F1 team’s embarrassing two-day pitstop explained

It was the pitstop that should have taken two seconds. Maybe three seconds if it was slow.

Instead, it took two days and cost Valtteri Bottas a podium finish at the Monaco Grand Prix.

Mercedes has confirmed the stuck front tyre that forced Bottas to retire last weekend has finally been removed.

The team has released a short video of a mechanic working on the car after it arrived back at the factory on Tuesday morning, with the recalcitrant wheel finally freed.

Bottas was left with no choice but to retire when the wheel became stuck during a pitstop in Monaco, costing him a likely second place finish behind Max Verstappen.

The airgun stripped the nut, making it impossible to remove the wheel.

Mercedes finally remove stuck Bottas tyre

Formula One regulations state that a driver must use two different tyre compounds during a race. Without the ability to change the front right tyre the team had no choice but to retire the car.

“The whole process is one and a half seconds, that’s it,” said Mercedes head of strategy James Vowles.

“That’s the process of removing a nut, changing a wheel and refitting the new nut.

“As a result of that, as I am sure you can tell, the margin for error is very small and if just the slightest problem happens, it slows the stop down or potentially, in an absolute disastrous case, this happens.”

Vowles confirmed the team had found the cause of the problem.

“The gun is an incredibly powerful gun, such that you can actually see the mechanics having to restrain themselves, holding themselves to the ground, otherwise they get rotated with it at the same time.

“Now, what happened is we came in slightly angled, so when the socket was now connected to the nut, it slightly angled relative to it and as a result of that, now instead of distributing the load across all of the nut it was across a small section and that tore the metal clean off and in fact all of the metal was now removed from the nut.

“As a result of that, the nut was in place and we were unable to remove it.

“Clearly, it’s a circumstance that cost Valtteri dearly and cost the team dearly and one that we are going to put steps in place to mitigate.”

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