Bottas wheel nut still stuck on Mercedes car after pitstop issue

Mercedes will only be able to remove the wheel nut from Valtteri Bottas’s Formula 1 car upon returning to its factory after his race-ending pitstop issue in Monaco.

Listen to this article

Bottas ran second through the opening stint of Sunday’s Monaco Grand Prix, sitting five seconds behind leader Max Verstappen when he came into the pits on Lap 30 to change tyres.

But Mercedes was unable to get the front-right tyre off Bottas’s car, leaving him stuck in the pits. Despite the team’s best efforts, it was forced to retire the car, bringing the Finnish driver’s day to an early end.

Mercedes technical director James Allison explained how the nut had become machined to the axle by the wheel gun, causing it to get stuck.

“If we don’t quite get the pitstop gun cleanly on the nut, then it can chip away at the driving faces of the nut,” Allison said.

“We call it machining the nut. It is a bit like when you take a Phillips head screwdriver, and you don’t get it squarely in the cross of the screwdriver.

“You start to round off the driving face of the screwdriver slots, and then you just simply can’t take the screw out of whatever it is you are trying to take it out of because you have no longer got the driving faces.

“A very similar thing happens with our pitstop nuts if the gun starts spinning and chipping off the driving faces of the wheel nut.

“Given the power of the gun, you can end up with no driving face and you just machine the nut down to a place where there is nothing left to grab a hold of, and that is what we had today.”

Allison revealed that Mercedes was unable to get the wheel nut off the car at all, requiring a high-power drill to make the removal back at the factory.

“We eventually didn’t get the wheel off, it is sat in our garage with the wheel still on it,” Allison said.

“It will have to be ground off, get a Dremel out and painfully slice through the remnants of the wheel nut. We will do that back at the factory.”

Read Also:

Bottas’s retirement cost Mercedes a likely podium finish in Monaco, allowing Red Bull to move into the lead of the constructors’ championship by one point after Lewis Hamilton could only finish seventh.

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff said that there were “many factors” that contributed to the issue, refusing to put it down to a single error.

“We need to review the design, we need to review the material of our wheel nut, because the mechanics that operate the wheel nuts need to do it in a way that you can’t machine it off,” Wolff said.

“And as a matter of fact, a mechanic that did that is one of the best, and one of the fittest in terms of pitstop speed, that the team has.

“So there are always things coming together. It’s never someone’s fault, it’s always multi-faceted.”

Mercedes' wheel nut design

Wheel nut design on Valtteri Bottas' Mercedes F1 W12

Wheel nut design on Valtteri Bottas' Mercedes F1 W12

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

The wheel nut design on the Mercedes (pictured above) is not like those fitted on road cars.

Instead, it is custom built and is dome shaped. It features two vertical extensions that are captured by the wheel gun to rotate the nut on and off.

It was these extensions that were machined off during the Bottas stop and meant the gun had nothing to grab on to.

shares
comments

Related video

Leclerc driveshaft issue may be unrelated to Q3 crash - Ferrari
Previous article

Leclerc driveshaft issue may be unrelated to Q3 crash - Ferrari

Next article

The seven reasons why Monaco 2021 wasn’t a better F1 race

The seven reasons why Monaco 2021 wasn’t a better F1 race
Who were the fastest drivers in F1 2022? Prime

Who were the fastest drivers in F1 2022?

Who was the fastest driver in 2022? Everyone has an opinion, but what does the stopwatch say? Obviously, differing car performance has an effect on ultimate laptime – but it’s the relative speed of each car/driver package that’s fascinating and enlightening says ALEX KALINAUCKAS

Nico Hulkenberg: Why F1's nearly man is refreshed and ready for his return Prime

Nico Hulkenberg: Why F1's nearly man is refreshed and ready for his return

He has more starts without a podium than anyone else in Formula 1 world championship history, but Nico Hulkenberg is back for one more shot with Haas. After spending three years on the sidelines, the revitalised German is aiming to prove to his new team what the F1 grid has been missing.

Formula 1
Jan 29, 2023
Why Vasseur relishes 'feeling the pressure' as Ferrari's F1 boss Prime

Why Vasseur relishes 'feeling the pressure' as Ferrari's F1 boss

OPINION: Fred Vasseur has spent only a few weeks as team principal for the Ferrari Formula 1 team, but is already intent on taking the Scuderia back to the very top. And despite it being arguably the most demanding job in motorsport, the Frenchman is relishing the challenge

Formula 1
Jan 27, 2023
The crucial tech changes F1 teams must adapt to in 2023 Prime

The crucial tech changes F1 teams must adapt to in 2023

Changes to the regulations for season two of Formula 1's ground-effects era aim to smooth out last year’s troubles and shut down loopholes. But what areas have been targeted, and what impact will this have?

Formula 1
Jan 26, 2023
Are these the 50 quickest drivers in F1 history? Prime

Are these the 50 quickest drivers in F1 history?

Who are the quickest drivers in Formula 1 history? Luke Smith asked a jury of experienced and international panel of experts and F1 insiders. Some of them have worked closely with F1’s fastest-ever drivers – so who better to vote on our all-time top 50? We’re talking all-out speed here rather than size of trophy cabinet, so the results may surprise you…

Formula 1
Jan 25, 2023
One easy way the FIA could instantly improve F1 Prime

One easy way the FIA could instantly improve F1

OPINION: During what is traditionally a very quiet time of year in the Formula 1 news cycle, FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem has been generating headlines. He’s been commenting on massive topics in a championship that loves them, but also addressing necessary smaller changes too. Here we suggest a further refinement that would be a big boon to fans

Formula 1
Jan 24, 2023
How can McLaren keep hold of Norris? Prime

How can McLaren keep hold of Norris?

Lando Norris is no longer the young cheeky-chappy at McLaren; he’s now the established ace. And F1's big guns will come calling if the team can’t give him a competitive car. Here's what the team needs to do to retain its prize asset

Formula 1
Jan 24, 2023
What difference did F1's fastest pitstops of 2022 make? Prime

What difference did F1's fastest pitstops of 2022 make?

While a quick pitstop can make all the difference to the outcome of a Formula 1 race, most team managers say consistency is more important than pure speed. MATT KEW analyses the fastest pitstops from last season to see which ones – if any – made a genuine impact

Formula 1
Jan 23, 2023