Ferrari mechanic injured and Massa faces penalty threat after pit lane problems

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Ferrari sufferd two problems with their pit stops within six laps of each other during the European Grand Prix.

First Felipe Massa was released from his pit box as Adrian Sutil was going past him, and he had to drive alongside the Force India towards the pit exit. The stewards said they would rule on the matter after the race.

Then Kimi Raikkoen left his pit box while the refuelling rig was stil attached to his car. A mechanic was knocked to the floor and struck by the car, but apparently his injuries are not too severe.

Massa’s exit from the pits appeared to contravene article 23.1 (i) of the Sporting Regulations which states:

It is the responsibility of the competitor to release his car after a pit stop only when it is safe to do so.

Ferrari team boss Luca Colajanni later defend his team’s actions saying he would be “very surprised” if there was any penalty because there was “no disadvantage” to either car. But that is not what the rule is addressed at – the rule is about safety. Massa had to drive between Sutil’s car and one of the course cars as he reached the pit lane exit.

However the stewards elected not to penalise him on the track, instead deferring the matter until after the race. It’s likely that if there is a punishment it will take the form of a grid drop at the next round at Spa-Francorchamps.

Raikkonen appeared to leave his pit box before the signal to do so had been given by the team’s set of lights. Ferrari do not use a single person controlling the driver’s departure from the pits. Instead each of the mechanics has to press a button when their task is complete, and after that the care is released.

But onboard cameras suggested Raikkonen left before the green light was given. Earlier in the event other drivers had complained they were having difficulty seeing the traffic lights that control the pit lane exit – perhaps Ferrari’s own gantry was causing similar problems for their drivers?

Either way with one mechanic injured and Felipe Massa’s hard-earned victory under investigation, Ferrari will have to conduct their own inquiry into what went wrong with their pit stops.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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20 comments on “Ferrari mechanic injured and Massa faces penalty threat after pit lane problems”

  1. Kimi’s problem was completely his fault – he was simply too eager to get ahead of Heikki.

    If I was Domenicali I’d punish Kimi to watch 100 times the Canada pit saga and the moment when Kimi was pointing Hamilton to the traffic light ;-)

  2. haha Ukk, very funny.

    If I was Ferrari i’d make Kimi do more press conferences as punishment.

  3. no, if Ferrari didn’t fuel Kimi with 3-4 more laps…he would have qualified higher and wouldn’t have been in that position. In fact, he would have won the race!

    and yes, he engine wouldn’t have blown because he would have been in clean air in cruise mode after passing Massa!

  4. ive found one video; they dissapear quick.. but just at the end it is clear to see that kimi starts before red turns green

  5. paul sainsbury
    24th August 2008, 15:30

    Oh of course, he would have won the race…….excellent comical comments there…..:)

  6. FIAsco :)

    “Felipe Massa has been reprimanded and fined by the European Grand Prix stewards, but the Ferrari driver has kept his victory at Valencia.”

  7. Can’t believe Massa tried to blame it on Sutil. Basically expected him to wait in the pitlane, slow down, for Massa to go through. The guys at the back have their own race to run, Felipe.

  8. I think there’s a good chance you’ll see the ‘lolipop man’ reappear in the Ferrari pit next race…….

  9. Business as usual – Ferrari off the hook. And to blame it on Sutil was disgusting.

    If that’d been McLaren, they would have been put in front of a firing squad.

  10. Kimi is sufficiently slower over a single lap, that its to his advantage that he is fueled heavier, else he would be behind faser cars and still having to pit earlier. Even with a clear track ahead of him, Kimi was still setting slow laptimes. His engine blowing up, actually did him a favour.

  11. Fining Ferrari was the best decision, in my opinion.

    Ferrari should return back to using the lollipop. At least a lollipop man can call judgement to when to release the driver – instead of light signals simply telling the driver that all attention on the car has finished.

  12. I agree with Robert that it was inappropriate for Massa to blame it on Sutil. Ferrari has a flawed system of not employing a lollipop man, and he expects people to stop their races to give him way in the pits.

    Massa did the right thing by not pushing to get ahead on the pit exit and take the place on the track. This is right, however to expect Sutil to just stop and give him way at the pits is just wrong (he is nicer, may be it’s not arrogance).

    Otherwise, just a stunning drive from Massa from the get go.

  13. “If I was Ferrari i’d make Kimi do more press conferences as punishment.”
    Sorry Sush but i feel that would punish us a lot more than Kimi :( his monotone just makes my eyes glaze over.

  14. steve thompson
    25th August 2008, 0:41

    The mechanics are not paid enough to risk their lives like they are now forced to do in every Grand Prix. Lets get the racing and overtaking back on the track and out of the pitlane.

  15. lol JLF true say, but he really does hate them himself.

    I have bets with friends on how many times he pinches his nose during the conferences, hilarity ensues (providing beers on tap)

  16. Sush, have you ever noticed how often he tugs his earlobe too? Add that to your betting tally !

  17. yes i think it was wrong for massa to blame sutil…not a really good comment…did the right thing by pulling out but made the wrong comment…

  18. f1freak,

    How did he do the right thing by pulling out exactly?

  19. Typical!!!

    Ferrari get off with just a fine which they can easily afford, makes me wonder how much Stefano is back-handing to the FIA..

    And Massa’s comments that Sutil should have let him past, you can tell that he’s been taking lessons from Schumacher…

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