F1 in 2018: FIA to investigate rise in unsafe releases
Ferrari mechanic suffered broken leg when Raikkonen released early in Bahrain GP; Haas and McLaren also suffer loose wheels in 2018
Last Updated: 13/12/18 11:45am
The FIA is to launch an investigation into the rise in unsafe releases at pit stops, with race director Charlie Whiting saying the incidents are "looking less and less like a coincidence".
Ferrari mechanic Francesco Cigarini suffered a double leg fracture in Sunday's Bahrain GP after Kimi Raikkonen was given the green light to leave his pit box before his left rear tyre had been replaced.
Ferrari were fined 50,000 euros for the incident, which was the team's second unsafe release of the weekend after Raikkonen pulled over in Practice Two with a loose wheel.
The weekend problems followed on from both Haas cars being forced to retire from the Australian GP with loose wheels after wheel nuts cross threaded, while a wheel came off Fernando Alonso's McLaren during winter testing.
"It's looking less and less like a coincidence but the two incidences in Melbourne were quite clearly wheelgun operator error," Whiting told the Formula 1 website.
"They cross threaded the nuts and thought it was tight, came off and then realised a little too late it wasn't.
"[With the incident in Bahrain], the guy hadn't even taken the wheel off, which is slightly perplexing."
He added: "Alonso lost a wheel in testing if you remember we went through it all with McLaren, they gave us a report in the week.
"We discussed it with the Technical Working Group to understand it all, to make sure everybody else realises these things can happen, everyone tries to learn from them.
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"What happened was that the design of the nose piece that goes into the axel, that is the thing that holds the two-stage retention mechanism.
"But the way that is fixed into the axel was not quite strong enough so the wheel was a little bit loose, it worked itself loose because it had done four laps prior to that.
"So when the wheel started to tip a little bit, it put abnormal loads into the things that were holding the nose in and once the nose came out, there was no retention. So a lesson to be learnt there - that was shared with everyone in the Technical Working Group so that they can all look at that and make sure their designs aren't similar.
"Of course they said ours won't do that..."