Xevi Pujolar explains the problems that Stake F1 Team has with its pit stop, noting that it isn’t an easy or quick fix.

Ever since the start of the 2024 season, the Stake F1 Team has found itself in a problem with its pit stop system. In each of the three rounds in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Australia, at least one driver has been on the receiving end of cross-threading.

Post Saudi Arabia, the Stake F1 Team tried a temporary fix but it seemingly didn’t work 100% as Valtteri Bottas once again had a bad stop. In fact, the team were fined 5,000 euros after a wheel nut came lose and spilled onto the fast lane in the pitlane.

The wheel nut dropped twice in two pit stops, the one time the mechanic managed to catch it but the second time, it spilled onto the fast lane. The only positive from Australia was Zhou Guanyu’s bad stop was not related to their cross-threading problem.

Stake F1 Team’s Pujolar has noted that the issue is the whole system i.e the hub and wheel nut. It is a problem that won’t be fixed soon and they can’t revert to last year’s system considering the changes they have made to the suspension system this year.

Pujolar cleared that they did face issues in their pit stop practice but at that time, it wasn’t clear if it will be this big in race condition. It was taken as normal issue which every team face. This issue means that they won’t know which stop will be good and which won’t.

Here’s what Stake F1 Team’s Pujolar had to say –

Australia happening –

Pujolar: “So we had some issues as I explained last time. From the first race, we found some issues with pit stop, with the cross-thread, 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. The second one with Zhou that we had an issue that was not related to the pitstop, the pitstop itself went okay, it’s just that that car we had gearbox issue during the race which meant that when we went into the pitstop, it went into the anti-stall, the anti-stall didn’t trigger properly, and stalled the engine.

“It looked like we had a pitstop issue, but actually, that was not related to the pit stop itself. Obviously now, for us is, it’s the biggest problem, because in terms of performance, pace, Valtteri could potentially be in the points. But as far as we have this issue, it becomes very difficult for us. And now a meeting with a factory is trying to solve the problem. It’s not the problem with the crew, the crew are doing everything correctly. We’ve got a problem with the hardware, and we need just to make sure that we have got time to find that solution and the parts and we’ll try to fix it for Suzuka.”

Temporary fix didn’t work:

Pujolar: “Yeah. And what we saw in the free practice and pit stop practice we were reasonably confident that actually, today it should be OK. And we did the first pitstop, and I thought, okay, in that’s steady and then…”

What’s the problem, faced before, solutions –

Pujolar: “It’s the whole system, really, the hub and wheel nut. I think I’m afraid the final solution will take a bit longer. If it was as easy as that, because the front suspension everything different with the pullrod, and it doesn’t work. We’ve got external suppliers. But it doesn’t matter, they are complex, it’s not a few days. Regarding issues during practice, we had some, yes. But every year you have some in pit stop practice.”

Less sophisticated technology –

Pujolar: “We need try to continue the development and to find a solution. In Suzuka we’ll have some new parts coming as well. So the performance, we had the front wing here, front wing worked well, in the race, actually, we had one car with a new front wing, one car with the old front wing, and we can see that actually the front wing is working. And for the next race, we’ll have more parts. So more performance. I think we’re going on the right direction, it’s just that we’ve got this issue that we really need to fix as soon as possible.”

Drivers situation –

Pujolar: “For sure it is frustrating for everybody, for the drivers, but the same for us, and for the whole team, you see that the performance is is good, we are there. And for the mechanics, imagine for the mechanics, how every time now, it’s difficult for everybody, but we just need to remain calm, find the positive side of the of the race weekend, and see that we are actually all very close. We have five teams that they can compete for this P6. It’s race three.”

Front wing damage to Guanyu –

Pujolar: “Going a bit too wide on that kerb, it becomes very sever on the oscillations that you have. And we investigated the wing on the other car, did all the checks, and all the analysis, no issues.”

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