World champions Red Bull have changed their pit stop procedure after a loose rear wheel came off Mark Webber’s car in the pit lane during last Sunday’s German Grand Prix and injured an FOM television cameraman.
Paul Allen suffered broken ribs, a broken collarbone and concussion but is expected to make a full recovery. Following the incident at the Nurburgring, Red Bull carried out an investigation.
The report, which was sent to governing body the FIA and the 10 other teams on the grid, revealed that Webber’s car was released prematurely because a “go” signal was sent accidentally by the right rear wheel man.
The right rear nut cross-threaded as the wheel went on. When the mechanic removed the nut to put another on, his wheel gun slipped in his hand and accidentally depressed a trigger that sent the “go” signal to the man on the front jack.
As a result, the car was cleared to leave the pits even though the rear wheel was not attached. The team said they would revise the wheel gun’s design to ensure the “go” signal could not be sent by accident.
The front jack man will also be instructed to hold the car in the event of any problem and only release it when given a signal that all wheels have been fitted and fastened in place. Red Bull’s pit stop current system has been in place for more than a year.
Red Bull’s procedural changes follow the FIA’s clampdown on the people who are allowed in the pit lane during a race weekend.
A ban has been put on anyone other than marshals and team personnel being allowed in the pit lane during qualifying session and the race.
And on Thursday, the BBC reported that rights holder FOM has told broadcasters that their personnel, including pit lane reporters and camera crews, will not be allowed in the pit lane during any session on “safety” grounds. Written journalists and photographers will still be permitted.