Ferrari says poor pits stops caused by wheel nut issue

© XPB 

Ferrari says its sub-optimal track record regarding its pit stops this season is rooted in a wheel nut issue that the Italian outfit is working to fix for next season.

The Scuderia's crews have struggled multiple times this year to swap tyres under the 3.5-second average benchmark that constitutes the reference for a swift pitstop in normal conditions.

In last weekend's Sakhir Grand Prix, Sebastian Vettel suffered another slow tyre rotation, but the German driver put the blame on Ferrari's equipment rather than on his crew's pit work.

Diego Ioverno, the Scuderia Vehicle Operation engineer shed some light on the issue that has weighed this season on the team's tyre changes.

"It’s true that the number of stops over 3.5 seconds is too high by the Scuderia’s past standards, but the vast majority of times that there has been a less than optimal stop, it has been down to a specific problem linked to the wheel nut," said Ioverno.

"The thread is not strong enough and so the nut has stripped several times. It’s a reliability problem we are working hard on to fix for next year."

Ioverno admitted that the wheel nut issue has impacted Ferrari's mechanics but while a fix is in the works, the team also needs to improve its pit stop skills all round for next season.

"When the guys feel, even unconsciously, that they are using a component that is more at risk, with a margin of error for engaging the wheel-gun that is much smaller, that has a negative effect on the whole procedure," he said.

"That can be seen from the fact that for us, an average time for a good pit stop is 2.73 seconds, which means there is room for improvement there too.

"It should be pointed out that our pit crew is relatively new as part of the significant changes we have introduced over the past two years, both for the crew itself and on the organisational side.

"The best teams are the ones that have used the same crew for several years.

"Apart from reliability, we also need to work on this area, both through specific training sessions and psychological and physical training and that will be another priority over the winter in preparation for 2021."

Gallery: The beautiful wives and girlfriends of F1 drivers

Keep up to date with all the F1 news via Facebook and Twitter