Felipe Massa’s pit lane disaster (video)

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

Ferrari suffered a disastrous problem during a pit stop for the second race this year. Felipe Massa was signalled to leave his pit box while the refuelling rig was stil attached to his car.

The F2008 wrenched the fuel hose from the refuelling rig and Massa joined the fast lane of the pits in front of Adrian Sutil with several metres of hose hanging out of his car.

Ironically, it was Sutil that Massa controversially pulled out in front of during the European Grand Prix at Valencia.

In today’s incident Massa had to stop at the end of the pit lane where his mechanics ran to him and, with some difficulty, removed the hose. He rejoined last and was later given a drive through penalty.

Ferrari had been using their semi-automatic lights system for releasing drivers from the pits, which was the focus of discussion after the Valencia race. When Massa made his second stop Ferrari used a traditional lollipop to release him.

Did they make a mistake by not using that to begin with? And will they stick to it in future?

52 comments on “Felipe Massa’s pit lane disaster (video)”

  1. I think Ferrari really need to look closely at their pitstop procedure – both systems rely on humans to make a judgement, so I don’t think one is better than the other, but the team need some re-training.

  2. got a few videos here, where you clearly can see the green light (2nd video) that massa gets before he leaves.
    http://f1bloggen.se/2008/09/28/ferrari-klanatar-till-depastopp-igen-massa-far-gront-och-kor-ivag-med-bensinslangen-i-bilen/

  3. poor Massa has been really let down by the pit crew this year, they forgot to put petrol in his car, now this incident. Not his fault but he pays the price. Maybe the pit crew need to be as afraid of Massa as they were of Schumacher if they made a mistake

  4. I’m looking to Ferrari’s appeal for the drive through!!
    (Yes, I know, you can’t).

  5. I know what I’m asking for Xmas… BAN REFUELLING !!!!

  6. So true Zaphod..
    Kinda of feel sorry for Felipe..
    Btw,the youtube video is no longer available..i saw it in this link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HlMki-xZB7s

  7. Look forward to Massa criticizing Sutil for this incident too! Precisely the same sequence of events (though admittedly he was towing half of his garage with him this time).

    Punishing Massa afterwards may or may not be right, but Ferrari should be fined massively and told immediately to stop using the light system to release their drivers. If they carrying on using it, one of their own pit crew or someone else is going to get seriously injured. It’s ridiculous the stewards can waste so much time over how many fractions of a second Hamilton gained cutting a corner when Ferrari are visibly risking people’s safety. Get it sorted FIA!

  8. I’m with Ollie, Ferrari need to send all their F1 crew to a bootcamp. The light system, in theory, is effective if you say the “average” human reaction is between 0.1-0.2 seconds and in F1 it all counts.

    Maybe they should have one person (the lollipop man?) have an override button – the lights won’t go green without his button, but he can’t make them go green without everyone else signalling an OK. However, with this much effort, you might as well just revert back to the old system.

    On another note, I wouldn’t have had much confidence being Kimi, watching this all happen right in front of him. Plus with fuel going all around the place, although not as much as the Benetton incident as the splashes were dispersed, I’m glad a fire didn’t start.

  9. It’s really strange how it happened because the fuel rig guy clearly wasn’t ready yet apparently he had pushed the button to make the light go green. Maybe he pushed it by accident?

  10. there were 2 nice ironys in todays race

    Massa got his just deserts and finally got his penalty for cutting up Sutil

    &

    Hamilton has got his 7 points back!

  11. Maybe they should have one person (the lollipop man?) have an override button – the lights won’t go green without his button…. <<<< I like dis idea man :0

  12. But Ferrari already have someone controlling the override.

    The problem comes in that it’s easy to cancel the order to go with a lollipop – it’s fairly obvious when a lollipop is going to smack you in the face, but not so with the lights. It looked like they went back to red from green, but by then no attention is paid to them.

    Admittedly, reverting to red could’ve been for any of three reasons, Raikkonens pit stop, Sutil or the hose.

  13. And to think that no fuel actually went into the car of Massa in all that time.
    Going back to using a lollipop doesn’t really solve the problem as we saw with coulthard. The only thing it can do though is maybe make the driver aware he has a problem much earlier. I still have memories of Button driving off with his refueling hose some years back, and in that instance it was a lollipop being used.

    Finally the FIA gave the Ferrari of Massa a drive through penalty, when he was clearly not going to score any points :-)

  14. Oliver

    Finally the FIA gave the Ferrari of Massa a drive through penalty, when he was clearly not going to score any points.

    Inconsistency, FIA? That happens to favour Ferrari?! It’s not even worth discussing any more. But really it’s the team’s fault, not Massa’s. More intriguing is Alonso’s use of the chicane to gain a place on Button at the start… But I’d rather Alonso kept the win, he’s a great driver and deserves it.

  15. I still can’t get over the fact that a perfectly safe refueling when the pit lane is closed render a more severe penalty than an extremely stupid and dangerous move that risks the safety of other drivers and team personal. I know that Massa’s failure was basically the teams fault, but one could argue that that was the case with the “illegal” refueling as well. At least, Ferrari’s constructors point from this race should be taken away,

  16. saab, good thing they didn’t score any then!

  17. Best Ferrari pit stop ever!

  18. So do we carry on with this refuelling entertainment until a pit crew member is killed? Two injuries in one race sustained by guys who hardly earn the dollar that the drivers get I’ll bet – in no other commercial activity would a Health and Safety hazard like this be tolerated.

  19. Poor Massa, the light turned green, and he went. I really hated that light system before today, and now it’s obvious it should go. Get your stuff together Ferrari, you just cost Massa 8-10 points and the lead in the WDC.

  20. Refueling is having more problem then it ever did when it was first banned…

  21. And to think, that wouldn’t have happened if they still had a lollipop man. Someone physically standing there who could see that the hose hadn’t been removed, and therefore would not have given Massa the ‘green light’, so to speak.

    I did cheer when it happened though.

  22. The most embarrassing silly and unfortunately slightly dangerous moment of this whole season. Taking the topspot from Lewis red light incident in Montreal. Last years most stupendously incredible (or is that incredibly stupid?) moment was when Lewis parked in the tiniest available gravel pit in probably all of f1. That proved to the decisive moment for his title chances, I have reasons to believe that this hose incident will be regarded in the same way in terms of Massa’s WC chances.

  23. Since Ross Brawn departed Ferrari pit crews behave like a combined Keystone Cops and 3 Stooges in red outfits. Funny and embarrassing.

  24. I am a Ferrari fan to the core. I was angry when it happened live, but the more I watch the replays; I simply can’t stop laughing..

    Poor ferrari mechanics with large paunches running across the pit-lane.. reminds me of how I used to catch the bus everyday for college

  25. I’m with Zaphod @ #4, refuelling should be banned,

    Get back to low fuel qualifying so the fastest guy gets the pole, not the one with the least fuel as happens most of the time now.

    Start the race with full fuel gives the drivers a much greater challenge as the handling changes drastically as the fuel is used up plus the lap times get faster towards the end of the race.

    If we have to have it though then Ferrari’s system needs to be dropped, get a lollipop man back in front of the car. No one wants to see a mechanic getting killed or seriously hurt.

  26. Those who think the lollipop man could make the difference in stopping a driver should look at this:
    http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=0hCHEoWAdn0

    As for the Ferrari light system it should be outlawed.

  27. What has to happen before Ferrari have their lighting system banned?

    Kimi drives over one of his mechanics and doesn’t even get a fine. (And how is that mechanic BTW? Heard anything more about him, other than ‘He’s fine’).

    Massa leaves right in front of Sutil- gets a punishment that isn’t even in the book.

    Today he clearly got a green light. The system is flawed and should be banned before someone is seriously hurt. And again Sutil had the cheek to not brake before the Ferrari box.

    Very strange that Massa did recieved a drive through today, but heck, he wasn’t in the points, so why not.

  28. That was Button’s fault though, he drove THROUGH the lollipop.

  29. The above comment is about the video Rabi posted if it isn’t obvious.

  30. Jonathan Weighell
    28th September 2008, 21:36

    It doesn’t seem rocket science to me to add a sensor to the end of the refueling nozzle that can tell if it’s still connected? And if so, not allow the light to go green until it can sense that it’s been released?

    Or am I missing something?!

  31. @Jonathan Weighell – May be this will breach 6.5.1 of technical regulations?

  32. A fantastic race but lots more FIA inconsistancies.

    1 Why did Massa get a drive through. Should it not have been a 10,000 euro fine?

    2 Did Fernando not cut the chicane to gain a place on Button at the start.

    3 As the race finished several hours ago, why hasn’t Alonso had the victory ripped from his grasp by some part time official

    Confused!!!!

    ps. Don’t they normally race in the day time???

  33. @Jonathan Weighell.

    I noticed that too…but only after the accident. Perhaps the problem was, to note it, before the accident.

    Ironically that accident now showed a defenitive advantage of the eletronic system, if they use a nozzle sensor, over the conventional Lollipop.

  34. As a Ferrari fan, this is just a disgrace. Ferrari’s incompetence this season has cost Felipe over 30 points already (mechanic unreliabilty in Australia and Hungary, plus pathetic teamwork messups in Canada and Singapore. Felipe would have won the last three) and it doesn’t look like it’ll stop. Oh, not to mention Kimi.

  35. Congrats to all the Lucky Lewis fans out there.

  36. I’m glad that Ferrari had such a terrible day, but i am not happy because people got hurt because of that.
    People are saying that Hamilton is arogant but in the last couple of races Massa is even more arogant allong with ferrari. I really hope that Mclaren and Hamilton get the championships

  37. I’m beginning to think that Sutil has upset Massa in a previous life – since they had two ‘incidents’ in the same race, the first in the pit lane and the second later in the race when Massa lost concentration.
    Perhaps we will see VJ writing to the FIA to investigate all these attempts to stop his driver from finishing a race?

  38. I agree with Saab #14: how come a safe refuelling stop under the safety car gets a harsher penalty than dangerously being released into the path of another car with half your refuelling rig still attached?

    I saw that Massa said he had “forgiven” his pit crew for the error. And they say Hamilton is conceited?

    It seemed Massa had another Silverstone race today. He totally gave up at the back. He may as well have just pulled up and gone to bed. Hardly the mark of a possible world champion.

  39. I agree with DG @36, it did look like Massa precipitated the accident which saw Sutil go out, by driving out of the barrier right across the front of him, leaving him unable to turn in and with no place to go but straight on into the barriers. Any other team and driver might have incurred a grid place penalty for the next race. So a 10,000 Euro fine then and the blame on Sutil, who must have somehow caused Massa to go off in the first place. From 200 yards back.

  40. Sumedh, no. 23, I have to agree with you on this one. I can’t stop chuckling about it – it was like the Keystone cops, a real slapstick treat. And apparently the McLaren crew were cheering them on too (we will miss Ted Kravitz, Hell all the ITV team next year) which makes it even funnier. This will make me laugh for quite some time – a real comedy moment. It could make it onto one of those ‘People do the funniest things’ programmes. Those men really need to do some exercise in case this happens again.

  41. Just looked at the video again and the look on Massa’s face as the pit crew struggle with the hose is priceless. Anger, disbelief, weariness, all combined in one little frustrated face.

  42. I must admit, regardless of me being a Ferrari fan, I was a little confused as to why Massa didn’t get some kind of penalty for causing an avoidable accident with Sutil.

    It did appear to be pretty avoidable, had he waited for Sutil to go by…

    Complete disaster for Ferrari though, which could in turn loose them both titles.

  43. You have to feel sorry for Massa, it’s not his fault. But, this is a team game and I remember the Mansell \ Williams pit stops that had me shouting at the TV.

    So the stewards deemed that this was a “Unsafe release from a pit stop” and gave Massa a drive through penalty. Surely this time he did not gain any advantage? In fact he had even less of an advantage gained than he did (or did not really) in Valencia as he had to wait for the “Keystone Cops” to run down and pull the refuelling hose clear?

    So it’s another FIA inconsistency to have given Massa a drive through penalty too. F1 seriously needs a better stewarding system to get more “consistent” rulings.
    Then again this was like Kimi and Massa’s Valencia pitstops all rolled into one. Knock over a mechanic and drive into the path of Sutil + deposit some fuel down the pitlane for good measure.

    As World Champions from the previous season, Ferrari get the pick of the pit boxes. I was wondering what would have happened if they picked the end pit box instead of the first pit box. Would Massa have been blacked flagged for driving with a fuel hose around the track?
    Then again, having the end pit box under a potential safety car circuit gives you better chance that you won’t be released in-front of another car when you pit.

    Well done to Alonso and Nico. Great driving. I also was wondering how long it took to give the drive through penalties. It’s not hard for the stewards to have worked that issue out is it:
    Pit closed – Team putting refuelling nossle on their car – Make note to give penalty when safety car comes in. Easy!

    Massa’s penalty would have been a bit more to work out, for the stewards, as they needed to find a whole new and unique ruling so they don’t tally up with any other previous ruling and keep us lot all bemused with the result. :D

  44. It the f1 season of Ferrari drivers having a go at Sutil. Poor Adrian, he can be rammed from behind by the Iceman, he can be forced into the barrier by Massa the spinner in front, he can most definitely be interfered with in the pitlane. I wonder when he can’t take it no more and ram one back? Maybe he did in Montreal…

  45. FIA is very inconsistent. Especially when Ferrari is involved. Why did the NOW get a drive through for unsafe release, but a couple of weeks ago only a Fine? Is it because Massa was out of the points already? What about Alonso cutting cicane? And then also Massa and Sutil… What would have happened if this was McLaren?

  46. I’m a Hamilton supporter (not fanatic, I feel very well reckoning the times he does a mess, and that he could be a little bit less presumptuous, too. Note that, despite its name, I feel this blog is much more on the side of objectiveness than the Spanish and Italian sources I also visit. But, after all, the name is F1Fanatic, not LHFanatic or something like this…)
    Having said that I follow Lewis, I can add that I felt really sorry for poor Massa when his engine blew up at the final stages of Hungary. Not this time! I don’t know if it’s right feeling this way, but after Spa I just cannot feel any sympathy about Ferrari’s men. And I also agree with Keith that there is not any sense of “justice” in it: justice would be Lewis leading by 13 points…

  47. Coming out the pits 0.1 seconds faster then other teams isn’t going to win them the championship but cock ups with the system, like Valencia and Singapore, will lose them the championship.

    My favourite bit was when the Ferrari mechanics had the fuel rig on there shoulders looking like they were recreating a scene from cool runnings!! :P

  48. As a McLaren fan I can only remember Lewis having a 17 point lead with two races to go last year. His current 7 point lead is far from insurmountable.

    I look forward to the challenge that Ferrari will bring in the last 3 races. I would dearly love to see the championships decided on track and not by events in the pits….or the Ferrari Intervention Association.

    I know that Ferrari will bring a rejuvenated pit crew performance for the last 3, without the comic opera we saw yesterday.

  49. LOL, I agree with Nick! Loved it! I can still smile when I think of the race. Notice how the 2 Ferrari guys without the helmets were the first ones to finish the distance by a big margin.

    Had FIA decided to penalise Ferrari at Varlencia/Ferrari mechanics knew that they had to look at the coming cars before release, that wouldn’t have happend. Great decision form FIA, hehehe.

  50. Yes but now they got the penalty when it didnt matter.. They should have received the same penalty in Valencia.

    Anyway looking at the footage again makes me laugh all over.. Shame the poor guys.. Not used to 400 meter sprint are they..

  51. Yes indeed, I wonder whether Ferrari will get a penalty if they had removed the fuel hose just in time.

    What I meant was, if Ferrari waited for the coming car/Sutil to get by, they’d probably had the time to remove the fuel hose. But since FIA decided that Ferrari can release their cars anytime they want, that’s what they got, I love it!

  52. There is a pin in the nozzle of the rig system that hind the green light to show up when they use de “automatic mode: on” when it is still connected to the car.

    The mechanical chief viewed that Sutil was coming, and that the rig was still connected. He push the button thinking that the green light would show up only when the rig was tacked off.

    His mistake was that he forgot that the “automatic mode:off”
    (This is a hipothesis based on what Domenicalli have said)

    The system for sure will be improved, and even when it is not in the automatic mode, it will not allowed the green light to show up.

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