Xevi Pujolar says a “radio communication problem” led the jackman to lift Guanyu Zhou’s car, resulting in the Alfa Romeo driver being penalized twice in Saudi Arabia.
Racing at Jeddah’s Corniche Circuit on Sunday night, Zhou was handed a five-second penalty when he passed Alex Albon off the track as the two battled for 15th place.
The Chinese rookie came to serve him in his first pitstop of the night, however, minutes later it appeared he had another penalty, this time a drive-through, for not taking the first penalty.
It turned out that when he stopped, the jackman had lifted the car before dropping it and the team had stopped for all five seconds.
This meant that, according to F1 regulations, the car had been worked on, hence the second penalty.
Alfa Romeo ground engineering manager Pujolar explained that it was the team’s decision to overtake Valtteri Bottas and then Zhou that led to a moment of miscommunication.
“We did a double pit stop and we had a radio communication problem there,” he told The Race.
“That’s why the guy hit the car because you do it with two jacks. The main plug went on the first and the second with the radio communication problem.
“The front jack wasn’t aware it was a five second penalty. That’s why he hit the car.
As for Zhou’s issues in the first corner of the first lap, Pujolar says it was the anti-stall that kicked in.
Battling Daniel Ricciardo for position, Zhou ran up the curb and clipped the McLaren as he shifted gears.
This caused the anti-stall to activate, with the driver falling to the rear of the field.
“For the anti-stall, it’s something we have to do with Zhou,” Pujolar said.
“There’s nothing wrong with the car, he feels the revs are still right but it’s actually not right because it’s too low.
“We have to see what we can do to alleviate this problem in the future, because now it [happened] twice.”
He added: “Maybe it’s just how he feels in this kind of situation, hearing the engine running and when it stalls.
“We need to analyze a little better, in more detail with more time. When he touches the car at some point, maybe it’s falling too low and he didn’t realize it.
“Everything is working as expected but for him it’s just something he has to figure out, but there are different ways to solve this problem and we will see what is the best way to do it for Melbourne.”