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Cable blamed for qualifying timing chaos

NEWS STORY
27/07/2009

A "damaged cable" was the cause of the timing system failure that caused confusion at the end of Saturday's qualifying session.

In the closing moments of the all-important session timing screens in the pitlane, paddock and even on Formula1.com, went blank, leaving fans, team personnel and even drivers unaware of who had grabbed pole.

Drivers stood in Parc Ferme comparing times, and when Fernando Alonso told Jenson Button that - according to the display on his cockpit - he had crossed the line in 1:21.569, the Englishman responded, "f****** hell," thereby unofficially confirming the Spaniard's first pole since Monza 2007.

Yesterday, Formula One Management issued a brief statement confirming that the lack of information was due to a damaged cable, but that all the information is stored and was never in danger of being lost.

"In the closing minutes of the third part of the Formula One Qualifying session the finish line sensor suffered a mechanical failure in the form of a damaged cable," read the statement. "Standard procedures were followed and the back-up sensor used. Once the verification procedures were complete the full results were published. At no time was any timing data lost."

That said, qualifying wasn't the only glitch with the system over the weekend. On Saturday morning there was no official weather information available via the live timing system, while on Friday morning it was discovered that if timing screens were held in front of a mirror upside down they showed what looked like a ghostly image of F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone standing alongside noted occultist Aleister Crowley.

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