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Stake F1 Battles Persistent Wheel Nut Issues

Stake F1 Seeks End to Pit Stop Pitfalls

29/03/2024

Stake F1 targets a lasting fix for wheel nut troubles affecting Bottas and Zhou, as races face disruptions and technical challenges persist.

Stake F1 is hopeful to find a lasting solution to its wheel nut issues that have been spoiling the races for Valtteri Bottas and Guanyu Zhou. Track Engineering Director Xevi Pujolar elaborates on the challenge, noting it only occurs during races. He also expresses concern over the time needed to address this matter.

“From the first race, we encountered issues with pit stops, experiencing lock-ups,” Pujolar detailed. “This was not something we faced during free practice, or even over the winter, as no problems were detected.”

“However, whenever we’re in a race situation, it becomes more critical. We’ve taken steps to mitigate the issue this week, with some minor adjustments. Yet, it’s not sufficiently robust, and we faced a problem during a pit stop.”

“As long as this problem persists, things will be very challenging for us. It’s not a team issue; the team is executing everything correctly. We’re dealing with a hardware problem and need to ensure we have time to find the solution and necessary parts, and we will strive to fix it by Suzuka.”

The engineer confirms the problem involves multiple components: “It’s the entire system. Not the gun, but the hub and the wheel nut. I fear that finding a final solution may take a bit longer.”

Reverting to old equipment isn’t feasible due to changes on the car: “If only it were that simple! With the front pull rod suspension, everything is different, it doesn’t work. We’ve engaged external suppliers. But it’s fine, they are complex, it’s not a matter of days.”

Stake is still “really” unsure of its standing

With these issues, Stake can’t accurately determine where its Sauber C44 stands against its rivals over the course of a race. Pujolar hopes to gain a better understanding when the team competes in races without wheel problems.

“It’s definitely frustrating for everyone, for the drivers. But it’s the same for us, and for the entire team, you see that the performance is there, we are competitive. And for the mechanics, imagine how difficult it is for everyone.”

“We just need to stay calm, find the positives from this weekend, and see that we are all very close. We have five teams battling for this sixth position. It’s only the third race. So, there’s a lot to do. There have been improvements in Australia, but there’s also more to come later.”

“Once we resolve this, with a clean race weekend, we’ll see a better performance and truly understand where we stand. Hopefully, the issue will be resolved by Japan, but there has been a delay in obtaining parts and materials.”

Stake F1 Battles Persistent Wheel Nut Issues. Stake F1 Battles Persistent Wheel Nut Issues

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