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.