Mercedes F1 reveals video of Bottas wheel removal

Mercedes has published a video removing the stuck right front wheel from Valtteri Bottas' Formula 1 car after the Finn’s retirement in Monaco, which it finally managed to do two days after the race.

Mercedes F1 reveals video of Bottas wheel removal
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The team released a short video clip showing a mechanic working on the car in the Brackley factory on Tuesday morning, shortly after the transporters returned.

The wheel became stuck after Bottas pitted during the race and the nut was stripped by the airgun, making it impossible to remove.

Rather than work further on the car on Sunday night the team opted to save the job for the return to the UK.

In an earlier video Q&A Mercedes head of strategy James Vowles noted that problems at stops were not unusual, given the fine margins involved.

"The whole process is one and a half seconds, that’s it,” said Vowles. "That’s the process of removing a nut, changing a wheel and refitting the new nut.

"As a result of that, as I am sure you can tell, the margin for error is very small and if just the slightest problem happens, it slows the stop down or potentially, in an absolute disastrous case, this happens.”

 

Vowles explained that the Monaco problem occurred because the wheelgun was presented at a slight angle, and that the issue would be addressed for future races.

"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,” he noted.

"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.

"Now, 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 and one that we are going to put steps in place to mitigate.”

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Vowles said Mercedes initially tried to remove the wheel in its Monaco garage, but then decided to wait until the car was returned to Brackley, so it could use specialised equipment and investigate the issue.

"Ultimately there we concluded that to remove that nut we were going to need some fairly heavy equipment and specialist equipment and that would be better done here in the factory," he added.

"More so, it allows us an opportunity to do an autopsy on it to understand really how that nut was worn and gather some clues to allow us to do a better job going forward in the future."

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