Five more pit box blunders (Video)

Felipe Massa sits with half a fuel hose stuck to his car as Kimi Raikkonen drives past
Felipe Massa sits with half a fuel hose stuck to his car as Kimi Raikkonen drives past

Felipe Massa’s accident in the pits at Singapore was dramatic and disastrous. But it wasn’t the first time a drivers’ race was ruined when he reached his pit box.

We’ve seen plenty of drivers suffer refuelling fires or knock team members over – but there are other ways to get your pit stop wrong: here’s five examples:

1989: Nigel Mansell, Portuguese Grand Prix

Mansell made a critical error by coming in far to fast to stop on his mark. He at least avoided mowing his pit crew down, but what he did next made things even worse: he reversed back into his pit box – which is forbidden by the rules – instead of waiting for his team to drag him back.

He was disqualified but failed to see the black flag during the race, and later collided with McLaren’s Ayrton Senna. He was suspended from the next race as punishment.

1990: Theirry Boutsen, Brazilian Grand Prix

Boutsen made much the same mistake but came even closer to scattering his pit crew like bowling pins, punting one of his waiting tyres down the pit lane.

1991: Nigel Mansell, Portuguese Grand Prix

Mansell again, Estoril again. This time he was in contention for the championship and leading the race comfortably, when his right-rear wheel man failed to get the wheel nut done up properly. Wheel and car parted company.

Although Mansell’s FW14 was reunited with its errant wheel the work done on the car in the fast lane of the pits earned him another disqualification.

1995: Johnny Herbert, Spanish Grand Prix

Full marks to Johnny Herbert for a speedy getaway in his Benetton. Unfortunately the rear jack was left under the car and he dragged it the length of the pit lane. Fortunately the mechanic had the sense to let go of it, and the jack didn’t hit anybody when it flew off the back of the car.

The man on the jack was Steve Matchett and he recounted the experience in his book, “The Mechanic’s Tale”:

I didn’t see Mike [Cowlishaw, lollipop operator] lifting the board as I was concentrating on unhooking the jack, and despite wearing safety glasses my vision was quickly blurring from the blast of the exhaust gases. The next thing I remember was a terrifically violent lunge from the jack handles as Herbert released the full might of the eight hundred horse power engine.

1999: Eddie Irvine, European Grand Prix

A driver arriving in the pits to find his team a wheel short is a rare thing: for it to happen to the usually well-drilled Ferrari crew is almost unheard of. But as mixed weather at the Nurburgring led to a flurry of pit stops the Italian team were caught out.

Spotted any other unusual pit box blunders like these? Post links below…

24 comments on “Five more pit box blunders (Video)”

  1. Didn’t Jean Alesi once arrive in his Ferrari pit box to find that none of the mechanics had any tyres ready? There was a split second of inaction as the pit crew tried to work out what was happening, followed by a Keystone Cops style mad rush into the garage for round black rubbery things…

  2. @ade – there was also the time at Benetton at Australia ’97 when the machanics were waiting for Alesi and HE didn’t arrive!!

    The Irvine one was my favourite.

  3. Journeyer – I’d forgotten about that one! Reminds you how un-disciplined Ferrari were before they got their act together in the Schumacher years.

    And it seems to me that that same act is starting to come apart at the seams again in this post-Schumacher era.

  4. Stealthman,
    Nakajima’s pit blunder, tends to happen even to the best of F1 drivers every now and then. In his defense though, he had not yet practiced his pit stops, as he was called suddenly to race that weekend.

    The Irvan – Ferrari incident didn’t surprise me one bit. Irvan had said a lot of uncomplimentary things towards Schumacher and for political reasons he couldn’t win that years drivers championship.

  5. @ Keith Collantine

    Reminds you how un-disciplined Ferrari were before they got their act together in the Schumacher years.

    @ Journeyer

    And it seems to me that that same act is starting to come apart at the seams again in this post-Schumacher era.

    I thought the same, last season, and this, but it’s probably more to do with the absense of Brawn and Todt, than Schumacher’s.

  6. Lustigson,

    You hit the nail on the head there. I just based my eras around Schumacher because most of the Ferrari dream team were at his best with him, and all left after he retired. :)

  7. @Stealthman – Albers had run off with Fuel hose . Even Hamilton had jumped his pit-stop before Loli Pop went up at Silverstone 2007.
    So things happen.
    Kaj Nakajima’s inexperience with F1 Pitstop process hurt him (and the mechanic) :D

  8. Do you remember, last year at some race; Anthony Davidson stopped in his pit-box. And no mechanic realized..

    Poor guy had to wave his hands; then the mechanics stumbled forward..

  9. Massa’s Singapore incident was just unreal. Someone I was watching the race with commented that the mechanics carrying the hose back to the garage looked like Chinese New Years with the paper dragons.

  10. Very good work Keith, as usual…
    Incredible Briatore’s face on the Johnny Herbert’s one :-)
    And Mansell… a champion!!! :-)))
    Massa will have to work harder….

  11. Concerning the Irvine fiasco back in 1999, I always suspected a little bit of a conspiracy may have been played out there. As you all know, Schumacher’s season became seriously unhinged at Silverstone inwhich he broke a leg after his famous Stowe crash, meaning that Irvine became Ferrari’s best title hope in the championship.
    I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall at the Schumacher residence, as Michael watched the season unfold and Irvine get ever closer to the championship.
    The irony would not have been lost on Michael, that the team he had spent three years helping to rebuild were going to win their first title for twenty years without him.
    The idea of Irvine winning the title is not unrealistic. Hakkinen had made crucial mistakes that year, at Imola and Monza, from commanding positions, and both Irvine and Salo had performed well. I would never have believed it fully then, but after witnessing the following years inwhich Rubens Barrichello always seemed to get the bad luck during a pitstop, I wouldn’t put anything past them.

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