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Horrific pitstop involving Raikkonen prompts FIA investigation

Horrific pitstop involving Raikkonen prompts FIA investigation

F1 News

Horrific pitstop involving Raikkonen prompts FIA investigation

Horrific pitstop involving Raikkonen prompts FIA investigation

Formula 1's governing body the FIA will investigate the spate of pit-stop problems that have littered the start of the 2018 season. Race director Charlie Whiting has been moved to action after Ferrari's botched stop at the Bahrain Grand Prix caused Kimi Raikkonen's retirement and left mechanic Francesco Cigarini with a broken leg.

Haas suffered a double DNF at the season-opening race in Australia due to faulty stops and the McLaren of Fernando Alonso also shed a wheel due to a dodgy wheel-nut in pre-season testing.

However, the horrific scenes which followed Raikkonen's second pitstop at the Bahrain grand Prix have prompted the move.

Ferrari's systems failed to detect that Raikkonen's crew had not removed his left-rear tyre and gave the Finn the green light to move off. Cigarini was stood in front of the wheel as Raikkonen sped away, suffering a broken shin bone and fibula, which required surgery.

"It's looking less and less like a coincidence but the two incidences in Melbourne were quite clearly wheelgun operator error," Whiting told the Formula 1 website.

"They cross threaded the nuts and thought it was tight, came off and then realised a little too late it wasn't.

"[With the incident in Bahrain], the guy hadn't even taken the wheel off, which is slightly perplexing."

Whiting says that McLaren's incident in pre-season had already prompted a look inot the integrity of parts used to hold wheels in place.

He added: "Alonso lost a wheel in testing if you remember we went through it all with McLaren, they gave us a report in the week.

"We discussed it with the Technical Working Group to understand it all, to make sure everybody else realises these things can happen, everyone tries to learn from them.

"What happened was that the design of the nose piece that goes into the axel, that is the thing that holds the two-stage retention mechanism.

"But the way that is fixed into the axel was not quite strong enough so the wheel was a little bit loose, it worked itself loose because it had done four laps prior to that.

"So when the wheel started to tip a little bit, it put abnormal loads into the things that were holding the nose in and once the nose came out, there was no retention. So a lesson to be learnt there - that was shared with everyone in the Technical Working Group so that they can all look at that and make sure their designs aren't similar.

"Of course they said 'ours won't do that'..."

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