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Unsafe release? You can say that again
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Unsafe release? You can say that again
Posted By: James Allen  |  12 Sep 2010   |  6:09 pm GMT  |  78 comments

The Hispania team has been fined $20,000 for an unsafe release from the pit stop of Sakon Yamamoto this afternoon in which a team member was injured.

Yamamoto upset by incident (Darren Heath)


The Japanese driver came into the pits on lap 22 and a technician leaned into the cockpit of the car. When the four tyres had been changed the chief mechanic raised the lollipop and despite the fact that the technician was still reaching in, Yamamoto drove off.

The technician was dragged along initially and then was flipped in the air by the rear wing. An ambulance had to come down the pit lane to administer first aid and the technician was taken to the circuit’s medical centre for further attention.

Clearly there will be some injuries, judging by the violence of his fall. There are few details from Hispania of the victim’s precise condition, but in the team’s press release, Yamamoto expresses relief that he is “not badly injured.”

Pit lane security for mechanics is always a concern and is likely to be the subject of a review between teams and the FIA. The incident comes a few weeks after a Williams mechanic was knocked flat by a loose wheel in the pit lane in Hungary and Robert Kubica was released into the path of Adrian Sutil. Earlier this year we saw Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel racing side by side in the pit lane in China.

There is a You Tube clip of the accident, from overhead, shot by a guest in the Paddock Club. I’m not posting the clip here because it is quite distressing, but if you want to see what happens, you can find it on You Tube.

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78 Comments
  1. karthikeyan says:

    Yes its a very vital point on pit crew saftey.

  2. Andy C says:

    Goodness me. That is a dreadful accident. I have just seen the clip again and he took a big hit from the rear wing.

    The lollipop man must have a hole in his head if he didnt see the guy.. and surely Yamamoto can see him in his peripheral vision…. lets hope the guy is ok. His ribs looked like they took a hell of a wack.

    I was watching the classic clips on BBC redbutton over the weekend, and I recall seing Senna coming out of the pits at absolutely full tilt. It was incredible that nobody got hurt more regularly in those days.

    1. Phil Curry says:

      Yamamoto would have been focused solely on the lollipop guy – he wouldn’t have seen the mechanic, who was working in the area behind him. It’s a racing driver’s instinct to go when the lollipop goes up – There’s a few who have gone when it was lifted for a second and then brought down – and the drivers who went with the hose still attached did so because the lollipop went up. It wasn’t Yamamoto’s fault

      1. Andy C says:

        Phil
        I wasn’t blaming Yamamoto solely, I know they usually go when the guy signals.
        It surprised me he didn’t see him, as he would be in his field of vision at that height.

      2. Phil Curry says:

        Sorry Andy, read a lot of comments solely blaming Yamamoto for it, and being quite viscious too. I don’t think he should be in the seat, but it wasn’t his fault.

        I’m not sure the mechanic would have been in his field of vision. With the balaclava and helmet, vision is (I believe) rather restricted to around the wing mirrors. It didn’t look like the mechanic was completely leaning over the car either, more kneeling beside and reaching a hand in.

        Of course it may well be that Yamamoto didn’t know anyone was there – all he’d be concerned about is getting away as quickly as he could – and if he was having radio trouble, the team wouldn’t have been able to tell him either.

        I’ve got some of the old F1 review videos, watching the cars come out of their boxes almost sideways with mechanics (wearing shorts and shirts) jumping out of the way, it was certainly a different age back then! Like you said, surprising no one was hurt.

  3. MichaelH says:

    Crikey!!! Plus unlike the bigger teams that fine will hurt Hispania.

  4. Rafael says:

    Saw the clip, James. And that was terrible! The FIA should come down heavy on Yamamoto for that incident and even heavier than they already did on Hispania. It’s probably a case of 60:40 in terms of blame, 60% to the driver and 40% to the lollipop man. Both the lollipop man and Yamamoto should have been more attentive to their surroundings. I mean, okay, he was given the green light, but couldn’t the Japanese driver see/feel a guy or at least a spec of a guy fiddling around his left side?!

    I’m thinking the FIA should probably suspend Yamamoto’s super license, similar to how they revoked Yuji Ide’s a couple of years ago. But then again, these things happen, so that’s probably too harsh. Still, horrifying accident.

    1. john says:

      i agree with you rafael that the two of them should share the blame but i think the proportions of blame are wrong. yamamoto is sitting low in the cockpit and can probably only see two out of the ten or so men working on his car. he is relying on the lollipop man to watch the other people he can’t see and make the decision as to when it is safe (thats why if he releases the car into the path of another car then its his fault and not the drivers). the lollipop man could see everything that was going on therefore it is more his fault, but you would think yamamoto would feel someone sticking his hand down the side of him in a very tight cockpit, i would say 80/20. if his hand wasn’t in the cockpit then i would say 100% lollipop man.

      1. Adam0 says:

        I disagree I’m afraid. It’s the lollipop man’s job to keep an eye on everyone surrounding the car and inform the driver when it is safe to pull away, and nothing to do with the driver. It’s the driver’s job to make sure that he pulls away the second the lollipop is raised, he is sitting there, trying to keep a formula one car ticking over, making sure he selects the right gear, get everything prepared to pull away and not get too much wheelspin or stall and he is thinking about all that in only a few very short seconds. If he had the time or the additional mental capacity in that quite tense moment to look around the car, turn his head each way and check that everyone was clear of his car then the pit crews would not need a lollipop man. I don’t think Yamamoto is to blame for this at all, he was just focusing on doing his job which was to pull away the second that lollipop showed any sign of lifting, which he did. It was the lollipop man who dropped the ball here. But I do feel sorry for him (the lollipop man) because he will be feeling pretty guilty right now. It is easy to blame Yamamoto because he is a back end driver and because he doesn’t have much of a media presence because of it, but I don’t think that’s fair.

    2. Mike says:

      I disagree. Yamamoto would have been (quite correctly) concentrating on the lollipop man and the lollipop man alone. It’s inconceivable that he would have left his box if he could feel someone reaching into the cockpit behind him and I don’t believe he could see the poor chap. The lollipop man is 100% to blame. I feel very sorry for him. Everyone makes mistakes, but unfortunately in his line of work mistakes can be deadly. I hope the technician makes a full and swift recovery.

    3. Rich C says:

      They really ought to suspend the team for the next race whenever something like this happens.

    4. Stephen F says:

      Yamamoto’s vision would be 100% on the lollypop waiting to guve him the all clear to be released from the pits so to blame the driver more than the lollypop man is wrong in my opinion. The guy has a job to do and didn’t do it properly, similar to the pit incident involving Robert Kubica earlier this season where he was released straight into a pitting Force India car.

    5. John H says:

      Yamamoto is not to blame here. The driver focuses on the lollipop and that alone.

      And those that think HRT should be suspended have short memories. I distinctly remember Ferraris and McLarens driving off too early with fuel rigs attached and subsequently injuring their mechanics in the not too distant past.

    6. Paul says:

      I think the driver would reasonably be focussing his attention on the lollypop man and if there is anywhere else his attention would be it’d be on the the other side of the car, ie on pitlane or the mirror that gives him a view of the pitlane he’s going to move into.

      He really has no reason to be looking into the pit box side because there shouldn’t be anything happening there that he needs to be aware of.

      Certainly unfortunate that he didn’t notice, but I don’t think it’s a lack of due diligence for the driver.

  5. Annabelle says:

    The clip really is horrific!
    Another great article James, you really are one of the best sport’s commentators.
    an avid teenage girl F1 fan :).

    1. Bevan says:

      “Crikey,sounds like somethings on offer here eh”?

      1. Matt B says:

        Erm what?

  6. Banjo says:

    I looked the clip up on youtube and understand why you’ve not posted it now. It was a lot more violet an incident than i imagined! Possibly the worst pit incident that i can rememeber in recent times.

    I hope the mechanic in question makes a swift and full recovery. It seems currently the mechanics are at more risk than the drivers!

  7. Jason C says:

    Blimey, I see what you mean. Hope he isn’t badly injured – from the video, anything is possible.

  8. Ouch is all i can say ! , hope hes ok ..but it really did look quite bad from the video.

    Matt

  9. Nick F says:

    OK found the vid on Youtube. Wow that is much worse than I thought it would be. The guy gets thrown so fast it doesn’t look real. Bad CG graphics I’d say if I didn’t know it was real. I hope he makes a full recovery.

    The lollipop guy must be feeling very bad about this. I wonder if maybe they should be in a different position. from the high camera angle of the Youtube clip you can see everything, but I imagine from the lollipop guys point of view it’s hard to see someone if they lean into the cockpit like that on the other side of the car to you.

    If I was an F1 mechanic and I had been tasked with sticking my hand in a sidepod to clear out some mud, or to attach some cables in the cockpit, I think I would make sure I had a conversation with the lollipop man on the way out to the car to make sure he knew I was going to do it.

    That clip isn’t going to survive on Youtube for long so everyone should go see it fast if they want to. I found 2 versions. One had already been taken down. I wish they would stop doing that. Youtube clips help increase the interest in F1.

  10. john says:

    james, after watching the youtube video, don’t you think there needs to be a minimum personal dress standard in the pits, ie overalls and helmets mandatory and i think in this case a simple high vis overall could have prevented the lollipop man missing him? ps hope he is alright, it looked nasty enough but could have easily ended a lot worse!

    1. Rubinho's Keyfob says:

      Yes, these were my first thoughts too – that guy was dressed in an all-dark uniform with no orange helmet (or any helmet at all – ouch).

      I doubt the lollipop guy even knew he was there, and I don’t think he should get all the blame for this. I know that branding is all-important, but if your pit guys are dressed in the same colours as the car then they are effectively camouflaged against it when in that close proximity.

      Same issue with Jenson’s “bung” being left in at Monaco (it was the “rocket red” colour, as is all over the car).

      There’s a reason why on aircraft things that “shouldn’t be there” when in operation are coloured very differently and therefore easy to spot …

      1. Empty Oil Can says:

        you talk a lot of sense my friend.
        He wasn’t seen at all. Poor guy, I hope he is ok.

  11. Dan says:

    The video has been pulled already.

    1. Dan says:

      Aah, found it!

      Ouch!

  12. Tim. says:

    That was very scary.

  13. James D says:

    That’s the biggest show of incompetence we’ve seen from any of the new teams all season. Completely stupid incident.

  14. theRoswellite says:

    Rather not see it really, and thanks James for your discretion in not posting it.

    Next GP take a look down the pit lane during one of the the crowded stops, then imagine two or more cars coming together at maximum speed. They are moving only a few feet, if not inches, from a considerable number of people.

    With the removal of refueling the potential for catastrophe has been reduced considerably, it still, however, seems to be a safety issue demanding more attention.

    Certainly the pit lane could be enlarged at many of the tracks, or the speed limit reduced a bit more where there is just no room for a physical change.

    Is it being cynical to ask if the crowed, and dangerous, pit environment is maintained because it creates a much greater visual drama for the TV audience?

    I certainly hope that is not a consideration.

  15. Nando says:

    Wish him well.

  16. JM says:

    am i correct in saying that this particular mechanic was not wearing a helmet?

  17. Michael says:

    I’ve seen it suggested in the past that F1 adopt a system whereby no-one is allowed out onto the pit until the car has stopped and the car isn’t allowed to move again until everyone is safely back in the garage.

    I certainly believe something needs to change because the current lollipop system has been at the centre of far too many accidents in recent years.

    1. theRoswellite says:

      Certainly agree, some creative thinking should go into this problem…is the ‘lollipop pop system’ the best F1 can come up with?

      Also, if a small number of crewmen were responsible for stops it might create some heroes identifiable to the public. Plus, with longer stops the ‘moment of drama’ would be enlarged…and of course all team requirements being equal the change would have no effect on the relative outcome.

    2. "for sure" says:

      Good point, or as they do in other series, limit the size of the pit crew, as opposed to the American Football Team sized squads that are used at present.

  18. Rich C says:

    Way too close. That guy came within inches of being killed. If the wheel had rolled over him instead of knocking him sideways it would have whiplashed his head into the ground and he’d be dead. I saw a trackworker in Vancouver die that way. Not pretty.

    I’ve said it before: it doesn’t take 15 people out there to change tires!

    Other forms of racing do with far, far fewer, and have strict rules about how many ppl can be out there.

  19. Rowan says:

    A very nasty incident, I understand why you didn’t link to it James.

    It does make you wonder about how ‘fit for purpose’ Yamamoto is as an F1 driver (not taking into account that he is slow). That said, it was more the lollipop man’s fault more than the driver. Pressure can do odd things to a persons ability to think straight, and clearly he wasn’t at that particular moment.

    If you see the mechanic in question during your travels, send on my best wishes.

    1. JamesF1 says:

      That’s not Yamamoto’s fault at all. He goes when the lollipop goes up, end of. Was it Massa’s fault for driving off with the fuel hose attached in Singapore the other year?

      None of the above implies that I think he’s fit for purpose in F1 BTW.

      1. Stefanos says:

        James, you are correct, some of the best drivers have left the box with a fuel hose still attached to the car. It was the lollipop man’s fault.

        However, since accidents do happen, it is important that their effects are mitigated. I could not see clearly, but others here have suggested the mechanic was not wearing a helmet. Sending him out there without one is what caused him the severe injury that he has sustained.

        And this is easy to fix. I do not recal anyone being seriously injured in past cases. Helmets and hi-vis gear (against each car) may be an easy way forward.

  20. Jim says:

    I find it hard to attach blame here. Sakon is probably so focussed on getting away, he’s not aware of any other outside distractions, he’s just waiting for the lollypop to go up. And I guess, since the mechanic was leaning in, the lollypop man just failed to see him properly. Sadly things like this can happen with new teams, as they are still working on procedures other teams have built up over many years.

    I really want to see hispania do well, and continue onto next season with improvements. However, unless they can find some decent backing, potentially from Epsilon Euskadi, i cant see it happening. Shame really. I like the bigger grids

  21. Gilberto says:

    James, you forgot to mention the incident with Kubica, when he was released before he should and crashed in a Force India (I can’t remember which driver was).

  22. JR says:

    Apparently the pit crew man was inspecting the radio connection between Yamamoto’s helmet and the car. He was therefore not in Yamamoto’s line of forward vision.

    If the accident was anyone’s fault it was probably the lollipop man’s; but I think the mechanic was likely not very obvious and at that moment the lollipop man has is attention split between the wheel men and the pitlane to check whether another car is coming. With only fractions of a second available it would be easy to miss the fact someone was crouched over the car behind the driver’s head.

    This sort of eventuality has to be factored in. I tend to think the crew member who was injured might have to accept some of the blame for putting himself in this position.

    1. Stevie P says:

      Wouldn’t you think that operationally, the lollipop man should have been informed that someone was going to be looking at the radio link (or be in close to the car, between the tyres) during the stop?

      I can understand Yamamoto not knowing about it, if his radio was not working properly – which required the chap to have a look at the link during the stop. He’s reliant\focussed upon the lollipop guy after all.

      To suggest that the chap should accept some of the blame himself for putting himself in that position – well, I’m not sure about that; perhaps he should have spoken to the lollipop holder, but it might have been a late call to look at it?

      I feel\think, it comes down to communication… “right guys we’re switching Sakon to the hard tyres… oh and by the way Joe Bloggs is going to be looking at the radio connection, so don’t release Sakon until Joe’s done… ok?”.

      Thankfully, during the Beeb feed, they said the crew member was ok, but heavily bumped and bruised – shaken up I’d say! So hopefully he recovers ok and Hispania sort their “operational” approach to pit-stops!

      What with tyres bouncing along the pit-lane, drivers hitting each other and numerous near misses between jostling cars… it seems to have been more hectic in the pits this season than in recent ones and we’ve done anyway with re-fuelling too. Perhaps the FIA need to have a quiet word with the teams and ask them to take a little more care… before someone gets seriously injured.

    2. peter says:

      Has anyone tried having ‘peripheral vision’ when wearing a full-face helmet,strapped tightly into a cockpit to cope with 5G braking & cornering,with your head less than 2ft from the ground?

      The radio guy is probably not a normal pit-lane worker, but it’s certainly a case for everybody in the pit lane to be wearing high-vis overalls.

  23. James W says:

    Have just seen the video. The footage looks like it’s sped up, which it isnt, and that makes it even worse to watch!

    Hispania can ill afford the fine, but I would say they got off lightly with that fine.

  24. Bevan says:

    Horrific for sure but when you read the legal waiver on the back of your ticket it says everything,motor racing is a dangerous sport for all concerned,you do so at your own risk.How was Yamamoto meant to see this guy,I’m sure he has no eyes in the back of his helmet,the guy was slightly behind the cockpit.Ditch the lollipop & give the job to the front jack man,he can see everything & the cars going nowhere till he drops it.

    1. Noel says:

      If the back wheels are on the ground, the car can certainly go!

  25. SHIPARCH says:

    I really do not see this being Yamamoto’s fault but more first, the person who let the technician on moving pit without the proper safety gear and possibly no proper pit safety training, second, the lollipop man.

    The driver sits low in the car with the helmet which is not very easy turning your head in such a fast paced pit, and his concentration on the lollipop man and possibly the left mirror, the technician was hit on the right side of the car.

    That being said and now that Yamamoto is mentioned I don’t think he should be allowed in F1, HRT should not be allowed in F1. I have never liked drivers who buy their way into F1, they should earn their seat through hard work and experience not money. If Hispania cannot sustain themselves they don’t deserve a spot. The only thing they are doing is holding back the sport from advancing, limiting testing for other teams because they cannot afford it and so on. Lotus has proven they want to get ahead and they’ve proven it since day one, Virgin hasn’t performed as desired but they try.

    James, have you heard anything about the HRT – Toyota deal?

    1. James Allen says:

      I heard that the deadline came and went last week.

    2. Phil Curry says:

      Then again we’ve always had people working on the cars without the necessary equipment – in recent years too. Either fiddling with the steering wheel, plugging a laptop in, or standing around the car to access damage.

      You could probably also say that he needed his sight to be as free as possible if he was trying to plug in a cable or something behind the driver.

      But a high vis coat, or someting to make him stand out, as well as communication that he would be there doing this while the pit crew was working, would have been best.

      Having watched the video again, it looks like he creeps in between the crews working the front and rear wheels, and leans in. Whether the Lollipop guy knew he would do it or not is speculation – but he may have been unsighted between the two crews as well – which would not have helped.

      I really hope he makes a speedy recovery. Regular pit crews know the risks, I doubt he was a regular out on the pit lane though.

  26. Coxy says:

    I know i am going to receive some criticism for this but i don’t think anything else should be done for pit lane safety. Yes granted it was a terrible incident, as was the last one with the williams mechanic but lets be honest it is a dangerous sport and although most people wont admit it that is that attraction for the majority of people. I am not saying i want to see people hurt, but the danger inherent in the sport is definitely a large factor.

    Accidents unfortunatly happen but if the FIA place some more safety procedures in how is that going to effect the sport?

  27. RDN says:

    Why is Sakon even in F1 these days? He’s pretty pathetic and has little skill compared to Karun and Senna. If HRT was fielding their best 2 drivers, he would not be racing. Sad to see Karun and Senna being swapped in and out for Sakon.

    1. soulknight says:

      Or you can see it the other way around : if there was no Sakon, then HRT would lack financing and would be out of the chamapionship and neither Senna nor Chandock would have the opportunity to race in F1 this year…

      Dare I say the Petrov’s money helped Renault give a podium contender to Kubica instead of a 6-8th place contender ?

  28. PJ says:

    Regarding the HRT incident, I think a possible solution for 2011 would be to have pit crew wear outfits that contrast with the car’s colour (white outfits when working on black car for example). That way it would be easier to see everybody before raising the lollipop.

    1. Andy C says:

      I was thinking something similar myself, great call pj

  29. Craig says:

    The video really shows how it may be more advantageous to have a man ‘in the gods’ controlling a traffic light for release rather than the limited view the lollypop man has on the ground. From the camera angle you get an overview of the car surroundings and more distance down the pits. Possibly something to look at doing or is there a rule on where the man making the release has to be?

    Its a bad accident but probably a set of unfortunate circumstance rather than any real lack of judgement by the lollypop man. It looks as if the guy made a quick decision to investigate the radio and hadn’t informed the lollypop man who would then have no special reason to look for him. Hopefully Hispania will reappraise its rules on entering the pit box now and nothing so serious will happen again.

    Can’t blame Yamamoto for it in the slightest and I don’t know anyone with peripheral vision over their shoulder at the best of times! He was just doing his job and watching the lollypop.

    1. Mick says:

      I like the idea of having an ‘upstairs’ pit crew member. International level rugby has had Television Match Officials for quite some time now, I believe. James, as Craig said, something to consider, or is there already such a facility in place (albeit deep behind the scenes)?

  30. David Turnedge says:

    Nasty accident. I think Yamamoto shouldn’t be blamed for this… looks like the team member was at outside of his field of view slightly behind the visor opening… in fact I don’t think the lollipop man should be blamed also… motor racing in dangerous… clearly an accident… a nasty one.

  31. Christopher Snowdon says:

    Talking of penalties, why did Alguersuari get a penalty when Hulkenburg didn’t?

    1. James Allen says:

      Jaime is asking the same question..

      1. Phil Curry says:

        James, isn’t there a rule that states if you cut a chichane three times or more you get a penalty? I remember, I think the Canadian GP a few years ago, a driver got a penalty for that – even though he never gained or held a position by doing so.

  32. David Smith says:

    Good old Youtube brings F1 to the fans as this mishap wasn’t shown on BBC.
    Is it not time that the official F1 website has a section where fans can upload videos they have filmed at the track, rather than fans post unseen footage on youtube only to FOM to have them taken off?
    Hope the guy is okay it looked nasty hope Hispania haven’t got the money to pay the fine after all they have treated Chandhok like dirt…

    1. Mark M says:

      Not the sort of thing the beeb will show I was at the dtm and they pulled the 115 and moto2 races of iplayer

      1. Emma says:

        It wasn’t their footage – it was a guest in the paddock. That’s why they didn’t show it.

  33. kesNZ says:

    Nasty I watched it earlier but the footage has just been pulled from youtube “Formula One Management, who has blocked it on copyright grounds”! Can they do that?

    1. Neil says:

      Yes Formula One Management can pull amateur videos from youtube of F1 events. All attendees to F1 races buy buying a ticket are also agreeing to their terms and conditions, which if you ever are bored like me waiting for some action out on track, say on the back of the ticket something along the lines of all photos & videos taken within the circuit remain the intellectual property of Formula One. Although they obviously dont demand you hand over your snaps at the end of the race, they can obviously claim to you tube it is their property and thus get it removed. Funnily enough though, a couple of Fans have challenged this and got YouTube to re-instate their videos. Last year there was a piece written on it here: http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/2009/04/27/f1-fan-beats-fom-over-right-to-upload-video-from-grand-prix-weekends/
      I like the bit where one amateur video was in fact used as evidence in a FIA hearing. The WRC relies heavily on amateur footage over each stage to capture crashes etc., I think F1 should take the same view!

      1. mtb says:

        I too have noticed that. I once warned my employer about trying to use in a brochure a photo taken by a colleague. Needless to say I was initially accused of carrying out a wind-up!

    2. soulknight says:

      i guess there are some fine lines on the back of your ticket that says you are not allowed to take any picture or film during the grand prix ?

      i don’t see any other ground except theatening to sue youtube for copyright breach and youtube being cautious ???

      1. mtb says:

        You can take pictures and record video footage, but you are not allowed to use it for commercial purposes.

      2. Baktru says:

        At Singapore GP, it’s not even allowed to record video footage.

        From the Terms and Conditions about the Ticket:


        Ticket Holders must not make, create, store, record or transmit any kind of sound recording, visual footage or audio-visual footage of, at or in relation to the Race (“Recording”)

        Stills are fine IF they are personal, private and non-commercial.

  34. Nathan Bradley says:

    FOM have now pulled the videos, so I haven’t seen it, sounds horrible though.

    So Ferrari get a 100K fine for a ‘racing’ incident but Hispania only get a 20K fine for endangering somebody’s life?

    I’m not moaning about the Ferrari fine, I don’t want to open that can of worms again. It just seems disproportionate to me, considering the relative seriousness of the respective incidents.

    Nathan

    P.S. Further to a comment on another site, why isn’t there a cut-out switch controlled by the chief mechanic that would make it impossible for the car to move until the mechanic presses the switch i.e. when he sees all the other mechanics are safe. I know that might mean a slight delay in pitstops, but at least it would ensure that this wouldn’t happen again.

  35. Snitch7 says:

    I don’t think all blame should go to the lollypop guy.

    No helmet.
    No colour contrast in clothing.
    That is an unfortunate setup for a scary mess.

    Lollypop guy shouldn’t have released.
    But if the guy that got hit had a helmet on the injury would have been lessened.
    If the guy who got hit had high vis clothing, the lollypop guy may have seen him.(he obviously DIDN’T!)
    If HRT had safer protocols….
    Then again, maybe they do but it was ignored in the heat of battle.
    etc etc

    Hope he is doing OK
    And also some small things are changed to minimise the chance of it happening again.

  36. Shane says:

    I just watched the video a few times and I really hope the guy is alright!

    From the looks of things, HRT run their pits differently from most teams. The mechanics all have red helmets and they stand up when they are clear. Most of the top team’s mechanics just raise their hand when their corner is clear, I think some even have a special colored glove on the “all clear” hand that allows the lollipop man to quickly identify when the car is ready for release. It looks likes the HRT lollipop man has to count helmets? 2 standing men with red helmets per corner and the car is safe for release?

    Unfortunately, the guy that got hit was wearing all black (no red helmet for sure) and he was bent over, most likely out of view of the lollipop man.

    I would say this is 100% NOT Yamamoto’s fault, I don’t even think it would be fair to apportion any blame to the lollipop man.

    That being said, perhaps this was just an freak accident. Maybe he shouldn’t have been out there? Maybe HRT needs some more clearly defined rules about who can go over the wall?

    I don’t know what the FIA rules are regarding pit personnel, but I don’t think we need more rules. For the amount of pit stops that occur on a race weekend, there are very few incidents. I imagine that HRT will be taking a very close look at this and doing everything they can to ensure it cannot happen again.

  37. Rich C says:

    F1 has soooo many rules about so many arcane things that one more limiting the number of ppl in the pit lane should be no problem.

    It does not take 3 ppl to change each tire! It just doesn’t!

    NASCAR (omg I said “NASCAR” didnt I) has strictly enforced limits, uses half as many ppl, and also manages to find guys big enough to carry a tire in one hand and an airgun in the other! Surely there are Euros big enough to do that?

    You can bet your bottom dollar if the guy had died – and he was only inches from it – the discussion would have a *completely different tone.

  38. Mark M says:

    I think IRL rules would best apply as being an open wheel championship as well as the speeds being broadly similar with the only difference being the size of the actual pit box. Limiting personnel in the box has to be a matter for the Fia to deal with or for more immediacy FOTA the can have a deal amongst themselves for Singapore. The sponsors will probably get more exposure as the cars will be stationary for a geater time in the pit lane with less people around the car

  39. David Chubb says:

    link anyone I can’t find anything

    1. Emma says:

      I’ve just done a google videos search for “yamamoto pit incident” which brought up a film on you tube that’s not been taken off yet…

  40. Colm says:

    The blame does not lie with the lollypop guy. He’s probably gutted; it is not his fault.
    The blame lies equally with the technician who stepped between the tires without a)a helmet and b) clearly informing other team members of his intentions, and whoever writes / implements the policies and procedures for pit lane operations for HRT.

  41. Bobby says:

    Actually in NASCAR there is a separate tyre carrier who carries two tyres (one left and one right) each, and two men with air guns. The tyre carrier must lay one tyre each on the side closest to the pit wall, and one tyre on the opposite side (which is changed first). Once the tyre is changed, he must move the tyre to the opposite side (there is a penalty if tyres aren’t moved across). The majority of Sprint Cup crewmen are former intercollegiate athletes and since the turn of the century almost all Sprint Cup crew members (except for fueler and assistant) are intercollegiate athletes. (2 tyre changers, 2 tyre carriers, 2 fuel staff, 1 jackman) The “lollipop” (which is used only to bring the driver in) is away from the wall and the driver is typically taught to be released on the dropping of the jack and the crew chief saying “GO”. All crewmen over the wall must wear a firesuit and helmet.

    In Yamamoto’s case, the crew chief should be watching the stop and watching other cars before making the release signal.

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