Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Circuit de Catalunya, 2019

Ferrari claim a “rim issue” caused Vettel’s crash

2019 F1 season

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Ferrari has blamed Sebastian Vettel’s crash during yesterday’s test on a “rim issue” caused by contact with debris.

The team issued a statement on Thursday which stated: “After thorough checks we found that Seb’s off yesterday was due to a rim issue.

“The rim had been damaged a few seconds before by an impact with a foreign object,” the statement added. Ferrari did not indicate what kind of debris Vettel might have hit.

Video footage of the crash showed a shower of sparks from the front of Vettel’s car before it ploughed through a gravel trap. The front-left of the car, where the failure is believed to have occurred, made heavy contact with the barrier.

“Inside the car I was going into turn three and I had a feeling there was an issue with the front-left corner,” Vettel explained yesterday. “And then from there there wasn’t anything I could have done to avoid the impact. I wasn’t in control any more and went more or less straight into the barrier.”

The crash meant Ferrari was unable to run for several hours on Wednesday and only covered a total of 41 laps. The car returned to the track at the end of yesterday’s test and covered 56 laps on Thursday morning.

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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17 comments on “Ferrari claim a “rim issue” caused Vettel’s crash”

  1. Incidentally, the exact same thing happened to Hamilton in 2010 with 2 laps to go in the Spanish GP, with debris getting stuck in the rim and causing a tyre failure at the same corner.

  2. This sounds….odd.

    A mysterious, invisible piece of debris appeared out of nowwhere, hit the car with enough force to damage the rim, then disappeared?

    Surely something capable of doing that kind of dmage would have been large enough to be visible, if not to Vettel (Due to his speed and focus on driving), then to track crews, observers etc?

    And how can they be sure the damage to the rim wasn’t caused by the collision with the barriers?

    Honeslty, this sounds more like something failed on the car, whether it be suspension, brakes, the underfloor or something on the wing and they don’t want to admit it and have quietly dealt with the issue without sharing to much information about what failed and why, lest another team learns some little detail about the car.

    1. “a shower of sparks from the front of Vettel’s car before it ploughed through a gravel trap” An object (stone/debris) lodged between the rim and brake caliper could do that etc. etc.

    2. @nikkit The debris could have easily disintegrated upon impact with the rim.

    3. As others allude to, it could have been a piece of debris or gravel that machined the rim as it spun, cutting it. While I am dubious of all team claims regarding failures, if the above is what happened (like it did to Hamilton in a prior year), then you can tell a cut edge from a broken edge.

  3. Ferrari altered its driver line-up so Leclerc will stay in the car this afternoon. Thats is a good news but I would repeat same method for tomorrow as well, who needs a clumsy driver in the car on last day of the testing.

    1. I cannot see where you are coming from. Vettel isn’t a clumsy as the article suggests since there was issue with the bloody car. It is abnormal for sparks flying is it not?

      1. That’s only my opinion and I’m also a bit angry thats all (especially to Ferrari F1 manaegment). It is not all about this testing but in general I think Vettel is forcing himself beyond his talent and making mistakes and I don’t think this year will be any different. You know how they say, doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is insanity. This is what Ferrari is doing imo.

    2. Do you have to troll Vettel on every story? The guy has 4 world championships and there isn’t a person in the sport who would ever call him a clumsy tester. Not every non-Mercedes failure or accident is some huge, pointless conspiracy.

      1. i thought especially Mercedes failures were conspiracies

        1. Only when they change mechanics

    3. People are judging Vettel’s talent on a bad last half of 2018. You do remember the 4 world championships he won, the 3 races in 2015 he won with a slower car, the close title fight in 2017 with a worse car, and some absolutely incredible drives he had last year. But no, none of that matters because he crashed in Germany and spun a couple times. Lol okay.

  4. So Vettel was the victim of a rim job then ? :D

  5. Wow, I like the new Ferrari media relations.

    No room for crazy conspiracies.

  6. There is footage on the official F1 YouTube page. You can hear the tyre pop, deflate and from that moment on Seb was a passenger.

    Definitely something related with the left front wheel, we can leave this to rest, not there wasn’t any reason not to but still… it’s not like the guy spun or anything

    1. Yeah, after watching the video, it’s pretty clear that the tire either popped or more likely slipped off the bead of the rim when it broke. At that point because all the lateral load was on the left front, he would have had no steering to get out of it. I didn’t see any debris coming up to that point, but it’s possible that earlier in the lap there was something that weakened the edge of the rim and hard under cornering load to that wheel, it gave way and let the tire slip the bead. Just a guess from having heard a mate’s track car tire slip the bead. If the tire itself had popped, I’d expect to see more carnage with it flailing apart.

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