Ferrari teams have had a terrible time with pit stops this F1 season. In a sport where teams spend millions of dollars to make their cars a whisker faster, pit trouble can derail all that for a team. Two weeks ago in Australia, Haas F1, the lone American team who is Ferrari affiliated, had pit gun issues that couldn’t tighten tires and ended any hope of the team having their best day ever.
In Bahrain, it was Scuderia Ferrari’s turn. After similar tire tightening issues in practice, things got even worse during the race as Kimi Raikkonen ran over a left rear tire changer and was forced to retire from the race. In the above pic, you can see the crewman having his leg in front of the left rear tire as he’s helping install the tire on the car. Seconds later, Raikkonen was told to speed away thinking that service was complete and ran over the guy’s leg.
(WARNING: This video is extremely graphic)
If you have never watched Formula 1, you should know that pit stops are extremely fast. By not taking on fuel, a pit stop could take as long as two seconds, so tire changers need to be quick. It’s also important to know that drivers leave their pit based on some sort of system that tells them to go. Whether it’s a person with a sign or a lights system, something tells them to go because they can’t look around and see if all the tires are tight and if everything is ready.
So because of that, I can’t really blame Raikkonen for this. If the system told him to go, he’s going no matter what so maybe Ferrari needs to look into making changes in that system. No doubt the FIA will look into this and usually penalize teams for unsafe releases like this.
I’m not a doctor but I only needed to see that once to know that this crew member horrifically broke his leg though that hadn’t been confirmed by the end of the race. Ferrari reported that the crewman went to the hospital and were awaiting more information. Raikkonen’s teammate, Sebastian Vettel won in his 200th start in a thrilling finish with Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas, but all thoughts were with what happened in the pit.
[UPDATE: Ferrari confirmed on Twitter that their mechanic suffered a “shinbone and fibula fracture.”]