Kimi Räikkönen’s Ferrari team didn’t have the best weekend at the Formula One Bahrain Grand Prix, since a mishap during pit stops left a team mechanic with a snapped leg and Räikkönen out of the race early. Ferrari and did an investigation into what happened, and it turned out to be a system failure in the team’s pit.
F1 fined Ferrari 50,000 euros, or nearly $62,000, for the pit stop. It happened just past halfway in the race, when Räikkönen left pit lane before his stop was done and caught mechanic Francesco Cigarini’s leg with his back tire. Cigarini went to a nearby hospital with a fractured tibia and fibula, posting a photo after surgery to say that it went well and he appreciated people thinking about him.
Here’s video of the stop, which is graphic:
Räikkönen said he wasn’t aware that the stop was still ongoing, since a green light came on in the pit to signal for him to leave it and that his job “is to go when the light changes green.” The green light came on at the wrong time, so Ferrari launched an investigation into what caused that.
It was a system failure that triggered the light, according to an announcement on the F1 website, which seemed to come from a wheel gun. The gun screws nuts on and off of a wheel, and Ferrari’s investigation found that the system thought the wheel had been changed due to a gun engaging and disengaging.
From the announcement, quoting Ferrari team principal Maurizio Arrivabene:
“We have a procedure to ensure that the pit stops during the race are done in the most safe mode. In this case we have three factors – one involves human control, the other involves mechanical, the other involves [an] electronic device [sensor].
“What’s happening there is we have a mishandling of the rear left. It was not perfectly read by the electronic device that gives the green light. [...]”
It appears Ferrari’s system thought the tyre had been changed, as the wheelgun had been engaged and then disengaged. Measures have since put in place in a bid to avoid a repeat scenario.
Arrivabene said Ferrari discussed procedures with the FIA to make sure this kind of situation doesn’t happen on pit lane again, because the team cares about its people “before anything else.” Cigarini was on crutches as of an Instagram post from four days ago.