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Sauber to address F1 pit issues after second disastrous stop

The Sauber Formula 1 team is working to resolve its pit stop issues after both of its drivers lost time in the first two races of the season.

Valtteri Bottas, Stake F1 Team Kick Sauber C44, leaves his pit box after a stop

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

Valtteri Bottas lost almost 50 seconds at his second stop in the Bahrain GP with a cross-threading issue at the front axle. 

In last weekend’s Saudi Arabian race, Zhou Guanyu was delayed by a similar problem for around 25 seconds when he pitted.

The Chinese driver was one of only four drivers not to have stopped when the safety car came out, and despite having to deal with some cooling issues he was on course to finish 11th.

Team representative Alessandro Alunni Bravi confirmed that the team is working on addressing the problem.

"First of all, for me, it's very important to say that was not the mistake of our mechanics or crew, they are doing a really good job,” the Italian told Autosport.

“We know that we have a problem, we have an issue that has been the same in Bahrain on Valtteri's car, and this time on Zhou's car.

“So we have investigated, and we are working to fix this problem as soon as possible. And we are revising the parts in order to not have this problem again in the next races.”

Zhou Guanyu, Stake F1 Team Kick Sauber C44 in the pit lane

Zhou Guanyu, Stake F1 Team Kick Sauber C44 in the pit lane

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

In an attempt to produce quicker stops this year, the team made changes which will now be reviewed.

"We have new equipment, we have a new design of all the parts,” said Alunni Bravi. “Of course, there is something that needs to be improved.

“And we are working in all the areas with a 360-degree approach in order to have a consistent pit stop, a quick pit stop, but also to not have any kind of problem.

"For us, it's crucial now because we have had this problem in the last two races. So we cannot afford to have an issue during the races, because the potential of the car is there to fight for the points.

“And we have of course jeopardised this opportunity both in Bahrain and in Jeddah because of an issue. It's something on our side that we have investigated, and we are working to fix."

Racing director Xevi Pujolar agreed that the pit stop issue is an essential task for the team before the next race in Australia.

“I think it's clear that still we're not where we want to be,” he said. “And we need to do some further changes for Melbourne. Because we are too fragile, I would say.

Valtteri Bottas, Stake F1 Team Kick Sauber C44

Valtteri Bottas, Stake F1 Team Kick Sauber C44

Photo by: Steven Tee / Motorsport Images



“It's nothing wrong with the crew, with mechanics, they are doing I would say a reasonable job. But we had a problem again. So we just need to now investigate and try to come up with some containment for the next race, just to be more robust.

“We are causing a cross thread. And it takes time because we have to change the wheel nut.”

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