“It’s a circumstance that cost Valtteri dearly” – Explaining the Valtteri Bottas pit stop at the Monaco Grand Prix that took Mercedes 44 hours to resolve.
Valtteri Bottas had to retire his Mercedes at Monaco due to a botched-up pit stop. The front-right wheel did not come off, and as revealed by the chief strategist James Vowles, it was primarily due to the driver not landing perfectly on his primary marker.
VB’s car is back home. Cheers for all the helpful suggestions but we’ll take it from here! 💪 pic.twitter.com/41E4GDRbQh
— Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team (@MercedesAMGF1) May 27, 2021
The mechanics, as a result, had to move around, which left little room for the front-right wheel gun operator. As he put the gun on to connect with the wheel nut at an unusual angle, leading to the force not being equally applied on the nut. This led to the metal on the nut being cleaned off, ultimately leading to the old tyre not coming off.
“Our nuts are what we call captive, they are maintained within the wheel and the tyre, so as the wheel comes off the nut goes with it.
“This nut has to hold a wheel to the car such it can cope with 5g forces in braking and laterally as well. It’s a huge amount of force going through the axle and the nut and clearly, we can never have it coming loose. So, 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.
“It’s an impact force and what happens is the nut typically loosens in four or five impacts against it, a hammering action.
“What happened is we came on 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. One that we are going to put steps in place to mitigate.”