Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, Bahrain International Circuit, 2018

Ferrari fined €50,000 for Raikkonen pit error which injured mechanic

2018 Bahrain Grand Prix

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Ferrari has been fined €50,000 for releasing Kimi Raikkonen’s car in an unsafe condition in the pits.

One of the team’s mechanics was injured in the incident, which also led to Raikkonen’s retirement from the race.

Max Verstappen, Lewis Hamilton, Bahrain International Circuit, 2018
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“The stewards reviewed the video of the pit stop of Raikkonen at 19:10 and heard from the team representatives,” they noted. “The stewards determined that the car was released unsafely in breach of Art. 28.13 a). The team released the car in a manner endangering team personnel and causing injury.”

Raikkonen was also sent out of the pits with an unsecured wheel during second practice on Friday. Raikkonen said the circumstances of the two incidents were similar.

“I was told to stop because obviously the rear tyre wasn’t on properly,” he said. “It’s pretty similar what happened earlier, on Friday, but obviously we stopped much earlier.”

The mechanic suffered fractures to his leg, according to Ferrari, and was taken to hospital.

“We chose to take one of our mechanics up onto the podium as a mark of respect to our colleague Francesco who was injured during the pit stop,” said team principal Maurizio Arrivabene. “The whole team hopes he recovers quickly.”

Ferrari’s fine is the largest handed down to the team since Williams were fined €60,000 for an unsafe release incident in 2013.

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Keith Collantine
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49 comments on “Ferrari fined €50,000 for Raikkonen pit error which injured mechanic”

  1. So, is it true that Haas uses the Ferrari pitlight system? If so, after the repeated incidents with it last weekend and this weekend, it looks like they are back to the first introduction of the systems that saw a boatload of failures and Ferrari should get more scrutiny than just paying what doesn’t even make a scratch on their total budget.

  2. Ouch! Hope the mechanic recovers quickly!

    1. Indeed. Wish him a speedy recovery.

  3. Real question here should surely be why Raikkonen was pitted in the first place. Yet another example of Ferrari splitting the strategy at the expense of Raikkonen, in order to test the water for Vettel. Whole incident could have been avoided as it was clear the one-stop was the superior strategy.

  4. Complete rubbish. It was the perfect time for super softs and Vettel would of done so a lap later. Both Ferrari cars would have smashed Merc after that as they were faster all things equal. See earlier how Vettel closed 10 seconds on Hamilton and breezed past him. That was old soft v new soft. It would have been new super soft v old medium so more like 2 seconds a lap. The main thing is the Ferrari mechanic is ok and Ferrari won again.

  5. Ferrari (and all other teams) should be asking the question, ” why is anyone, mechanic of whoever, positioned so that they have a leg in front of a tyre during a pit stop.?” That doesn’t solve the unsafe release issue, but this is basic safety planning and the mechanics should never be in that kind of position.
    Watching the video several times, it is clear, as soon as the car stopped, his leg was in front of the tyre. Not good pit-stop planning.

    1. I agree. Not only was the mechanic standing in line of fire but he had his back towards the car. I’m 100% sure the mechanics are told to never do it but I’d guess it was a simple mistake that this time had dire consequences. Of course the blame is on the system that did not work correctly. But just like if you are changing tires you don’t go under the car unless the car is held up with more than a jack stand. And just like during f1 pitstop you don’t put your feet or body in the path of car unless it is for short moment. Especially when working on the rear tires because the driver has no way of seeing there.

    2. @rekibsn – I think it’s due to the leverage needed to manoeuvre and lift that heavy and bulky tyre. The person in front of the tyre/axle removes the old tyre and moves him and it to safety out of the way, while the person behind the tyre places the new one and moves out.

    3. It’s standard practice. Here’s a pic of a Mercedes pit stop showing the tech on the rear left in virtually the same position:
      https://cdn-2.motorsport.com/static/img/mgl/1600000/1670000/1679000/1679000/1679052/s8/f1-malaysian-gp-2014-nico-rosberg-mercedes-amg-f1-w05-pit-stop.jpg

      1. Charles King: they ALL are ahead of the axle lines. Dangerous.

        The next pit after the incident (iirc) at McLaren showed all new tire handlers behind the axle line, because once the old tire is off, the remover can throw it out of the way and step back, showing he’s clear, and stand ready to assist if needed, but out of the line of fire.

  6. Somehow this fine does not seem enough. Even in light of the amount of points Ferrari lost with this costly error, it still resulted with a crew member in hospital.

    Obviously fans like to see a miraculously quick pit stop and teams are finding ways to shave fractions of a second off each stop. But, at what expense when it goes wrong?

    1. I agree with the both of you guys here @bullmello, @rekibsn, it really seems like someone missed the critical safeguard to make sure that this just cannot happen.

      For me I would prefer having less people around for the pitstops (so that they take longer) and rething safeguards like the lollipop / lights system and when it can go “green” – a 50k fine is less than the worth of the left overs from the VIP buffet for the team.

      1. After the incident I had the thought of a minimum required timed pit stop to slow things down just slightly. Like maybe 3,4, or 5 seconds. Which of course goes against the whole nature of speed and competition and even against my own desire of not adding more regulations if possible. Just a passing thought.

        Less people in the pit lane could be part of the answer. If teams keep having incidents like this it seems highly probable new regulations will come to pass.

        1. I was about to comment the same, I don’t think however it goes against the spirit of racing, it shifts even more the focus to the race track, ultimately it is what matters.

          I personally get nervous when the pitstops happen, and it isn’t a pleasant feeling if I’m honest

        2. MarcSaunders
          9th April 2018, 0:44

          You can do much better. Just stop the car racing and there will be no more accidents … Wait, across the street I just saw a girl breaking her leg due to high heels …

      2. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
        8th April 2018, 23:49

        Yeah definitely not enough for a team like Ferrari and the potential that this accident had.

        1. Oh so the fines should be doled out on a sliding scale now should they? the bigger the team the bigger the penalty?

          Oh where are the cries for consistency now!

          I’m surprised they got a fine at all as the car didn’t actually leave the pitlane. It is all getting a bit silly now with these unsafe release fines/penalties. I don’t really have a problem with fines as they don’t effect the racing but it is all just starting to sound a bit like the FIA going “cher..ching” at the slightest excuse with their hand out.

          1. Asanator: you realize that Piero Ferrari will fish that out of the loose change stuck in his lint trap, right? And the FIA will promptly lose that wiping their butts at the next bathroom break.

            That kind of fine might hurt one of the mechanics, or the kid sweeping the shop; but the rest of the team? Won’t even make a blip.

            The fine was to mollify the fans. The injury to a trained engineer is far more costly, and hopefully will force them to do better. But, until they have a Brit or German running the team, I’m afraid they just won’t.

      3. @bascb: Agree with you. However, F1 is all about showing off technology and competitive achievements. And when it comes to that, few things show off visually as much as having 20 guys perform a perfectly synchronized choreography to fully service a car in less than two seconds.

        NASCAR pit stops, which I think are the next best thing and are also outstanding, still look painfully clumsy and slow in comparison.

        1. Just imagine what innovations teams would come up with if they suddenly had “only” 12 people for the pitstop though @alonshow! We need to keep pushing them into coming up with new things :-)

          At first the pitstops would maybe go down to about 6 seconds, but I am sure that given a year or two, they would again be pushing towards 3 seconds

  7. 1 accident in hundreds of pitstops does not mean we have to re write the rules. The issue was obvious and most the time pit stops are fine. This is good enough. If we change rules for every incident we might as well not have races so everyone is safe.

  8. Alexander barrass
    8th April 2018, 21:55

    More than anything I am disgusted at Raikkonen for submitting nothing more than a glance and the shake of his head towards a fellow team mate. Regardless of his situation he should have had the sportsmanship and humanity to at least go and check on his colleague. Total arrogance that upholds his iceman attitude, and as a father watching with his son who admires this sport and it’s drivers, a great example of the type of people to avoid in life and not become.
    Sickening, vile example of a sports man.

    1. The injured mechanic was being attended to by medical personnel at the time Kimi walked back. Kimi looked over there, and seeing that, decided to enter the garage rather than rubber-necking or hanging out in the pit lane.

  9. It’s ridiculous that F1 feigns concern for safety so much – eliminating refueling, which has allowed these hyper-fast pitstops to evolve to this point. “Surprise”, someone got seriously hurt. It will happen again, and then there will be an interstitial period of people mumbling “maybe we’ll have to do something about it” and years later they’ll change the rules again. No doubt after another few people are hurt.

    *This was inevitable*, and it will happen again. $50,000 is nothing to Ferrari, and it’s telling they didn’t dole out a points fine or something *that actually would give pause to the whole grid*. But at least all of those injuries from refueling have been averted!

  10. Neil (@neilosjames)
    9th April 2018, 0:06

    Obviously the fine is meaningless… the pain for the team comes from the fact that one of their mechanics is in hospital with a broken leg because their system screwed up. That’s the punishment, and that’s what will spur improvements to their methods.

    1. Can you imagine what Montezemolo will say to them on Monday?? He’s gonna rip Arrivabene first, then Wreckonnen’s pit crew. And I’ll the “lollipop man” will get the axes, too.

      Seriously, thus should never have happened. Each air gun man should’ve had his hand/gun in the air in a clear indication he was done. And it was clear the left rear crew weren’t anywhere near done.

      Another point: the only tire handler with a new tire ahead of the wheels was the left rear guy. All others began with new tires BEHIND the axle line. Yet another example of how far Ferrari have fallen since the days of Schumacher.

      1. And your memory has fallen if you think Montezemolo will be opening the can of Whoop*ss back at the factory!

        1. Well, damn. Color me wrong.

          Hopefully, SOMEONE high up the ladder will wade in swinging the banhammer for this.

  11. Can we ban these electronic traffic light release signals now, please? A lollipop man will do. Two unsafe Haas releases, and now a Ferrari mechanic with a broken leg. The FIA seem intent on going overboard to safeguard drivers (i.e. implementation of the halo device), so what about pit crews, crowds, and those on the pit wall?

    1. If you noticed, the very next pit after the incident was McLaren, and they have a light system that went from red to green for each individual position around the car (4 for tires, two other I assume for jacks), and the system won’t go green until all positions report green.

      Ultimately, it still comes down to a human making the decision. Including the decision by the driver to jump the gun.

  12. First, F1 should give the 50K to the wheelman. The fine means nothing to Ferrari and less to F1 so put it where it makes a difference and to make up for the utter disregard that both the governing body and the teams have for the people who work for them and make them rich .
    Someone pointed out that having 17 or so crew members around the car with all of them fighting to save a 1/10 of a second here or there IS a recipe for an accident . I agree .
    Yes ,I know racing will never be completely safe but, should not the powers that be make a race as safe as possible.
    As to Kimi, he has received a lot of criticism for not going over to the injured crew member. I don’t know what he knew or thought and if he knew what happened even though it was in no way his fault he should have gone over to the injured party but, let’s hear him out before we thrash him.
    Bottom line : Ferrari needs to get their system together and their whole pit protocol needs an overhaul ( note that they caused Kimi a race last season by leaving an airgun stuck to a wheel lug as Kimi drove off ) .There can be no excuse for the mistakes they have been making and Haas ,with the Ferrari release lighting, had two unsafe releases last race .This time someone got hurt so it’s time to act .
    Ferrari has to fix itself and F1 has to oversee each team,s methods of securing their pit stops ( what those on the east side of the Atlantic refer to as a “box” ).
    Safety first – its just a sporting event no matter what Hemingway said .

    1. Yes, give the $$$ or some of it, to the wheel-man. He will be out of action for a couple of months and will be nursing that leg for a lot longer. Watching the video was painful and I wasn’t even there.
      While I despise NASCAR, you have to admire the pit-work and the training that the teams do for it. Adding fuel, cleaning the windscreen, servicing the driver, changing four tires with lug-nuts and doing it with only 3 or four guys over the wall. Now that’s entertainment. Not to mention chassis adjustments.
      And how long does it take them to fix a cross-threaded lug nut ….. seconds. Awesome.
      It would be far more exciting to see F1 cut the number of pit-crew members down to say 6 or so. This is F1, you bet they can do it.

  13. I think the mechanic leg was on the wrong spot by the time kimi was released; human error. Best wishes for a speedy recovery

    1. The mechanic was there because he is the one to remove the old tyre and he then moves out of the way, @lucho19 . The problem was that Kimi was released before the old tyre was even removed.

      1. Exact opposite: he who broke his leg had the new tire waiting to go on. The wheel nut wasn’t coming off, so they dropped the rear jack to allow the gun to deliver more torque to remove the nut; and, since the front was done, the guy with the “go” box hit “green”….and, catastrophe.

        1. @texarcana

          Bloody amazing. Why do they even have a greenlight guy if he cant even notice one tyre isnt changed at all…

          1. My gut feeling is that the automated system gives the green light when all tyres are back on and tight. Maybe a false positive as the wheel had not come off yet? Easy to code around as you dont give the green until it detects it has come off first.

          2. Gabriel, Tim Edwards: note that Ferrari had TWO men standing at opposite corners observing the pit stop. Both men had boxes wired into the overhead structure. I can’t be 100% sure what the man in back was for (fire control, maybe?), but the front man was for sure the “lollipop man”; and, from his position, he couldn’t see what was going on with that rear tire (ain’t DVR’s fun?) because they guy who got run over was the one with the new one (the only one handling it ahead of the axle lines), and his body was blocking what the gunman and removal man were doing–obviously he was having trouble removing the nut.

            At this point the front jackman had lowered his end, the.other three gunmen had set back & has the guns in their laps (WHY?? They should’ve raised them over their heads in a clear “I’M DONE” move). Left rear was still struggling, so he instructed the rear jackman to put the tire down (because sometimes this helps the impact wrench loosen a stuck nut by locking the tire and wheel to the ground); at this point, the lollipop man sees the back drop, can’t see the problems left rear gunman is having (because the new tire guy is in the way), and so hits the light.

            Catastrophe.

            Pay attention to the McLaren method: given the copycatting in F1, it’ll be de rigeur in a couple races.

        2. @texarcana – thanks for pointing out that error.

        3. Great explanation Tex A. … Isn’t the driver supposed to keep his foot on the brake for just that reason.?

  14. Once again there is huge inconsistency from the stewards. A 50,000 fine is not even beer money for Ferrari. But a few years ago they were handing out drive-through and grid place penalties for this kind of incident. There have been too many unsafe releases in the immediate past and it’s time tougher penalties were reinstated.

  15. I can understand how mistakes are made or things go wrong when trying to change four tyres in two seconds so it’s not a surprise when these things happen. What I don’t understand is why the drivers keep getting the green light when it’s clear there is a problem. It happened to both Haas cars in Australia, where at least the tyres had been changed but this time they hadn’t even got the original tyre off so why on earth was he given the go signal?

  16. I remember very well Fernando Alonso running into the same situation in the 2006 Chinese GP where the lollipop man gave him the OK to go off and he didn’t because there was a mechanic that is still working on his right rear tyre. He was also under huge pressure from Schumacher in that race and the WDC was also on the line.

    I know that Fernando Alonso tactical intelligence and racing instinct isn’t matched currently by any other driver on the paddock but could Raikkonen have been more cautious and gave it a look that perhaps costs 0.5s since he already know of the recent pitstop failures.

    I saw one of the Haas drivers yesterday doing this, I don’t remember if he it is RoGro or KMag but he gave it a look and didn’t go on the gas even though the car was released and the lights were green.

    1. No, this is not how pitstops work.

      When a driver get’s green light, it is an indiation to him to go. The person controlling the green light is responsible of making sure it is safe to go. This applies to all drivers, including Alonso and Haas drivers.

    2. @tifoso1989 I assume the one in 2006 involved refueling (which would mean pitstops aren’t as rushed as now)?

  17. The Ferrari mechanic was operated OK. He himself confirmed the news by posting a picture on his Instagram account.

  18. Those blaming the light system should understand that the wheel never came off the car, which is probably why green lights showed when the other wheels were put on. I doubt a lollipop person would have done otherwise as they would have seen a wheel on the car and probably assumed it was the new one. The minimal fine probably reflects that this was an odd situation and not just negligence or recklessness.

  19. As F1 is the pinnacle of Motorsport technology, these unsafe releases could be prevented by AI and well placed cameras/sensors well above the car. A computer could easily see that there was a leg right in front of the rear tire and prevented the release. The technology exists and it is not difficult to adapt.

    When 0.1 of a second makes a huge difference in the results adding to poor decisions, the human factor has to be mitigated.

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