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
Load comments
The historic clues that offer hints of Hamilton’s next move Prime

The historic clues that offer hints of Hamilton’s next move

OPINION: Uncertainty over Lewis Hamilton's future has persisted since the race direction call that denied him an eighth world title in Abu Dhabi last month. But while walking away would be understandable, Hamilton has time and again responded well in the face of adversity and possesses all the tools needed to bounce back stronger than ever

Formula 1
Jan 26, 2022
What the FIA must do to restore F1's credibility Prime

What the FIA must do to restore F1's credibility

OPINION: The first stage of the 2022 Formula 1 pre-season is just over a month away, but the championship is still reeling from the controversial results of last year’s finale. The FIA acknowledges F1 has had its reputation dented as a result, so here’s how it could go about putting things right

Formula 1
Jan 25, 2022
The six subplots to watch in 2022 as a new F1 era begins Prime

The six subplots to watch in 2022 as a new F1 era begins

As Formula 1 prepares to begin a new era of technical regulations in 2022, We pick out six other key elements to follow this season

Formula 1
Jan 24, 2022
Why newly-retired Kimi Raikkonen won't miss F1 Prime

Why newly-retired Kimi Raikkonen won't miss F1

After 349 grand prix starts, 46 fastest laps, 21 wins and one world championship, Kimi Raikkonen has finally called time on his F1 career. In an exclusive interview with Motorsport.com on the eve of his final race, he explains his loathing of paddock politics and reflects on how motorsport has changed over the past two decades.

Formula 1
Jan 23, 2022
Unpacking the technical changes behind F1 2022's rules shake-up Prime

Unpacking the technical changes behind F1 2022's rules shake-up

Formula 1 cars will look very different this year as the long-awaited fresh rules finally arrive with the stated aim of improving its quality of racing. We break down what the return of 'ground effect' aerodynamics - and a flurry of other changes besides - means for the teams, and what fans can expect

Formula 1
Jan 21, 2022
Why F1's new era is still dogged by its old world problems Prime

Why F1's new era is still dogged by its old world problems

OPINION: The 2022 Formula 1 season is just weeks away from getting underway, but instead of focusing on what is to come, the attention still remains on what has been – not least the Abu Dhabi title decider controversy. That, plus other key talking points, must be resolved to allow the series to warmly welcome in its new era

Formula 1
Jan 20, 2022
The Schumacher trait that will give Haas hope in F1 2022 Prime

The Schumacher trait that will give Haas hope in F1 2022

Mick Schumacher’s knack of improving during his second season in a championship was a trademark of his junior formula career, so his progress during his rookie Formula 1 campaign with Haas was encouraging. His target now will be to turn that improvement into results as the team hopes to reap the rewards of sacrificing development in 2021

Formula 1
Jan 19, 2022
The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push Prime

The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push

As the driver of Formula 1’s medical car, Alan van der Merwe’s job is to wait – and hope his skills aren’t needed. James Newbold hears from F1’s lesser-known stalwart.

Formula 1
Jan 15, 2022