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Posted By: James Allen  |  09 Jul 2013   |  8:40 pm GMT  |  221 comments

Formula 1’s governing body the FIA has put a ban on anyone other than marshals and team personnel being allowed in the pit lane during qualifying sessions and races.

That is just one of a series of measures which have been introduced with immediate effect following the incident in Sunday’s German Grand Prix when an FOM cameraman was hit by a loose tyre from Mark Webber’s Red Bull.

Paul Allen suffered broken ribs, a broken collarbone and concussion but is expected to make a full recovery.

FIA president Jean Todt has asked the World Motor Sport Council to approve the changes, which had already been planned for 2014.

One of the changes will see a reduction in the pit lane speed limit.  That will be reduced from 100kph to 80kph, expect in Australia, Monaco and Singapore where due to the track configuration the limit remains at 60kph.

All team personnel working on a car during a pit stop must wear head protection. They must then leave the pit lane as soon as work is completed.

Red Bull have been asked to submit a written report on Wednesday in relation to the incident. This will be shared with the other teams in order to help improve safety.

 

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221 Comments
  1. David says:

    Great to see the FIA stepping up and doing something to protect those in the pit lane. Not sure why these kind of rules were not already being applied sooner???

    1. Kingszito says:

      No body knows it all. We learn from our mistakes.

    2. Peter says:

      You could say the same about the next lesson that is yet to be learned. And every lesson after that, too.

      1. Quercus says:

        Some ‘lessons’ are predictable and should be anticipated.

        For years I’ve been saying that the JCBs and tele-handlers that drive on the the run-off areas to remove broken cars should have solid skirts fitted to prevent a race car from going under them (with the probability that a driver will lose his head). I know of at least one death in a lower formula when a driver went under a lorry and was decapitated. Such a death in F1 has not happened yet — and probably never will — but it’s possible that it could and it should therefore be anticipated.

        I hope someone with some influence reads this.

      2. Hutch says:

        Completely agree.

    3. Hendo says:

      It’s a typical ‘blame the victim’ response from the FIA. But let’s face it .. How hard is it to put on one wheel nut! Surely the brains that can invent hot blown diffusers and F ducts etc can work out a fail safe way of attaching a wheel to an axle.

      1. Andymate says:

        I would say it is quite challenging just to put on a wheel nut, but the release man only has to count 4 arms going up in the air confirming all done. I think this is where the blame lies

      2. Eddy V says:

        I agree,

        Most pitlane incursions happen because the lollipop man always pre-empts the 4 hands going up.

        So many incidents can be avoided if you remove the lollipop man and add some sort of red light system. I think some teams have tried it in the past, but preferred the traditional system.

        Maybe an FIA light system?

    4. Rudy says:

      Oh well, this is ridiculous. Any motorsport activity implies great risk. Of course people’s integrity must be looked after, but I agree with someone who commented on safer procedures to attach the wheel nut. It should even be sensor-equipped or an electronic mapping that would lock the clutch if the nuts aren’t in place. And what are they waiting for if a similar issue happens again but a wheel or a car hits someone in the pitwall? They are usually backwards watching at monitors. A plexiglass cover, metallic fences, what? This is a knee-jerk reaction. F-1 is a lame circus. I’m done with it.

      1. Jake says:

        Not that easy to fit a sensor on the hub to tell if the wheel is on as the hub rotates, meaning you can’t run wires to the hub.

  2. goferet says:

    This is good news for safety of all personnel involved in and around the pitlane. It’s about time.

    Am already looking forward to the footage of F1 cars in the pitlane but shot from the direction of the pitwall and not the usual shots from the garage.

    Now that the FIA has tightened up this area, they should also have another look at the unsafe release rule and make the necessary strict changes for lately we have seen drivers get away with murder.

    Furthermore, the FIA need to change the yellow flag rule especially in qualifying in that if there’s a yellow flag in a section, a driver really needs to lift off the accelerator to the point of slowing down and not the usual 4 hundredths slowing down we have seen in the past.

    Last but not least, I applaud all the 2013 drivers on their exquisite driving so far especially Maldonado and Grosjean who have largely stayed out of trouble.

    Keep up the good work fellas

    P.s.

    Great to know Paul Allen will make a full recovery.

    Canada is still fresh painful memory in the fans minds.

    1. Luke says:

      Unsafe releases have nothing to do with the driver, who simply goes when he is told. It’s the teams who need to do a better job.

      1. Laurie Hillier says:

        Oh really ?
        In the real world, a DRIVER (no one else) is ultimately responsible for the safe conduct (anywhere) of their vehicle. That (in part) is why we have REAR VISION MIRRORS on our cars, not the merely decorative items currently festooning F1 cars.
        If the FIA wants to get serious about safety, it would, inter alia, mandate much larger & hence more effective rear vision mirrors. Given that F1 drivers are all but cocooned in a semi reclined position in their cars, one would have thought an effective (i.e., BIGGER) rear vision mirror would have been der rigour (not sure of the spelling there).

      2. Woodyg says:

        Definitely agree with the yellow flag rule… It is very unclear… Especially under double waved yellows (from a f1 viewers prospective anyway)

    2. Paul says:

      Totally agree with you with the yellow flag rule. The safety of F1 has meant that drivers now bypass these safety procedures as minor annoyances. Like Hamilton said, they’ll only ever do something when someone gets hurt, and the pitlane scenario this week proves this is the case.

  3. Kris says:

    Does this mean pitlane legends like Ted Kravitz won’t be able to report directly from the pitlane?

    1. i guess so , so not sure if we will get as much gossip . hope he/all reports find a different approach .. they best do ,. .or they will be out of a job :)

      Matt

    2. sandman says:

      And Gary Anderson. So info about possible new updates will be minimum.

    3. KaRn- says:

      I believe they will be able to apply for passes to work from the pit wall. That said how do they work currently if not from there as it can’t be safe walking up the pit lane unless you are on the pit wall.

      1. Simmo says:

        Another problem: if every country covering F1 on television sends a person for each channel on the pit wall there will be no space at all!

    4. Spyros says:

      I believe they are in the pit garages themselves, not in the pit lane. I hope I’m right about this, and if I am, presumably the FOM camera crew will peer outside from there, too.

      1. alexyoong says:

        Correct. You just use back entrances to teams’ garages

    5. DonSimon says:

      I think they are talking about head protection for everyone who works in the pits. I assume the reporters will still have access as the pit wall is already crowded with photographers and now tv crews.

    6. Ted doesn’t go out into pit lane during quali / race so won’t be affected.

    7. Glennb says:

      I should hope so. The loophole would to become employed by a team or become a marshall ;)

    8. Jon T says:

      Ted thinks it will be okay, he addressed this on Twitter this lunchtime. He mainly reports from the team garages, not the pit lane, to get his stories. Phew!

    9. SteveH says:

      Well, that wouldn’t be a bad thing, IMHO, as Ted drives me crazy with his ‘reports’ during the race. His rambling, pointless, endless monologues add nothing to the broadcast.

      1. GWD says:

        lol… yeah! and you forgot “perfectly timed to obfuscate team radios transmissions being released to TV telecasts”

      2. Phil says:

        Your just about the only human being on this planet that thinks that way! Ted is genius and the coverage would lose a lot without his enthusiasm and knowledge.

      3. Alexis says:

        +1

  4. Spinodontosaurus says:

    The reduction in pit lane speed limit is just a knee-jerk reaction, even if the speed limit had been in place the incident wouldn’t have gone any differently seeing as the wheel broke lose almost instantly.

    1. Quade says:

      The whole thing seems knee-jerk. Safety gear for the press should have been enforced instead.

    2. MISTER says:

      Exactly!
      That was a human mistake. Actually 2 mistakes, big ones.
      First one was the rear jack guy which dropped the car to the ground with work on the right wheel still ongoing.
      Second one was the lights system RBR have, which showed green as soon as the car was dropped. I’m not sure if that system is automatic, and the green light is on when the car is being dropped from the jacks or someone activates the green/red lights.

      That wheel could’ve hit something something and then bounced and hit someone else on the pit wall.

      They just need to put a minimum time a car need to be stationed (i.e. 7 sec). This could take the pressure of the mechanics and human errors be eliminated.

      1. Quercus says:

        Having a minimum ‘stop’ time wouldn’t necessarily solve the problem, though I agree it would reduce the incidence. If they have trouble with a wheel and the seven seconds is exceeded they’d still be in a hurry to drop the car and get it on its way.

    3. j says:

      It’s flawed logic from the FIA just throwing a helmet on someone while ignoring the cause of this incident.

      Weber wasn’t up to speed yet when the wheel came off and no helmet is going to stop a concussion from getting hit like that. Look at hockey or football.

      The only fix was to remove those guys from the pit lane since they obviously are unwilling to do the smart thing and reduce the pit mechanic teams down to 11 or less to slow things down a bit.

    4. Steve Zodiac says:

      I know, lets have four wheel nuts per wheel and tighten them by hand, that will slow things down nicely. Seriously though maybe they should be looking at slowing the mechanics down just a little bit

  5. [MISTER] says:

    “Thank you” RedBull for ruining this!

    1. DonSimon says:

      It was a freak event and could have happened to anyone. Remember Felipe with the fuel hose? These things happen.

      1. JohnBt says:

        Yeah, that was the Asian dragon dance. Very dangerous though. Happened to Christian Albers too, remember?

    2. Justin says:

      seriously? Red Bull didn’t ruin it, it was only a matter of time before the 5 or 6 annual pit lane incidents injured a non-team member, and this was the likely response.

    3. j says:

      I wouldn’t blame RedBull as problems have happened with other teams, but after how outspoken and how quick Horner was to place blame on Perelli at Silverstone it was strange to hear ‘we can’t comment until we investigate’ and ‘its too soon to come to conclusions’ when the problem was caused by his own team. After sounding so worried about Alonso’s safety last race when no one was hurt I would have hoped that he would have stepped up and taken responsibility. Maybe this proves that his previous statements were just hyperbole and kicking Perelli when they were down for political reasons.

  6. WiLL says:

    This is a total over reaction. In all the years of F1, how many times has someone been killed or seriously injured in the pit lane? Yes we have seen a few close encounters over the years with drivers knocking over mechanics on the odd occasion but in this type of pit lane environment there will always be some risk. I’m all for a temporary ban until they rethink things for 2014 but to remove so many people from the pit lane permanently is just going to ruin the atmosphere and excitement we get on tv during pit stops.

    1. RobertS says:

      Totally agree. What will happen to ted kravits etc?

    2. Quercus says:

      As a former TV/film cameraman (now retired) I can tell you that we are concentrating on the pictures we’re getting and in a world of our own when looking through that viewfinder. Pitlanes are dangerous places for cameramen: I note all the mechanics took avoiding action but Paul Allen had his back turned to the wheel when it hit him.

      1. WiLL says:

        U have just stated the obvious and what we all already knew and are aware of.

        People know the risks they are taking when they work in the pit lane.

  7. engineered says:

    Does Red Bull’s puny $30k fine go to Paul Allen?
    Poor guy will have a lifetime of pain because Redbull went for speed rather than safety. He should at least get the $30k for his pain and suffering.

    1. Phil R says:

      He’s also going to get a lifetime of harrassment of “No Win No Fee, Where there’s blame there’s a claim!” insurance companies after him!

      1. well, at least he will get some compo if they do !!

    2. Simmo says:

      +1. Seems very unfair if he doesn’t get compensated. He was just doing his job after all.

    3. Adrian J says:

      I’m sorry but I don’t see how a fractured collarbone and ribs and a concussion translates to a “lifetime of pain”.

      Te guy has my sympathy and it shouldn’t have happened, but let’s not pretend this is a life-changing injury or anything.

      People break bones and get concussions all the time and they heal and get on with it.

      1. engineered says:

        You clearly have never broken anything. Nothing ever heals 100%, ESPECIALLY as you get older. Allen is probably in his 40′s.
        You also obviously have no idea about concussions. They have nasty long term effects.
        http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/256518.php

      2. Adrian J says:

        I work in the ambulance service. Yes I know about these things, but broken bones heal and concussions (more often than not) don’t result in any of the long-term issues that the article above highlights.

        Unless the camera man is receiving repeated concussions without really giving them time to heal (as is the case with American “Rugby With Padding” Players) then that article is not relevant.

        The best thing about the internet is also the worst – now anyone can look up anything and proclaim themselves an “expert”…

      3. Adrian J says:

        Oh and yes I have broken something.

        Also, collar bones and rib are not weight-bearing bones…or joints…those are the ones that cause problems…

    4. Scott says:

      His injuries as reported are not severe and there is no reason to expect him to have a “lifetime of pain”. I’m sure we all sympathise with the guy and wish him well, but let’s not get silly. It was an accident, plain and simple. The mechanic working the wheel gun made a mistake and there you have it. All the teams go for the quickest pit stop possible, and human mistakes happen all the time; indeed there have been several instances of wheels not fitted properly at pit stops. It just so happens that somebody was injured on this occasion. No amount of “protective equipment” would have prevented injury in this case, and everyone acknoweldges that this is a dangerous area to be in.

      1. engineered says:

        You clearly have never broken anything. Nothing ever heals 100%, ESPECIALLY as you get older. Allen is probably in his 40′s.
        You also obviously have no idea about concussions. They have nasty long term effects.
        http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/256518.php

        It is the teams responsibility to safely release a vehicle. Redbull knows they went too far, which is why they have changed their procedure.

        I do agree that the cameraman shouldn’t be on the pit lane, getting in everyone’s way. Remote cameras and filming from the sides is sufficient.

  8. Robin Venables says:

    “All team personnel working on a car during a pit stop must wear head protection. They must then leave the pit lane as soon as work is completed.”

    I thought these measures were already in place? The fact that all of the other people (FOM and numerous other broadcast company staff) are allowed in the pit-lane with no form of PPE is the problem.

    Also, adhering to a slightly modified Green Cross Code would aid safety: Look left, look left, look left again (i.e. always face the direction the cars are coming from. Unless it’s Montreal, Monaco, Singapore or Sao Paulo where left = right).

    1. Tim says:

      I thought these measures were already in place…
      Me too, I thought the teams weren’t supposed to do ‘dummy’ pitstops either, ie come out into the pit lane and look as if they were preparing for a stop in order to bluff the other teams into making a stop etc. But over the last few seasons, the enforcement of these rules has slackened off.

  9. Ken Y says:

    Doesn’t the change in pit lane speed limit completely change the pit strategy set up for all these races? Two stopping will be more appealing, and we’ll get more races like Monaco where drivers will be saving tyres rather than pushing.

    1. Phil says:

      Refuelling ban, fallapart tyres, slower pitlane speeds…

      Sadly I fear you’re right. Alas, the racing part of the spectacle is the biggest casualty of all of this. As frustrating as it is for us I can understand why drivers who’ve been part of F1 since before these changes have decided it’s no longer what they signed up for.

      1. Simmo says:

        +1 to both of you. Terrible idea.

  10. DC Corey says:

    Might mean less terrific pit lane camera shots, but well worth it given the risks involved. Mr. Allen is very fortunate.

  11. Crackers says:

    So no mention of camera crews and non pit crew people in the pits also having to wear helmets and safety gear? A tyre hitting an unprotected person doing 80km is still going to cause grief.

    1. johnLAD says:

      “Formula 1’s governing body the FIA has put a ban on anyone other than marshals and team personnel being allowed in the pit lane during qualifying sessions and races.”

      read the article……they will no longer be in the pit lane.

    2. Jonathan says:

      May I suggest you check the meaning of the word “ban”. If they are not there they won’t need helmets!

    3. PhilTayl says:

      Definitely. You’d have to say the speed limit has nothing to do with it as Webber wouldn’t have been doing anything like the limit at the point he lost the wheel.

      The acceleration off the mark is what caused the wheel to gather its pace. Are the FIA telling us that Mark Webber will accelerate slower to the new speed limit?

      (Not against lower speed – great to be safe – but it isn’t the correct reaction for this particular incident)

      1. Simmo says:

        “You’d have to say the speed limit has nothing to do with it as Webber wouldn’t have been doing anything like the limit at the point he lost the wheel.

        The acceleration off the mark is what caused the wheel to gather its pace. Are the FIA telling us that Mark Webber will accelerate slower to the new speed limit?”

        I absolutely agree with you. Useless decision in this circumstance.

  12. M Wishart says:

    Well I think that is rubbish…….Lets see what kind of shots the TV Cameramen get now……

    First safety is very important, and it always has to be at the forefront, but this is a knee jerk reaction which has gone to far.

    To have a blank ban like this is unworkable for the media and TV.

    1. Liam in Sydney says:

      What about drone-operated cameras? That would work brilliantly and be as much of a spectactle as the racing. Or maybe not.

      1. Julian F says:

        +1
        Great idea

      2. DonSimon says:

        That will happen within a few seasons, 100%. I know people using them at the moment on both sports and standard TV shoots.

      3. Quade says:

        Thats quite an idea. Who knows, this might make the press more innovative in their coverage to the benefit of the fans.

        –diversion–
        Another thing the FIA camera crews need to get a hang off, is the way they film wheel -to-wheel action (eg Alonso/Lewis battles in Canada and Germany) using close up shots from in-car camera’s. To me, drivers dicing is best captured from a distance where none of the moves can be missed; close up shots from the camera’s attached to the car are a frustrating killjoy that cuts out the best action in such situations.

      4. Quade says:

        They could also just install remote controlled camera’s on the pit rigs or the walls of the garages.

    2. Matthew says:

      I’m quite happy without the side views if it means that incidents like this are avoided. Hell, even if it wasn’t a tyre; imagine if two cars got together in an unsafe release, as we’ve seen in the past, and ran the cameraman over?

      Just use the overhead views, with the camera stationed above the car (which ironically, I believe was the angle used during Webber’s pitstop in the first place. You get to see more of the pitstop too; no more side camera shots being obscured by pit crew backsides.

      All I can see are positives; no negatives at all.

    3. Sid says:

      Agree 80%

      1. Simmo says:

        I agree with M’s point, but may I ask what causes you to disagree 20%?

    4. floodo1 says:

      The cameraman broke his ribs and collarbone. No small incident, and I ask what other steps could be taken to prevent such an accident in the future, other than banning cameraman from the pitlane? How else would you protect them?

      I too fear the loss of such awesome camera angles, but this is the only sensible thing to do in my estimation

      1. Glennb says:

        I agree. The hierarchy of control measures is simple:

        Elimination
        Isolation
        Engineering
        Administrative
        PPE

        The new rule Eliminates the hazard of non-essential personnel getting injured.

      2. floodo1 says:

        mmmmmmm safety training!

      3. Simmo says:

        Protective gear like all of the pit crew have to wear should provide some protection.

    5. RobertS says:

      +1. I think this is a knee jerk reaction

  13. SuperStaffy says:

    I think all these proposed change make sense. Remote cameras and pit wall coverage should mean little impact to race coverage.

    Also, the statement “must then leave the pit lane as soon as work is completed” implies that the garage is not considered part of the pit lane. Can we assume that media/non-team personnel and will still be permitted in the garage up to a ‘line’ designating the pit lane?

    1. Tim says:

      I think the line defining where the pit lane starts, already exists. I was watching one of Teds notebook shows and the line and a warning sign was painted on the floor.

  14. Joe S says:

    I guess with any cameras being from the pitwall it means the close-ups on the right-hand side of the car will be no more. Shame but safety is crucial.

    What exactly has prompted the speed-limit change though?

    1. Random 79 says:

      Maybe the speed limit change is a pre-emptive thing for a change instead of the usual locking the barn door after horse has already legged it :)

    2. snailtrail says:

      “What exactly has prompted the speed-limit change though?”

      The difference is that instead of being killed someone may end up as a vegetable for the rest of their life…

      Great reaction by the FIA.

    3. JCA says:

      I thought the speed limit change was coming next year anyway, so they are just bringing it forward. I think if the cars are going slower, that it would be easier to release cars into the traffic after tyre stops.

  15. RobertS says:

    This incident was bad and should of been avoided. But I feel these changes are a knee jerk reaction. No more close ups to put stops. It will zoomed in from the pit wall. James do you know how this affects reporters in the pits like ted kravits on sky or Gary Anderson. Will they still be allowed to go from garage to garage?

    1. Matthew says:

      Or just use the overhead camera, which has become fairly common anyways. You get to see the whole car, instead of a mechanic’s backside. As for pitlane reporters, if they can’t go through the front then surely they can move via the rear?

    2. Tim says:

      Sorry, I am not James. I would say not, if it means they are walking down the pit lane during the race. The wording is pretty clear, team personnel and marshals only in the pit lane during qualifying and the race. I guess they could go in and out of the back of the garages and walk up/down the paddock area to have a snoop around.

      1. John T says:

        What’s stopping the tv coverage from using cameras on wire or rails in the pit lane. No human in danger and the camera can still get close to the action without getting in the way.

  16. Dave P says:

    Will this mean that reporters like Ted Kravits et all will no longer be able to get close to the action… move between teams etc?

    1. Tom says:

      I want to know this as well.

    2. Jon T says:

      Ted himself said no on Twitter. He spends most of his time in the garages, not the pit lane itself, so it shouldn’t affect him.

  17. Schnell! schnell! says:

    I hope they’ll allow cameras behind the prat perches.

    Frankly I don’t know why FOM didn’t equip their crew with helmets or a minder, but never mind.

    1. SteveH says:

      Why not move all the ‘prat perches’ into the garage or the motor homes? All the engineers are watching monitors anyway; they can do that just as well from anywhere.

  18. Craig says:

    How about helmets for camera-people in the pit lane? Surely you can afford it, Bernie.

    1. JCA says:

      They would have problems with the viewfinder of the camera. I would think some form of body armour or flack jacket would also be a prerequisite in the pitlane.

  19. Random 79 says:

    Just in the nick of time too.

    And in related news…

    http://www.formula1.com/news/headlines/2013/7/14787.html

    ‘To safeguard the individual’s privacy, no further comment will be made.’

    This after previously splashing Paul’s name on this page:

    http://www.formula1.com/news/headlines/2013/7/14783.html

    …which has since been quietly edited.

    Still, better late than never and it’s good to hear that Paul should be okay :)

  20. Paul Kirk says:

    Funny how these things only happen to Mark!
    I’ve always suspected his crew wasn’t up to the standard of Vetal’s.
    PK.

    1. RodgerT says:

      I’m fairly sure that while each car has its own set of mechanics to build up and adjust the car, the pit crew is the same for both during the race.

      1. Tom says:

        Not always.

      2. johnLAD says:

        Yes always….how many times have you seen cars double stack in the pits and the crews change over?

    2. snailtrail says:

      I thought it is the same crew for both cars – am I wrong?

    3. Scuderia McLaren says:

      Oh come on!

      Are you honestly suggesting that… Oh nevermind. Why bother.

  21. Pete Johnson says:

    That’s a good step in terms of safety but I think they could do more to reduce the disproportionate level of importance to which pitstop times have evolved. Too many wheel nut incidents have wrecked driver’s races. I don’t care if tyres are changed in a 2 seconds – it’s not that interesting. I want on track action between great drivers. They should look at a minimum pit stop time of say 5 to 6 seconds to ease the pressure on pit crews.

    1. BRad says:

      Slimple …..bring back refueling. Oh, that’s too dangerous.

    2. Adrian J says:

      Mandate that all cars must have a minimum of 4 nuts on each wheel.

      Yes it would fundamentally change how the wheels are attached to the cars and would slow down pit stops, but the chances of 1 nut not attaching properly are significantly higher than the chances of 4 nuts all failing to hold the wheel on.

      But then surely this is too simple a suggestion for F1…

  22. Doug says:

    Hmm, so no commentators/media?

  23. Endres says:

    The most relevant, and very much overdue, aspect of this rule is the directive for everyone to “leave the pit lane as soon as work is completed.”

    We always witness people lounging around in the pit lane for no particular reason other than to be close to the action.

    This was just stupidity at best, considering what takes place in this area of the track.

    God speed Murray.

    1. JCA says:

      There is the problem of the airlines for the wheel guns, though. They might have to give drive throughs if a driver cuts into the next pitbox.

  24. MrF1 says:

    I agree that pit stops should be slowed. Reduce the number of personell working on the car during the stop.
    It seems all lollypop staff just count to 2 and release the car regardless if its finished or if another car is entering pit lane.
    Also PPE for all people in pit lane

  25. Seifenkistler says:

    I start to hate all these comments about the conspiracy against Webber.
    Isn’t it more evil that the german minister for inner affairs forced Mercedes at qualifying to prevent a victory of a german car with a german driver at the german grand prix to stop national proud and possible raising of new neonazism?

    Okay that was a sarcastic comment while being bored doing nightwatch at volunteer firefighters. I think noone with a clear mind riscs a box stop with a car leaving in a possible deadly setup.

    What are the maths for the height of a tyre going wild at 80 instead 100?

    And why don’t forcing the speed limiter on a car when frontwing is loose, tyre parts flying away,…

    1. JCA says:

      I think it would be easier for the teams to release a car back into traffic inside the pitlane safely, if the traffic is going slower.

  26. PB says:

    Does that mean there will be no video coverage from the pitlane? What a shame if this is the case!

    While it is extremely sad for the cameraman who got it, this appears to be a kneejerk reaction and a bit OTT. Surely there could’ve been a better compromise?

    Also, what about the team members on the pitwall? Depending upon when the tyre comes loose from the car, it can very well head towards one of them.

    1. JCA says:

      There is still the overhead cameras. They can geat their ranging shots from the pit wall, or from slightly inside a garage.

  27. Martin says:

    Bernie and FIA
    have their cart and horse mixed up !
    Surely, it’s imperative to ensure that NO MORE flying wheels can happen, rather than ban people from the pit lane !
    Not to mention that people on the pit wall are in MORE danger the ones in the pit lane,
    i.e. the cameraman was knocked down, but if he got / someone gets / hit on the pit wall, they could be between 60mph 15kg wheel and a hard wall !
    It’s not rocket science to ensure that cars can’t leave until all 4 wheels are properly attached !

    Gary Anderson is suggesting that pit stops should be slowed down in the interest of safety, perhaps by limiting the Nos. of pit crew to 10 (currently it’s 22 ish…)
    but in my view that doesn’t necessarily make it safer.
    I suggest it need three observers to release the car safely. Two standing at the back, pressing their green light only when ALL removed tyres, wheel guns and hands are 10″ from the car’s wheels.
    Third observer monitors the pit lane, driver can only leave on seeing 3 green lights.
    It, or something like it might have to be mandatory.
    A minimum time of 3 sec. would probably be sensible idea too.
    Regards,
    “Martin”

    1. Owen Brooker says:

      This is exactly on the lines I was thinking. Pit stops have become so quick there is no margin for error. We have had more wheels not correctly fitted in the last 2 or 3 years than in previous 50 years put together. A car should not be released until all 4 gun operators have signalled the wheels are correctly fitted. Better still an electronic system that will not let the car move if the wheel nut is not properly engaged.

      1. Adrian J says:

        Surely just multiple wheel nuts on each wheel??

  28. howardm says:

    Looks like time for remote controlled helicopter camera devices, they can hover, fly up and down pit lane. Great for television, come on Bernie lets hit the space age. One man doing all the work

    1. Wade Parmino says:

      And when one of these crashes into someone…?

      1. howardm says:

        Wade,
        These camera platforms as they are sometimes referred to are so state of the art its not funny. They have all sorts of controls that even the military use them. and weigh less than a wheel doing how many kilometres per hour when hitting a stationary object. They can be programmed to perform all sorts of tasks. Fantastic for television.

      2. Wade Parmino says:

        F1 cars are ‘state of the art’ and these still malfunction on occasion. The copter as a unit might be moving very slowly but I doubt the rotor blades are. The military would use them for military purposes, not filming a sporting event.

        A better idea would be to have an array of cameras along the pitwall facing the garages which can be remotely adjusted on a fixed pivot. Or how about a helmet camera on the lollypop man; that should provide a pretty decent view of a pitstop (could also help in determining an unsafe release).

      3. Simmo says:

        Then the helicopter must serve a drive through

  29. Jake says:

    Is there anybody in the FIA with half a brain? If so can they step up and start taking responsibility for their actions. They introduce artificially fast degrading tyres forcing more pit stop and are surprised to find an increase in pit lane incidents, really nobody thought this would happen? The FIA solution is to remove the “unnecessary” people from the pits, essentially the media. So on the one hand the importance of the pit stops are increased but coverage of this now vital part of the race action is reduced. Way to go FIA.

    1. JCA says:

      Well, there is still overhead and on board cameras, and the manned cameras will just be a bit further back into the garage or on the pitwall, not a disaster imo.

      I think the FIA were forced into these tyres to increase overtaking through difference in grip between cars, because the teams don’t want to change the aero dependence of the cars. It would mean starting over from a blank page, which would cost a lot of money, and you can get it catastrophically wrong and go bankrupt. Even with the changes for next year, the cars will still create a lot of turbulent air, making overtaking without drs difficult.

  30. BRad says:

    My God! Its a dangerous sport. F1 really is losing its appeal as the premium motorsport category. I think Webber has made the best move of his career into sports cars le man series. F1 is being run by a geriatric and his lapdogs. Sad. Very sad.

  31. Scuderia McLaren says:

    I can’t help but think this is overkill. Perhaps not “overkill” but a poorly thought out and impulsive reaction to the horrible accident. I dont feel the world would have minded if more thought was invested into a solution and less effort spent on political posturing about saftey resulting in immediate solutions. I admit when I watched this, I immediately felt sick and was very surprised that in essence the unlucky camera man was fine. This season to me seems like its had a raft of technical or sporting issues and its been knee jerk reaction after knee jerk reaction. Almost all issues after the fact were storms in tea cups. Think multi21, Mercedes barca test, tyres tyres tyres, and this. Yes they are worthy issues of comment but F1 seems to have a propensity to exaggerate and act on issues that frankly are not. More so this season I think.

  32. Sid says:

    Knee jerk reaction!

  33. lethalnz says:

    pit lane speed is going to cause some concerns for front runners, making them come out even further behind cars that are on a different strategy, “good for us”
    but the rest is just a knee jerk reaction, it has happened before and will happen again while teams are driving to decrease time in the pits.
    there are definitely safer ways of collecting TV footage with helmet/pit cams.
    it will get sorted no doubt, but people will still get hurt, it is the nature of F1 dangerous high speed racing.

    1. Phill says:

      Why should people have to go to work fearing for their life? I bet if you turned up to your cleaning job and had to clean up acid with your bare hands you wouldnt be too happy about it would you?? Of course they needed to take these steps. Do you really think the FIA need more people dying on their hands?

  34. Craig in Manila says:

    James,

    Was there any explanation as to why team-personnel working on cars need to wear helmets but nobody else (marshalls & fireys, pit-wall people, pirelli people, whoever) will (apparently) not need/have to wear them ?

    Just seems odd that the teams are being told to protect certain people but other people will be seemingly unprotected ?

    1. Jake says:

      The others are expendable, there are plenty managers around to replace the few that are lost thru’ these incidents, ask Merc. Trained mechanics are much harder to find and therefore more valuable so have to be protected. :-)

  35. S2K says:

    First the fans, now the media. Who’s next?

    1. Random 79 says:

      The drivers. Give it time.

    2. Jake says:

      Bernie does not have to be there. Is he banned from the pit lane?

      1. Random 79 says:

        Probably not, but I have an idea that he probably likes to hang out in the executive lounge during the race anyway.

  36. Warren G says:

    Do these changes apply only to F1, or to all racing series run by the FIA? In the interests of safety, and if this is their proposed solution, surely it should be applied universally?

    I tend to agree with comments though in relation to the fact that it would be better to ensure we don’t have loose wheels in pit lane and for a system to be put in place that ensures cars aren’t able to leave until all the wheels are securely fastened.

  37. Colonel S says:

    The sterilization of f1 continues,

  38. Jon says:

    I feel this is the right thing to do – especially for cameramen, who are likely to be looking down the camera, and not at what might be coming – looking at the footage Allen had no chance.

    I don’t expect there to be any loss of experience for the viewer here – just that the producers/cameramen will have to innovate a little. Possibles might be:

    - Cameras mounted on team equipment, eg the car jacks.
    - Cameras mounted on team members – helmet cams etc?
    - Cameras operated by team members?

    What I’d really like is one of those fly over cameras on a wire running up the length of the pit lane – would be a fantastic angle.

    1. GWD says:

      The ‘spidercam’ application appears to be the idea, but for the pit gantries and people and cars heading in directions at unpredictable moments (there would be a lag between TV race direction seeing an action and the director getting the thing out of the way in time). This doesn’t mean that they can’t be innovative and do a spidercam-like operation that both negotiates these gantries and keeps out of the way of normal pit crew and cars. It would be a hell of challenge to design, but if you get it right, it mostly solves the problem and the designer makes a huge chunk of money in the process…

  39. Mike Ede says:

    Why not mandate a much more reliable and mistake proof method of seating the wheel and wheel nut than the current useless arms race for the fastest pit stops ever?

  40. Jake says:

    How about the car can’t be released until the pit crew are back in the garage or at least on the other side of a designated line.
    This will eliminate cars being released while the crew are still fitting wheels, cars running over the jack man and a multitude of other dangerous scenarios. It increases safety and has health benefits as the pit crew will have to be quick afoot.

    1. SteveH says:

      That’s a good thought. There could be a line painted on each side and behind the pit and all pit crew have to be standing behind it (them) before the car can be released. If there was a problem with a wheel the crew would still be there trying to fit the wheel, so no release. Also, this would eliminate the possibility of a pit crew being run over.

    2. Random 79 says:

      ‘and has health benefits as the pit crew will have to be quick afoot’

      You should be selling this on late night TV Jake…but wait, there’s more! :)

  41. Lewis says:

    James,
    Isn’t one of the key problems in F1 the use of artificial measures to reduce pole to flag snore fests?
    One of the key ways to do this is to increase the ability to have different strategies.
    A key driver of this is having different pitstops equate to similar total race times.
    Look at Canada, where the loss from a pitstop is small, cars are likely to try different things, without the need for DRS.
    Making pitstops loss small amounts of time should be a key metric that rule changes to try to improve!

  42. Phil Shotton says:

    Eh?

    How does this stop Red Bull (or any other team) incorrectly releasing a car, and a stray wheel hitting someone else?

    This is a gross mistake. They should enforce anyone in the pitlane wearing headgear, such as they already do at Le Mans.

    But really?? This is not the way to resolve a safety issue!! Why not ban everyone, then there’s no one there to get hit by a stray wheel or other items…

    #epicfail by fia here

      1. Jake says:

        And the driver has to get out of the car in case a wayward robot tries to unscrew his head with a wheel gun. :-)

      2. Random 79 says:

        I always wanted to know what makes an F1 driver tick ;)

      3. Tyemz says:

        Hahaha a good sci-fi plot really. Now you ‘ve really got me laughing my head off!

  43. Phil Shotton says:

    Furthermore you could quite easily see from the footage that there was an issue with the Right Rear on that car, one of the mechanics still had his hand near the tyre, when the car was released. It’s because the stops are so quick that people are making errors and then causing these accidents.

    1. Random 79 says:

      Bingo – and that’s what needs to change :)

  44. Wild Man says:

    Not once in the articles about this have I seen any reference about the mechanic who had his hand on the tyre when Mark was released. You watch the replay of the shot from above of the pitstop. I think the mechanic thought it was lucky that he still had his hand. He looked at his hand for some time.

  45. Andrewinwork says:

    The report could make interesting reading…
    So we told the guy on the rear tyre that we needed to make a gap between Webby and Seb (our Mr Webby has got so feisty of late) so he took an extra two seconds. Unfortunately we forgot to let the lolipop man in on our plan so he released him. Very sorry

  46. Oz Geeza says:

    The Mighty Ship the SS F1, is loosing an a
    other bit of sail, the gloss is continuing
    to fall of, the once a “Hot news from the
    Horses mouth “will be there no more, F1 fans
    must now wait till post-mortal of the race.
    Universal rule, participating in any competition the onus is on the team competing
    to ensure the duty of care.
    Yup,FIA keeps eroding the good things in F1
    soon it will be a big yawn in the weekend of F1,sad but true

  47. Phil R says:

    Would require a bit of tech to be developed, nothing too hardcore, but I think it would help if the lollipop man had a remote cut for the car once it has left the stop. Changing tyres rapidly is always going to lead to errors and them falling off (yes, even if they aren’t fast degrading pirelli’s…) as happened to Mansell in 91 and Alonso in 2009. This would limit the damage as the energy involved would be reduced, and can also be used to reduce the chance of a collision if the car is released into another one.

    1. Random 79 says:

      In the case of Webber’s wheel it came off almost instantly, but there was already enough energy to do some damage.

      Besides, there’s no way a lollipop man is going to have faster reflexes than an F1 driver – if he did the car probably wouldn’t be released in the first place.

  48. Fellowes says:

    Perhaps the whole pit-stop routine should be changed – how about if mechanics are not allowed to leave the garage until the car is at a stand-still in the pit-box, and then the car is not allowed to leave until all mechanics are back in the garage. Teams have got pitstops down below 3 seconds now, so they are near peak performance, this kind of change will introduce new dynamics and challenges to the stops, reduce the amount of personnel in the pit lane, and reduce the level of risk for unsafe releases. Thoughts?

    1. Random 79 says:

      Nice idea…not sure about the first part where the crew would have to wait for the car to stop in the box, but it would stop them coming out for dummy pit stops :)

  49. Mike says:

    The reaction to the incident is not addressing the root cause, which was a car leaving the pit box with an incorrectly attached wheel. Not because the media are in the pitlane during a race.

    What would the FIA’s reponse be if the wheel struck another teams’ mechanics. Ban mechanics from being in the pitlane???

    If I remember correctly the Lotus mechanics jumped out of the way, if the Lotus mechanics were servicing a car then they would not have noticed the wheel rolling towards them and that pit crew or car would have been hit.

    This measure isn’t addressing the issue, it is merely removing some people from the firing line when a wheel isn’t attached properly. With pit stop times getting faster and faster errors are going to arise and a wheel becoming detached will happen again this season and there is the potential to seriously injury anyone in the pit lane.

    It is a quick response by the FIA which hasn’t been thought through properly.

    A safer solution, in my opinion, would be to slow down the speed of the pit stop. At Le Mans the number of team members that can touch the car at any one time is limited. Maybe F1 should introduce that. Or bring back re-fueling that puts less pressure on the mechanics changing the wheels but does obviously introduce another variable with potentially dangerous consequences.

    1. Phil Shotton says:

      Agree with this, apart from refuelling.

    2. Jason Blankenship says:

      Best post of the thread. I agree with everything you said.

    3. aveli says:

      all the technical staff are there to prepare their cars to race so they are equipped with tools and skills to deal with the dangers of the pit lane during events. the media staff are not trained for safety in the pit lane and are not suitably dressed with the right safety protection. the press are there to see things which they find interesting and dont seem to look out for danger. we saw how the mechanics reacted to the tyre and how that poor cameraman reacted. the most convenient way to protect them is to keep them out of the pit lane during events and allow them into the pit lanes after and before events.
      ecclestone is right as usual.

      1. Random 79 says:

        ‘How that poor cameraman reacted’

        It could just be me but I don’t recall him reacting at all.

        You could train the camera guys and give them proper safety equipment, but I think the basic problem is that when you’re looking through a camera you’re ignoring everything else…especially if it’s sneaking up behind you.

        I don’t think this ban is a good long term solution, but it is a very good short term solution that shows that the FIA did react to a serious incident, which is kind of what they had to do.

      2. aveli says:

        interesting reply from you.
        a safety training for media would include a lookouts who would ensure that they are informed of any potential danger, giving them the comfort of looking down their camera lenses in absolute confidence that their lookouts had been fully trained to spot danger from all angles and know exactly how to react to any alarm raised by the lookouts.
        as far as the cameraman is concerned, have you never seen zero marked on any scale?

      3. Random 79 says:

        …and an interesting supply from you aveli, I have indeed seen zero many time on a scale :)

        Nice idea about the lookouts, but it would likely end up being the same problem in reverse:

        While the lookout is looking out for random tyres making a bid for freedom and other hazards, the cameraman might might be darting off in the opposite direction to get a closer shot of another pit stop or damage to a car leaving both guys with no one watching their six.

        Besides, a lookout for every cameraman means twice as much media personnel in the pit lane, which was probably crowded enough as it was.

      4. aveli says:

        random 79, i wish i was as good with ifs as you are.
        there already are lookouts in the pitlane. how difficult would it be to provide an earpiece for each person in the pitlane through which an alarm can be raised of any danger or potential danger? if a patient has a cardiac arrest in hospital, all doctors are alerted and they rush to the scene. it is possible to make the pitlane a lot safer than it is now.

      5. Random 79 says:

        Obviously I was thinking something completely different, but if a lookout system was implemented like that?

        Yep, that is a good idea :)

      6. aveli says:

        random 79, i wish i was as good with ifs as you are.
        there already are lookouts in the pitlane. how difficult would it be to provide an earpiece for each person in the pitlane through which an alarm can be raised of any danger or potential danger? if a patient has a cardiac arrest in hospital, all doctors are alerted and they rush to the scene. it is possible to make the pitlane a lot safer than it is now. we all saw the tyre long before its encounter with the poor cameraman. if we had a way of telling him to get out of the way would he not have got out of the way to safety?

      7. Random 79 says:

        All right, all right lol! I got it!

      8. Andrewinwork says:

        I can see the popint you are making but if I may I’d like to point out a couple of areas where I’d disagree.
        If we start with your comment about the training of the pit teams; the mechanics in the neighbouring garage could react because they’d seen the situation develop and reacted to the shouts and gesticulations from the Red Bull team. Had they been servicing one of their own cars when this happened then they would not have been in a position to react and death or very serious injury would have been a likely outcome.
        The lack of reaction from the camera man was not down to lack of training but simply because he was out of earshot and had his back to the incident.
        Based on this I’d agree wiuth the banning of all but team members from the area but that alone will not prevent a serious injury when this next happens. This needs to be an interim step on the way to developing (with all the teams)a safe release system

      9. aveli says:

        interesting reply but i found out that prophecy is the least paid profession as a result am not good at ifs.
        what i do know however is that every pit crew has lookouts to spot danger coming their way while they are on duty.
        this is the reason teams get fined for unsafe releases.

      10. Mike says:

        Yes, we did see the mechanics jumping out of the way but if the mechanics were servicing a car then they would have had their eyes on the job of removing wheels from their car and not looking up the pit lane waiting for their car to arrive. The only reason the mechanics jumped out of the way was because they saw the wheel coming.

        If the wheel had hit the medical team at the end of the pit lane would you remove them from the pit lane? You can’t just keep removing certain sectors of the people in the pitlane everytime someone gets hit by something otherwise you would end up with no-one being allowed into the pit lane.

        What is preventing the FIA from providing suitable PPE and training to highlight the dangers of working in the pit lane for everyone (not just the media)?

        This is not the answer and us fans will suffer as a result.

      11. aveli says:

        please take it easy on me but i thought all pit crew had lookouts to spot danger coming their way while they were on duty.
        you are right about the danger training for all on duty in the pit lanes during sessions. the pit crew already are prepared for all kinds of danger in the pit lane.

    4. Fahim says:

      totally agree.

      They should make ALL cars come to a complete STOP for a period of at least 10 seconds. (i’m just making up numbers here)

      This way they can get the tyres on in 2 seconds, and have 8 seconds to check the wheel nut is on tight.

      1. aveli says:

        not a good idea, pit stop competitions add spice up the chase.
        leave them as they are and health and safety train everyone in the pit lane during sessions.

    5. aveli says:

      youre right about addressing the route cause but until a solution is found, developed and implimented, the ban is perfect. all the pit crew have lookouts for danger coming their way. the are fully prepared for all known possible dangers. sensors on the wheel nuts to prevent the car from engaging a gear if the wheel nut isn’t secured is a perfect solution but how long will it take to put that into action?
      f1 has surely learned a new lesson. don’t forget that it was an accident. the redbull crew were simply trying to win a race. they didn’t intend to endanger anyone’s life in the process.

  50. Scott D says:

    The cameraman was fully aware of the risks of being in the pit lane. What needs to be looked at is why this happens and prevent any car being released until all wheels are engaged, by electronic means or otherwise. Banning media from the pit lane is not addressing the issue, and may have ultimately cost this poor chap his job as well.

    1. Random 79 says:

      ‘May have ultimately cost this poor chap his job as well.’

      Very good point, it could be a double whammy.

      There’s nothing quite like looking after the safety of your employees by having them made redundant.

  51. Quade says:

    Aren’t the tyres meant to be tethered? Thats one thing that puzzles me about the incident.
    A tethered tyre surely would not have made such a dangerous bid for freedom. The matter should be viewed as a grave breach of safety, in which case, Red Bulls piffling 30K Euro fine is a cruel joke.

    1. SteveH says:

      No, the upright is tethered to the car, not the wheel.

    2. Random 79 says:

      The tethers only work once the wheel is properly attached in the pits – until then it’s a free for all.

      Totally agree with the last part. 30K when you have (allegedly) a three hundred million budget and your boss has (again allegedly) over five billion to his name? Piffling is as good a word as any and they wouldn’t have even felt it.

      I think the real penalty might be how the other teams and the F1 community in general feel about the team and their procedures, and of course (hopefully) their own conscience.

      Thinking about it I’m actually surprised that I haven’t read any official statement and apology from RBR. Have they made one that I’ve missed?

  52. Peruvian says:

    how about those slilly air guns… come on, several hoses running around it has got to be a troublesome garage for pit crew.
    Get rid of the houses, it has cause accidents before, where a hose gets tungle with the rear wheel of a car getting out of a pit stop hurting a neighbor mechanic…. I agree with a comment left earlier, that FIA is run by a Geriatic bunch of people that only want to get richer rather than improving the sport. my 0.02 cents.

    1. Jason Blankenship says:

      Exactly. This sport will immediately improve when Bernie Ecclestone and Jean Todt step aside. They greatly need new blood, and frankly, younger blood, to run the sport.

  53. Paul C says:

    My thoughts:
    1. Pit stop speeds are probably getting a bit silly now on safety grounds.
    2. I think to slow them down a little there should be a reduction in wheel gun speeds and also a look at the number of team personnel allowed to work on the car for a fixed time when the car first arrives in its pit box. After which more personnel would be allowed to cover for any car issues.
    3. I happen to think the fine handed to RBR is a joke! The wheel leaving Webbers car and hitting the cameraman is entirely the fault of RBR. The €30,000 fine is minimal for a team like theirs and I imagine would hardly cover the cost of the immediate medical treatment and the rehabilitation therapy that may be required in the future. The fine should have been much more. Especially when you consider this is not the first time RBR have unsafely released Webber this year.
    What do you think James?

    1. James Allen says:

      Definitely time to review pit stop safety

      Not sure about RBR fine. I think they feel pretty bad already

      There is no way they tried to sabotage Webber’s race as some have suggested, by not fixing wheel on

      The mechanics simply would not take part in something like that

      1. Paul C says:

        James I wasn’t suggesting sabotage, just carelessness in this instance. Although you saying “the mechanics simply would not take part in something like that” made me immediately think back to Singapore “crashgate.” I’m sure we all thought Briatore, Symonds & Piquet jr would not have taken part in that either?!?

      2. James Allen says:

        Management can always do things, but the boys on the shop floor – no way. Word would get out

      3. Iwan says:

        So just to be clear, James, does this mean no pit stop footage during the race? It seems pretty clear that it does, but surely it can’t be? That’s chucking out a vital part of the TV spectecal?

      4. Jake says:

        We would still have remote cameras and long range shots from the pit wall.

      5. Tim L says:

        That is exactly wast it means

      6. JohnBt says:

        [There is no way they tried to sabotage Webber’s race as some have suggested, by not fixing wheel on]

        GOSH!!! how could fans ever think of that. It’s worse than hooliganism if teams are trying to cripple a teammate. And it’s real stupid cos they need points from the number two driver which is where the money is for the constructor championship.

      7. wolf says:

        James I don’t for a minute think a team would deliberately send a car out on 3 wheels, but would any of the boys on the shop floor ever consider taking an extra second or so to create a gap between the cars?

      8. James Allen says:

        No. It simply doesn’t work like that.

        Have you ever met any F1 mechanics? They are more competitive than the drivers! They work insane hours to try to do well.

        Why would they throw that up in the air to deliberately sabotage one of their drivers?

        If you wanted to do that you might do it at a management level, bringing him in at the wrong time, so he exits into traffic etc. But somewhere it’s hard to prove.

        But you’d never get the buy in of the lads on the shop floor. Also their professional standards would recoil at the idea of endangering their colleagues in other teams down the pit lane with a loose wheel travelling at 80 km/h

        Anyone who thinks that RBR did that to Webber needs to take a huge reality check

      9. John T says:

        Alleluia! Thank you James.
        Not that it’s going to stop the conspiracy theorists.

      10. Scuderia McLaren says:

        Hope everyone took note of what James said.

  54. SuperSi says:

    I think RBR should be given a reprimand or at least a severe warning because how many Red Bull wheels have we seen this season bouncing down the road. China stands out where Webbers wheel nearly took out Vettel. Hamilton was right when he said last week that “things will only change when someone gets really hurt”.

    1. Random 79 says:

      ‘China stands out where Webbers wheel nearly took out Vettel’

      Webber gave it a good try, but unfortunately at that stage Red Bull still hadn’t got all the bugs out of it’s Pirelli Heat Seeking Homing Device®, now available in all good toy stores.

  55. Luke says:

    Perhaps there should be a 10 mile exclusion zone around F1 circuits during Grands Prix. For safety’s sake.

  56. NoMU says:

    So, no more cameras in the pits because a wheel nut missed its mark – bravo FIA!

    1. aveli says:

      health and safety first, entertainment second.

  57. Luke says:

    The real problem here is the pitlane itself. The pitlane as a concept has been around since the dawn of motorsport. Back then, it wouldn’t have been the frenetic place it is now. There is simply no way to make a confined space where people and racing cars coexist completely safe.

    Therefore, we need to think outside the box (if you’ll pardon the pun). Pitstops are getting stupidly short and the urgency makes incidents like the Webber one more likely. So, why not wheel the cars backwards into the garage? That way, the mechanics (and cameramen) would be working in safety and the driver would be able to see if any cars were coming when he left the pitlane. Only a couple of mechanics would ever need to stand in the pitlane (to push the car in). It might not work with narrower pitlanes, but otherwise ought to be possible.

    I’m clear that this is a radical idea. But sometimes radical thinking is what’s needed.

    1. Random 79 says:

      ‘Sometimes radical thinking is what’s needed’

      You’re right, but I can’t see this idea working. There are already enough incidents when a car pulls in to the right and then takes off again in a (more or less) straight line under its own power.

      With your idea first the car would have to pull to the left, stop in the way of other traffic, and then be slowly wheeled in to the garage backwards. In the garage the mechanics could work safely, but they’d usually only be working for three or four seconds tops, and then some guy has to stand back out in the pit lane so that they can make sure that no other driver is coming before the driver swings out under low speed – I imagine that between the HANS device and their helmet the driver wouldn’t be able to see far enough to the left while the car is starting to turn to the right on the exit to judge for themselves…and even if all that is feasible, at the end of the day the drivers are still human and can make mistakes like everyone else.

      I don’t mean to bag you Luke because I do like to see fresh thinking, but any real solution to a problem has to be based on fixing the real cause of the problem, and in this case I tend to agree with a few others in that the cause of these incidents is the mechanics being under immense pressure and rushing, which in the end always leads to unnecessary mistakes.

      Regulations to slow down the stops to give the pit crew time to do their jobs right should I think alleviate a lot of these problems.

  58. Bruce says:

    Do Red Bull have some sort of ‘auto release’ system (as Darren Heath suggested on his blog). The mechanic knew the wheel wasn’t secured yet the car was released. Could it be some sort of electronic connection from the wheel gun?

  59. Seifenkistler says:

    The box crew has to wield a kevlar police shield in one hand. The entering and leaving of the pit lane has to be done in the correct ancient roman turtle formation.
    All work on the car has to be done with all workers and the car fully covered by the shields.

    So do you really think we will need a cameraman if there is nothing to see of the pit stop because of the shields?

    1. Michael says:

      I know you jest but perhaps having segregation between each garage (something capable of withstanding a wheel) which can be removed when the pit crew come out. This would effectively cordon each area and reduce the risk significantly. The only problem would be visibility for the lollipop man – though I think that could easily be resolved.

      Also remove the stupid light system – this is the real issue – the light for Webber went green and that is what he looks at. At least the lollipop man has a chance to put the stick back down.

  60. JohnBt says:

    Motor racing will always be dangerous so I guess those freak accidents or incidents will trigger safety measures. They improve as they go along and will continue to do so.

    So looks like across the pit lane will be packed sardines which can even be worse. Team principles wil not like it one bit for sure. Will surely miss the closed up tv images and Ted reports will no longer be possible which is rather important IMO.

    Can’t they just fix a cam just above the poles holding the wheel guns wiring system? Just a thought.

    1. Phil Shotton says:

      They did, at Le Mans. The Caterham (!) entered cars had cameras mounted on the air line poles and also the rear of the prat perches.

  61. Glennb says:

    Why is it always the Right Rear?

  62. Colin says:

    How about installing load cells in the hub that have to be compressed by a correctly torqued wheel nut. Then make it so the car can’t get out of neutral without four correctly torqued nuts detected. To ensure safety the design of such a system could be a control part

    1. tom eckles says:

      I was about to type something similar. With the technology in Formula One, one would think it would be simple to put sensors on the wheel nuts. Disabling the clutch or the rear jack would then seem simple.
      The FIA Completely missed solving the problem.

      I also like the idea of limiting the number of pit crew. The pitstops are so fast now we cannot actually see what’s going on. It’s much more enjoyable to see each individual person working on the car rather than a blur of a mass of people.

  63. Matt W says:

    One thing they should do is ban the traffic light system that replaced the lollipop. Ever since we went to the lollipop system we have seen numerous unsafe releases per race, this never used to be the case.

    They also need to actually enforce the unsafe release rules. I have seen numerous close calls (which unfortunately seem to be Ferrari a lot of the time) which haven’t even been investigated. Cars absolutely should never be running side by side in the pit lane and in those cases the released car should always yield immediately to the car already in motion. Teams seem to be very blaise in that area these days, it used to be seen as totally taboo for cars to run side by side in the pits but these days it is a regular occurence.

    I’d also support an instant black flag to any car that has a wheel come off as that is an extremely serious safety incident.

    It’s actually relatively simple to solve some of these safety issues. The FIA don’t need to get complicated about it.

  64. Scott says:

    There’s only one definitive answer. Proper tyres that can last a whole race so there is no need for pit stops at all. Easy.

  65. aveli says:

    there should be a health and safety training for all people in the pit lane and they should all be provided with the correct safety protection. a well trained and equipped group of people are more likely to do a better job than a group of sensible people without training and the right equipment. hamilton would suggest the same.

  66. Fahim says:

    I think there should be a compulsory minimum time set for all pit-stops like they do in endurance races…

    this would increase safety and reduce teams messing up a drivers race.

    It’s all fair and well that teams can change a tyre in under 2 seconds, but who cares? the race should be on the track.

    (not sure if this has already been mentioned)

  67. Phil Glass says:

    Have to say after reading the comments here I feel surprise and unease. Of course safety of all personnel is important, but this was a freak accident. No measures can eliminate danger completely out of F1 except calling off the event.

    IMHO Teams should be penalised much more heavily for accidents they cause.

    As for the media, I don’t see how they can do their job of scrutiny if they don’t have pitlane access, and I am surprised they voice approval for these new restrictions on their operations.

    1. aveli says:

      nothing is impossible in f1. f1 can excell in safety by extensively using sensors and designing an on going health and safety training program for all personnel in all areas of f1. safety in f1 has come a long way under prof watkins and still be taken further. if prof watkins has a similar attitude to yours i wonder how many drivers would die each year.

  68. Jonathan Vogt says:

    I imagine this will have a huge and detrimental effect on TV coverage of the pit lane activity going forward. Surely, as the pit activity is such a large part of the ‘show’ Bernie and all the broadcasters will be keen to come up with sort better solution than this. We’ll barely be able to see the pit stops anymore. Nor will we get the highly useful pit lane reporting, at which James used to excel so brilliantly :(

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