Zhou’s F1 Australian GP Start from Pitlane Due to Front Wing Damage

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Zhou set for F1 Australian GP pitlane start after damaging front wing

Zhou encountered a setback during his qualifying run at Albert Park on Saturday when he damaged the left-hand side of his front wing on the exit kerbs of Turn 10. This mishap occurred on his final flying lap, causing the main plane to crack and the endplate to detach.

Initially, Zhou appeared to be on pace to compete for a spot in Q2, showing a similar performance to his teammate Valtteri Bottas who progressed. However, due to the unfortunate incident, the Chinese driver ended up qualifying in the 19th and final position, with Logan Sargeant of Williams withdrawing.

Sauber has confirmed that Zhou had to revert to a previous front wing specification since the team did not have any spare units of the new wing available in Australia. This change violates parc fermé regulations, resulting in Zhou being slated to start Sunday’s race from the pit lane.

Zhou Guanyu
Zhou Guanyu (Credits: Guanyu)

Reflecting on the incident, Zhou expressed confusion regarding the wing failure, stating that he followed the usual racing line through Turn 10 without making any mistakes.

He noted that the issue arose suddenly, causing him to lose control in the final sector of the lap. Despite the setback, Zhou acknowledged that his performance up to that point had been promising.

The new front wing, although not significantly enhancing performance, was aimed at improving the car’s balance, particularly addressing rear-end instability, which has plagued the Swiss team’s one-lap pace throughout the weekend.

Zhou emphasized that while the wing adjustment didn’t result in a noticeable performance boost, it aimed to provide a more consistent balance for the car.

Teammate Bottas also weighed in on the new wing, describing it as not having any magical effects. He highlighted that the team still grappled with rear stability at high speeds, an aspect they needed to continue working on. However, he acknowledged that the new wing offered slight improvements in load and grip.

Dana Phio

By Dana Phio

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