Ferrari strategist explains Sainz pit stop blunder at Zandvoort

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Ferrari has detailed why Carlos Sainz's disastrous first pit stop in the Dutch Grand Prix went so wrong through no fault of the Spaniard.

Sainz was running third in the opening stages of the race when a belated call from the Scuderia's pitwall ordered him to pit on lap 14 of 72, a heat-of-the-moment decision taken in response to Red Bull's Sergio Perez ending his own first stint.

While the Spaniard was able to dart in extremis into the pitlane, servicing the #55 Ferrari was another issue altogether.

A fuming Sainz remained stationary for an excruciating 12.7 seconds as Ferrari's crews fumbled their execution, which led to their driver rejoining the race in P11.

Ferrari's head of race strategy Inaki Rueda explained what went wrong.

"The pit stop call usually has two factors: one is the call [from] us to the driver, and the other one is our call to our crew," Rueda explained in Ferrari’s Dutch Grand Prix debrief video.

"The call to the driver in this case came at the right time. Carlos had no problem coming into the box. He knew he was coming in and he had enough time to make the pit lane.

"The call to the pit crew usually comes around 23 to 24 seconds [before the pit stop], but in this case, because we were reacting to Perez, it came later.

"We only gave our pit crew 17 seconds to react! Our pit crew need this time to come out into the location and be ready when the driver comes.

"We have our gunmen, the tyre removers come out, and the tyre fitters come – crucially – through the pit stop area."


While the team's coordinated effort was slightly out of sync due to the late call, Rueda singled out the tight confinement of Zandvoort's pitlane as another factor that came into play.

"In this case, Carlos came in a bit earlier than usual," he continued.

"The front-left tyre fitter managed to squeeze in between the front wing and the front jack, but the rear-left tyre fitter did not manage to get by.

"To make matters worse, at Zandvoort we have a very narrow pit lane, and this meant that the rear-left tyre fitter had to go around the whole pit crew to make it eventually to his corner.

"That’s why you saw that all the three other corners had finished before we had a rear-left tyre to be fitted on the car."


Alas, that wasn't the end of Sainz's troubles as the Spaniard was handed a five-second time penalty later in the race for an unsafe release in front of the Alpine of Fernando Alonso after his pitstop during the safety car period.

Sainz considered the sanction unfair given the circumstances.

"By the time they released me, it was clearly safe with Fernando," he said after the race.

"But then I had to hit the brakes to [not] hit the McLaren mechanic that ran into my exit line. It was this braking that generated the unsafe release.

"I was frustrated by it because I thought I'd saved someone's life and not generated a dangerous situation."

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