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Sauber offered Bottas public apology after Aussie GP pitstop slipup

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Sauber team representative Alessandro Alunni Bravi emphasized the importance of apologizing to Valtteri Bottas for the team’s repeated pit stop issues.

Bottas was on the receiving end of a hardware problem during a tyre change in Bahrain and again last weekend in Australia when a wheelnut went astray and led to a catastrophic 30-second stop.

Adding insult to injury, the problem undermined the Finn’s hopes of securing a points finish in Melbourne.

Sauber says its poor pitstop operations – which also impacted Zhou Guanyu’s race in Jeddah – are linked to a hardware issue that the Swiss is working hard to remedy.

Nevertheless, Alunni Bravi felt compelled to apologise to Bottas during the Finn’s cool-down lap after last weekend’s race at Albert Park.

"It is important, because in three races we had three problems with the pitstop, also the second with Valtteri," explained Alunni Bravi, quoted by Motorsport.com.

"For me, it is important when we have a problem that we show to our drivers that we are together, that we work together. We always say that we win or we lose together, but this is even more important in this situation.

"And Valtteri did a strong race. And we want him to be motivated strongly at all the grands prix. And I think it was the minimum for us to say sorry.

"As I say to all the team, we need to take the responsibility when things are not going in the right direction, and to work together to improve.

"I want to say that we come back with some positives this weekend. Of course, everything has been compromised by these issues. We need to work really hard, because this was another missed opportunity."

In Australia, Bottas made clear that a 30-second stop was “unacceptable”, while the repetitious nature of the issue was equally frustrating.

"It's tough," he said. "It's not like points are easy to get this year. So I think we lost an opportunity there.

"But it just shows that obviously, we haven't 100% fixed the issue with the stops. All I know is that we're working on it, and we just need to find the fix as quickly as possible.

"We should have been in the top 10, especially considering that there were carbon bits here and there, and cars DNF'ing."

Alunni Bravi noted that a minor silver lining regarding Sauber’s race in Melbourne was Bottas’ race pace.

"Valtteri showed that he has the pace to fight with Fernando [Alonso] at the beginning of the race," he said. "And he was with the same race pace as [Yuki] Tsunoda.

"This is the positive that we can take out from the race. And in terms of tyre degradation, we had a very strong first stint.

"We cannot consider the second one, because Valtteri at that point was lapped after the pitstop, and so the blue flags of course affected his consistency.

"So we know that we have this problem, we are working to fix it. It's very painful for all the team because both in terms of car performance and also execution during this weekend from qualifying to the race we have been stronger, and we will be stronger in Suzuka."

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The post Sauber offered Bottas public apology after Aussie GP pitstop slipup appeared first on F1i.com.

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