Whitmarsh: Rim failure put Hamilton out

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

A broken wheel rim ended Hamilton's race in Spain
A broken wheel rim ended Hamilton's race in Spain

McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh said the team lost second place in the Spanish Grand Prix because of wheel rim failure.

The rim failed on Lewis Hamilton’s car on the penultimate lap of the race, sending him straight into the barriers.

Speaking during the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes phone-in Whitmarsh said the team are still investigating what caused the rim to fail:

We flew the parts back yesterday and had Bridgestone here. We do not believe that the deflation was caused by a puncture or tyre failure. From all the evidence it looks like the rim failed which caused deflation.

The rim failure is being investigated. It could be debris related, it could be an issue of deflection, it could be an issue of tightness or lack of in the wheel nut allowing some flexing.

So what we know is, the rim failed, probably human error somewhere in that process caused that, which led to deflation and the accident.
Martin Whitmarsh

Heikki Kovalainen suffered a similar crash in a McLaren at the same race in 2008.

Here’s what else he had to say in the interview: Whitmarsh disappointed by F-duct ban