Stoffel Vandoorne explains McLaren pit-stop incident


McLaren was usnsure as to what caused Vandoorne’s tyre problem. Credit: McLaren Media Centre

McLaren F1 Team driver Stoffel Vandoorne described his Friday practice for the Formula 1 Chinese Grand Prix as “not the smoothest,” as yet another team encountered a problem in a pit-stop.

Towards the end of the second practice session at the Shanghai International Circuit, Vandoorne entered the pit-lane for McLaren to change the Belgian’s tyres in a race-style like stop.

However, as he was approaching Turn 6 on his out-lap, Vandoorne pulled to the side of the track, reporting that the right-rear tyre was not properly attached to the MCL33. 

McLaren was unsure as to what had caused the incident, and launched an investigation. It follows both Haas F1 Team and Scuderia Ferrari also having problems in their pit-stops in Australia and Bahrain.

Speaking after he had finished 14th and missed out on some late wet-weather running, Vandoorne said: “It’s not been the smoothest Friday for us.”

We had a few problems in FP1, and FP2 was not perfect either with the issue in the pit-stop, but I did feel more confident in the car this afternoon.”

Describing the incident late in second practice, Vandoorne explained that “I didn’t feel anything wrong straight away. It was only as I turned into Turn 3 that I felt something happen. 

I looked in the mirror and could see that the right rear wheel was wobbly, so I immediately parked the car as a safety precaution.

Expected occurrence

After the Ferrari incident in Bahrain, where a mechanic broke his leg, there has been calls for longer pit-stops and more human control, but Vandoorne feels that mistakes are just part of the sport.

He said: “Pit-stops are a part of Formula 1, and I think they always will be in some way, but of course we don’t like to see incidents like in Bahrain – we’ve seen a couple of cars park up and it is definitely not what we want – but it happens every now and then.”