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Bottas and Zhou concede Kick Sauber's pit stop issues still not '100 per cent' fixed as they look to fight for points

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MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 21: Valtteri Bottas of Finland and Stake F1 Team Kick Sauber and Zhou

Kick Sauber drivers Valtteri Bottas and Zhou Guanyu have admitted that the team have not yet completely fixed the pit stop issues that blighted them in the first two races of the season, though both are hopeful that the squad will be in a “better place” at the Australian Grand Prix.

Zhou suffered a slow visit to the pits last time out in Saudi Arabia when a problem occurred with a cross-threaded wheel nut, resulting in the Chinese driver losing time and dropping to the back of the field. This followed on from Bottas experiencing a similar issue at the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix.

READ MORE: ‘It’s a concern’ – Bottas and Zhou hope Kick Sauber can fix ‘critical issue’ after second pit stop error in Jeddah

Both drivers voiced their concerns about the “critical” problem following its reoccurrence in Jeddah, and Bottas explained ahead of the third race of the campaign in Australia that the team have not yet had enough time to fully solve the problem.

“We haven’t fixed the issue 100 per cent because there’s a lead time for certain components and materials that we need, but I think we should be in a better place and I’ll have more confidence coming into the pits this weekend,” said the Finn.

“Fingers crossed everything goes smooth and hopefully that way we can have clean races and fight for points.”

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Valtteri Bottas embracing local culture ahead of Australian Grand Prix

Zhou also voiced his optimism that Kick Sauber will have a better weekend after making some changes to the pit stop tools.

“I think it was clear we need to redesign the whole equipment system for the pit stop crew,” commented Zhou. “Of course, unfortunately, we can’t really redesign right now but we are already making a few adjustments on the wheel nut and the wheel guns and making sure the issue is solved. Fingers crossed we can get it all going.”

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Despite this issue, Zhou is looking forward to the weekend ahead in Melbourne and feels hopeful about what the team can achieve.

“I think we seem to have good race craft as a team, we just need to clean up a little bit the weekend,” he added.

“Obviously the pit stop is the key. Love the track, love the place, the fans and the atmosphere is always one of the best of the year, so really happy and enjoyable coming to Melbourne.”

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Zhou Guanyu suggests Kick Sauber wheel nut issue has been resolved

Bottas is similarly looking forward to racing at the Albert Park Circuit, with the Finn known to be a fan of Australia.

“It’s great to be here and to embrace the Australian culture,” the 10-time race winner said. “There’s so much support, which makes it obviously more enjoyable and every time I come back here I feel there’s more and more support.

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“For sure that’s going to help me this weekend and there’s been fun activities leading up to the Grand Prix and now it’s time to have the proper fun on track.”

Kick Sauber are one of four teams yet to score a point in 2024, putting them in P8 of the constructors’ standings.

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