Formula 1

Three errors caused botched pit stop.

Ferrari admit three mistakes caused mechanic leg-break at Bahrain Grand Prix

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Anyone who has the ability to pause and rewind live sport will undoubtedly have re-watched the moment Ferrari pit-crew member Francesco Cigarini suffered a horrific leg break following a botched pit-stop during the Bahrain F1 Grand Prix. 

During the race, Kimi Raikkonen, well poised to continue his charge for the podium, stopped for a new set of tyres in a scheduled change, but in the 2.5 seconds required for a smooth pit-stop, three key things went wrong, according to RaceFans.

Cigarini was trapped between car and spinning rear wheel when he was hit by Raikkonen's departing Ferrari before the tyre change had been completed. 

Team principal Maurizio Arrivabene said they blamed the Finn's race-ending pit-stop on an unlucky combination of human error, a mechanical fault, and an electronic glitch for the botched stop. 

"We had an internal, accurate investigation because we were hurt about what happened," Maurizio Arrivabene told reporters in Shanghai.

"We have a procedure to ensure that the pit-stops during the race are done in the safest environment," he continued. "In this case, we have three factors: One involves human control, the other involves mechanical, and the other involves electronic device.

"What happened there, we had a mishandling and the rear left was not perfectly read by the electronic device, which then gives the green light.

"We went through all the procedure together with FIA to make sure this kind of thing doesn't happen again. It's in our interest, because we care about our people before anything else."

In a sport dominated by the fusion of human skill and technical wizardry, stopping in the pit lane has become an art-form. The digital 'green light' signal on the pit crews signboard is only activated once eight signals have been received from the wheel guns, the carjacks, and the team's pit-stop controller. Only then may the car leave. 


Unfortunately for Raikkonen, his stop started to go wrong when the rear-left wheel team re-tightened the original wheel meaning that the technology did its job. The wheel gun correctly signaled that the wheel nut was locked and ready to go. 

The car was released while Cigarini and his colleagues tried to remove the wheel and replace it with new a new Pirelli. The human fall-back safety check was missed, as neither jack operator, nor the pit stop controller, picked up on the problem.

In the heat of the moment, human error intervened to prematurely end Raikkonen's race, and to sadly force a long, and undoubtedly painful, period of rehabilitation for Cigarini.

For the following Chinese Grand Prix, Scuderia Ferrari F1 added an additional pit-stop controller to monitor changes at the rear of the car and to prevent the car leaving the pits if necessary.

Formula 1
Kimi Raikkonen

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