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Whiting to present solution for unsafe releases to teams

NEWS STORY
23/04/2018

In the wake of a spate of incidents in recent races, the worst of which saw a Ferrari mechanic hospitalised, the FIA has been carrying out an investigation into how pit stops might best be made safer.

At the season opener, both Haas cars were eliminated whilst in point scoring positions, having been released with loose wheels. Two weeks later, in Bahrain, Kimi Raikkonen was involved in two incidents, the second of which, during the race, saw him run over one of his crew, while in China McLaren was fined for an incident involving Stoffel Vandoorne.

"We can introduce a few things to improve, to decrease the likelihood of mistakes," Charlie Whiting told the official F1 website. "We have learned something. We need to again analyse things to ensure things that we do, we do it precisely to make sure everyone follows that.

"The challenge is deciding which bits need to be automated and which bits need to be operated by a human," he admits. "I think I have a clear idea on what we might need to do for the future but I will be discussing it with the teams in the coming weeks."

Pit stops, which now regularly see a car fitted with four new wheels in just two seconds, have become one of the sport's wonders, and there are fears that introducing a minimum time or reducing the amount of crew members involved, would compromise the mystique.

On the other hand, the sport doesn't want to risk another incident such as that witnessed in Bahrain.

One of the ideas being put forward is for all teams to use two wheel gun sensors, a practice already in use by a couple of teams - one sensor measuring the torque - thereby confirming whether a wheel has been tightened correctly - and another to monitor the exact position of the wheelnut, a move intended to sense cross threading, the cause of Haas' failures in Melbourne.

"I don't think there's any reason to standardise the system," says Whiting. "We need to make sure among other things that there is no possibility for the guy to give the OK until those two conditions have been met.

"Some teams have a torque sensor on the gun and they have a position sensor. If you only have the torque sensor, you can gun the nut on and it can be cross-threaded and it'll show the required torque but it won't be tight, which is what happened to both Haas cars for example and the McLaren on Friday. So some teams have got that as well as a position sensor, so if it gets to the required torque and it hasn't moved the right amount, then it says it's not done.

"So you're using two sensors in order to tell the operator that it’s actually done up. Then he presses the button, the jack drops and the car goes."

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by elsiebc, 25/04/2018 14:26

"Why does the FIA need to micromanage this? So the teams don't make a mistake? They want to have more variety in race results but they try to legislate out all the variables. All because one mechanic in how many years, how many pitstops, suffers a non life threatening injury. "

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2. Posted by nonickname, 24/04/2018 11:21

"Best would be 2 mechanics per car and tyre change only for safety reasons..punctures or blisters.
Haha no chance."

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3. Posted by ryanhellyer, 24/04/2018 10:13

"I think they should take some inspiration from Indycar, with their pitwalls, fewer pit crew members etc."

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4. Posted by ZJAY, 24/04/2018 1:02

"Just eliminate the pit stop. One tyre one race. Get competition in tyre suppliers. Even better one tyre one season as Bernie sarcastically commented few years ago. "

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5. Posted by Jezzer, 23/04/2018 23:40

"Have one mechanic per car.....big reduction in possibilities for error and big reduction in cost. Just to spice it up a bit a different mechanic at each race."

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6. Posted by ESTM PRFT, 23/04/2018 15:24

"Sounds like it could be a simple solution: Each team should have a torque sensor on the gun and a position sensor. I wonder what the cost impact would be? Doesn't sound like much..."

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