Ferrari takes blame for Sainz’s pit stop blunder during Dutch GP

Ferrari takes blame for Sainz's pit stop blunder during Dutch GP

Ferrari has revealed that Carlos Sainz was not to blame for the terrible first pit stop that occurred during the Dutch Grand Prix.

Sainz was running third in the early stages of the race until the Scuderia’s pit wall prematurely called him to pit on lap 14 of 72. This decision was made in a heat of the moment in response to Red Bull’s Sergio Perez finishing his own first stint.

While the Spaniard managed to rush into the pitlane in a hurry, repairing the #55 Ferrari was a completely different story. A furious Sainz was forced to sit still for a painful 12.7 seconds as Ferrari’s crews botched their execution, which resulted in their driver restarting the race in P11.

Inaki Rueda, Ferrari’s head of race strategy, clarified 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.”

The late call threw the team’s coordinated effort slightly out of sync, but Rueda also pointed to the pitlane’s constrained space as a contributing factor.

“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.”

Unfortunately, Sainz’s troubles didn’t end there as the Spaniard later received a five-second time penalty for an unsafe release in front of Fernando Alonso’s Alpine following his pit stop during the safety car period. In light of the situation, Sainz thought the penalty was unfair.

“By the time they released me, it was clearly safe with Fernando,” Sainz 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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