday
To news overview © XPBimages

Valtteri Bottas insists “it's nothing that the pit crew is doing wrong” and that there is nothing the Stake F1 pit crew itself needs to change, despite the team being unable to perform stops close to the expected time of two to three seconds.

The Swiss outfit has suffered heavily in the pit lane during the opening three rounds of the F1 season, which included being issued a €5,000 fine for a pit stop infringement by the stewards at the Australian Grand Prix - a race it also failed to score points in.

Speaking with media, including RacingNews365, ahead of the round in Melbourne, the ten-time race winner was asked what needs to be done by Stake F1 and when it could expect a fix for its pit stop issues. Bottas confirmed the team had not achieved a “100% fix” from new components brought to Australia.

“Quite a lot needs to be done,” he conceded.

“We obviously haven't scored yet, which is not ideal. We've got two races compromised by pit stops, which is probably the priority now to get sorted, and that is a work in progress.

“We've now understood that there is a different behaviour in some of the components in the practice that the team did over the winter versus what's happening with the race with different temperatures. So, it's a work in progress on that.”

Expected Melbourne improvements left wanting

That was not enough to meaningfully move the needle on Stake F1’s pit stop times at the Albert Park Circuit, with its average stationary period worse than in the previous round Saudi Arabia – although it was still better than in Bahrain, despite the escaped wheel nut that caused the team’s penalty.

That was not what Bottas had expected heading into the round, before which he felt the team would fare better.

“There will be improvements here [in Australia], but there's also more stuff coming later. So, it's actually not a quick fix, but we should be in a better place here.”

With the F1 field essentially split into two halves, points are already proving hard to come by for the backend of the pack, where Stake F1 finds itself, meaning the slow pit stops are even more critical to fix.

“Once we sort that, with a clean race weekend, then we’ll see with a performance better where we actually are,” the Finnish driver explained, before adding: “Hopefully in Japan it will be fully fixed, but there was a lead time to get some parts and materials."

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