Mercedes Still Can’t Remove The Tyre From Bottas’s Car - WTF1
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Mercedes Still Can’t Remove The Tyre From Bottas’s Car

Poor Valtteri Bottas had an absolute shocker yesterday when he pitted from second place at the Monaco Grand Prix. His teammate, Lewis Hamilton, had just completed a successful and quick pit stop, but Bottas wasn’t so lucky. When arriving for his only pit stop, his front-right was totally stuck, and the team couldn’t remove the wheel nut.

Despite their best efforts, including trying a backup wheel gun, the wheel nut was well and truly stuck and could not budge. He was out of the race and lost an almost certain podium finish. It was also the first time this season he looked to finish ahead of Hamilton in a race.

“We need to look at if it is a design issue or whether we just had a catastrophic failure of a few systems which machined the whole map off,” Mercedes Boss told the media yesterday after the race. “There was no part there anymore.”

It turns out that the failure was so bad, the tyre is still on the car. That’s right. Mercedes’ Technical Director James Allison revealed that the car was still sitting in their garage with the wheel still on it.

“We’ll have to get a Dremel out and painfully slice through the remnants of the wheel nut. We will do that back at the factory.”

Absolutely mad.

“It’s a more extreme repeat of a thing we’ve talked about in public before, which is 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. We call it machining of the nut.

“It’s a bit like when you take a Phillips 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 slot, and then you simply can’t take the screw out of whatever it is you’re trying to take it out because you’ve no longer got the driving faces. Very similar things happen with our pitstop nuts.

“If the gun starts spinning and chipping off the driving faces of the wheel nut, then in quite short order, given the violence and power of the gun, then you can end up with no driving faces, and you’ve just machined the nut down to a place where there’s nothing left to grab hold of, and that’s what we had today.”

Either way, it was a disaster day for Mercedes. Not only did they lose a potential P2 for Bottas, Hamilton and the team struggled all weekend which they’ve said they’ll investigate post-Monaco.

With it now being clear that it’s going to be a job for the factory guys back at Brackley, it did appear at one point that Toto Wolff was going to rely on some neighbours down the pitlane to help get this tyre off Valtteri’s car.

“Ferrari is going to help us out with some heavy equipment, either a big hammer or something.”

Every little helps, we guess.

15 thoughts on “Mercedes Still Can’t Remove The Tyre From Bottas’s Car

  • Gareth Howell says:

    Exact same thing happened to a Porsche in the 12h race at Hockenheim on Saturday. Cause was extreme heat from a brake that had worn pad down to metal. Had to be drilled off. Took over an hour.

    • Martijn Wijnands says:

      Ofcourse not. Without a full tyre swap to a different compound (all 4 of them) Bottas would still not be eligable for points as he didnt adhere to the rules in play, all of this besides it being virtually impossible to finish the race on the Soft compound.

    • Nope, one tyre change is mandated by the rules. I assume DQ if not done, could be place penalty.
      If he started on hardship, he could have survived but not o softs that were already heavily worn

  • DarthGrimlock228 says:

    Mercedes have very few bad weekends and you have to capitalise on them. Scary thing is you know by Monday morning they have analyzed what went wrong, how to stop it happening again, likely made a 1000 new nuts, redesigned the wheel gun, added an update to the car and bottas and Hamilton are ready for the fight back. There are not many weekends this happens and max was super lucky not to be looking at the rear of the Ferrari for most of the race. But one thing we all know is redbull has more bad races normally.

  • Paul Harding says:

    It’s wasn’t the tyre, it was the wheel. Please get this right as a motor sport journalist 🤔

  • Ryan Doner says:

    If you’re even comparing your current nut configuration to a Philips screwdriver clearly there’s a problem. Consider using a “Robertson” configuration. Great Canadian invention eh? Might cost you a few milliseconds, but certainly won’t cost you millions of dollars in points.

  • Stuart Walker says:

    Desperately sad to see this happen to Valteri, lets hope he has had all of his bad luck for the rest of the season

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