Lance Stroll sustained front damage that led to him suffering severe tyre graining causing his pace to dramatically drop off during the Turkish Grand Prix, Racing Point has revealed.
Stroll secured a shock maiden pole position in Saturday’s qualifying session and led the opening laps comfortably from team-mate Sergio Perez.
Building a lead to at one point over 10 seconds, Stroll began to report he was suffering with understeer and graining on Lap 17.
The Canadian’s pace immediately began to fade, with Perez closing the gap to under a second. Racing Point opted to pit Stroll for a fresh set of intermediates on Lap 36, dropping him to fourth place.
However, the problem worsened, resulting in Stroll falling down the order and eventually finishing ninth, while Perez, who stayed out, clinched his first podium of the season.
Following post-race analysis, Racing Point found a loose strake had lodged itself on the underside of the front wing, causing Stroll to lose front downforce.
The team noticed a loss of downforce on the data, but having not spotted any visible damage to the top of the wing, wasn’t sure the data was correct given the low-grip conditions.
“During the team’s routine post-race car set down, we discovered damage to the underside of Lance Stroll’s front wing that was a significant contributor to the graining issues he experienced during his 2nd and 3rd stints on the intermediate tyres at the Turkish Grand Prix,” Racing Point explained on social media.
“Lance reported poor tyre performance, significant understeer and graining from lap 17 onwards in the race. Pitting for a fresh set of intermediates on lap 36 failed to resolve the problem, with the graining becoming even more severe.
“One of the strakes on the underside of the front wing had come loose and lodged itself in such a way that the blockage caused a significant loss of front downforce. The resultant loss of front downforce contributed to increased levels of graining.
“Data during the race confirmed there was a significant loss of front downforce – but with no visible damage to the top side of the front wing, combined with the low-grip conditions, it was difficult to confirm whether the data was correct.
“It was only after the race, when the car returned to the garage, that the damage and blockage to the underside of the front wing was discovered.”
Racing Point still managed to leapfrog McLaren and Renault in the battle for third in the constructors’ championship, heading into the final three races with a five-point advantage.