Sainz hoping McLaren solve pit stop 'weakness' and cooling issues ahead of home race

NORTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 02: Carlos Sainz of Spain driving the (55) McLaren F1 Team MCL35

Carlos Sainz says he is hoping for a "normal weekend" in his final home Grand Prix with McLaren at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya after poor pit stops cost him at Silverstone, in Hungary and at Styria.

A slow stop at Silverstone last time out cost Sainz “five, six seconds” as he sat in the pits waiting for a tyre to be changed and then had to stamp on the brakes to avoid an unsafe release on his way to a P13 finish. Prior to that, traffic in the pits cost him positions in Hungary, as Nicholas Latifi was released into his path, and in the Styrian GP a slow pit stop also hampered him.

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“We’ve had technical failures, we’ve had human error, we’ve had bad luck like in Hungary in traffic, and a technical error that we had in last week with a sensor breaking down – we’ve had all kinds of issues and now it’s time to solve them and get ourselves in the right path with the pitstops,” said Sainz ahead of his home Grand Prix.

“We’ve spotted this weakness and it’s probably cost us quite a lot of points in the championship… So I’m sure Andreas Seidl [Team Principal] and the team is putting a lot of effort in trying to improve this.”

Styrian Grand Prix: Slow pit stop costs Carlos Sainz

Furthermore, Sainz was put on the back foot going into the second race at Silverstone because McLaren had to open up some of the bodywork on his MCL35 to aid cooling in the sweltering temperatures, which affects aerodynamic performance. It is an issue that Sainz said remains a “question mark” ahead of the Spanish Grand Prix.

“We’re putting everything in place this weekend to try and solve the issue,” continued Sainz. “From my side I can tell you I was not happy about last week and carrying deficit into qualifying and the race, which made my life a bit difficult.

BARCELONA, SPAIN - FEBRUARY 19: Carlos Sainz of Spain driving the (55) McLaren F1 Team MCL35

Sainz is hoping that pitstops don't hold him back at his home Grand Prix, where he has finished in the top 10 in every one of his F1 appearances since beginning in 2015

“At the same time, at the end of the day, the team is trying to put everything they can together to try and solve this issue. We are not sure if I am going to have it or not tomorrow; we are sure we are trying to solve it as much as we can. Let’s see, let’s see, it’s a bit of a question mark, I don’t know the answer yet.”

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After finishing sixth overall in 2019, Sainz is 11th in the championship this season and hoping for a change in fortune having rued his luck over the first five rounds of 2020 that also included a tyre issue in the dying moments of the British Grand Prix which dropped him from fourth to 13th.

“We need to switch the engine on, go on track and see if the problem is solved. I’m hopeful after changing so much stuff that this is going to go away and I can have a normal weekend,” he concluded.


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