Yamamoto mechanic injured (Video)

One of Sakon Yamamoto’s HRT mechanics was knocked down and injured during his pit stop in today’s Italian Grand Prix.

The team released the following statement:

A member of the Hispania Racing, HRT F1 Team, had an incident during Sakon Yamamoto?s pit-stop. He has remained conscious all the time and been taken immediately to the Medical Center. The situation is under control and we are waiting for more information from the Medical Centre.

The video below shows Yamamoto was given the signal to leave his pit box before the mechanic was knocked down.

Update: HRT have been fined $20,000 for releasing the car unsafely during their pit stop.

Colin Kolles said:

There was an incident with a member of our team during Sakon Yamamoto?s pit stop. First aid was immediately on the spot and he was taken to hospital for further check-up. He remained conscious and was talking to the doctor. We wish that he will recover quickly.
Colin Kolles

Yamamoto added:

The first thing I would say that I was very worried about the incident in the pit-lane. I asked if he was okay and I was told that he was not badly injured.
Sakon Yamamoto

NB. Some readers may find the video below distressing.

Thanks to TommyB89 for the tip

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50 comments on Yamamoto mechanic injured (Video)

  1. damonsmedley (@damonsmedley) said on 12th September 2010, 16:31

    The way they described it on TV was if it was a minor incident! This is possibly the worst pit lane accident I have seen since Hockenheim 1994, that looked brutal. Scary to think this race marks the 10th anniversary since the fatal pile-up at the Variante della Roggia…

  2. Whilst obviously the lollipop mans fault, you have to wonder if the dark clothes (he didn’t look to be wearing a red helment) and the angle made it hard to see the guy, and he just didn’t realise that the car was still being worked upon.

    • It’s a fair line of thought that. Fortunately it looked like he just took the hit and rolled over the top of the rear tire. A lot of energy going through his body there though, quick sickening.

  3. Wow, ragdoll. I’m glad he was only bruised. Reminds me of one of the accidents of the 70s, when a marshall got it. Thankfully this chap is ok.

  4. adam mason said on 12th September 2010, 16:35

    I guess these things happen. I hope he’s ok.

  5. Oh my god!!!!!!!…

    what was the lollypop man thinking??…

    and what was that mechanic doing while the others moved away?

    • macahan said on 12th September 2010, 16:55

      according to the SpeedTV that mechanic was a radio engineer checking on the failed radio in the car. Had the right pit credentials but normally not the person doing the job, they indicated that he might known where to stand when the car left. But that was without the commentators seen the incident. If you look at the video it looks clearly like he is still working on the car when the lolipop man releases the car. Of course the driver is just looking at the lolipop man and not looking at anything else because it’s his (lolipop man) roll to safely release the car.

    • I think the mechanic was trying to fix the radio. It obviously wasn’t Yamamoto’s fault. The lollipop man is probably to blame, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the entire pitstop breached normal protocol in a way not properly discussed before he came in.

      What was a mechanic working on the car doing there without a helmet anyway, pretty unprofessional.

      Hope he fully recovers.

  6. hei gwenouille if you don’t get what i say than shut up

  7. I don’t want to have a go at the lollipop man as the pitstops are the most stressful time in the race and things go wrong. I suspect the guy feels pretty guilty anyway.

    It looks horrendous but I’m very glad the mechanic is ok. Unfortunately, I think there’s always this risk as long as there are people in the pitlane as humans can make mistake but perhaps it would help if the protective clothing was upgraded. With this incident, the flying wheel (thankfully another mechanic wthat was hit was ok) and Kubica’s crash with Sutil I think we have been incredibly lucky this year that everyone has came out of it pretty much ok.

    • Exactly, as long as there are humans close to the racing cars, we can expect some accidents to happen.

      Good he survived without major injury. It keeps reminding us this year, that F1 is safer but far from completely safe.

    • Tiomkin said on 12th September 2010, 21:19

      It is the lolipop man’s job to check with each member of the pit crew for the thumbs up to go. Dressing people in day-glo pink or orange won’t help anything. Place the blame where it deserves to be. The system is safe and the lolipop man is at fault. Please let’s not have knee-jerk foolishness over this.

      I’m glad the guy is ok and his injuries minor.

      • I didn’t say anything about colours at all I said better protection. How on erath is that knee jerk? It’s something that should be looked into and then a decision made whether yes or no. Keith had an article up about it not so long ago.

        Yes, the guy got it wrong but I’m not having a go at him. He’s possibly got the most pressurized job in the world and mistakes happen.

        • My typos are bad :P

          Also, the poor man isn’t even wearing a helmet. Maybe that should be standard for anyone who actually acts on the car if it already isn’t?

        • Tiomkin said on 13th September 2010, 14:18

          Not having a go at you, I added the colours. If history is anything to go by most people start down the ‘wrap everything in cotton wool’ track.
          My point is there is nothing wrong with the system.

          Why was he working on a car without a helmet? I thought the pit crew had to wear flame retardant gear and a skid lid. Seems like this guy broke the rules and paid for it.

  8. Shaun Field said on 12th September 2010, 16:57

    I can see how the lollipop man would of not seen the mechanic, as they were at opposite corners with the mechanic bending right down near the wing. I daresay the lollipop man simply forgot there was extra work being done on the car, so released the car per normal when he saw the 4 arms in the air like every other pitstop he has done. While yes, it is ultimately the lollipop man’s fault, I believe it to be a fairly innocent mistake.

    • cyanide (@cyanide) said on 12th September 2010, 17:14

      Word.

      These guys are under so much pressure. When a pitstop goes perfectly, nobody cares. But a single mistake and all the cameras are on you. And with small teams like HRT, even a single wasted second can push them 1-2 places back.

    • Feynman said on 12th September 2010, 18:33

      And that is why you have proper systems.

      I am not talking about self-satirising nannified Health & Safety ********, but at the same time, anytime I worked on a live source, I was careful, took my time, knew what I was doing, wasn’t working in a noisy confused environment … and most importantly I didn’t have my back turned to someone with a lollipop that could at any moment energise a potentially lethal power source.

      During the refuelling years, it was utterly reckless and negligent that F1 did not have a cutout sensor which engaged and disengaged with the nozzle to prevent the car leaving while people were working.

      F1 Cars should have a mandatory LockOut procedure anytime anyone other than the tyre guys have to work on a car.
      No extra mechanic, engineer or radio technician can step forward to work on a car until the chief mechanic has pressed a recessed clutch lockout switch on the side of the car, and a high-intensity green light just above the switch illuminates.

      When the chief-mechanic sees that all his men are back behind the line, he can disengage the cutout.
      It then doesn’t matter what lollipop men, already too busy watching tyres and pitlane traffic, or what over-keen drivers jumping the gun do, no-one is going anywhere till the car is clear.

      The switches cost a buck apiece, wired into the standard ECU. Or do the FIA (Make Roads Safe) want to wait till we get something even more painful to watch.

  9. Charles Carroll said on 12th September 2010, 17:05

    Yet another eventful day for the Yam.

    Shutting off his car mid-race…running over his mechanics…is there nothing this legendary driver is not capable of?

  10. cyanide (@cyanide) said on 12th September 2010, 17:08

    The video has been removed. I wish the FIA stewards were as fast as their copyright cops.

  11. F1′s Mr Calamilty wasn’t at fault today, suppose you have to point the blame at the lollipop man, for allowing the car to go too early, you can’t blame his vision was obscured because he would have been able to see all the tyre guys with their arms up to signal they were ready, probably noticed the extra pitstop man as soon as the lollipop was waved, right before impact.

    • I think Vettel is more deserving of the title “Mr Calamilty”. Yamamoto has never crashed into anyone, he’s just really slow.

  12. What a hit! Thank God he’s OK! Very scary, Tom is right he didn’t seem to be wearing a red helmet, but still a mistake on behalf of the lollipop man, he was probably looking at the pitlane to check for traffic and assumed everyone backed off :/

    I was just surprised that they closed the pitlane. What if there’s a car that needs to pit, I thought they would use the paddock to escort him instead of closing the pitlane and possible affecting the race.. Since everything is so controlled in F1 I just found it odd to just close the pitlane.. Maybe it was their only way and of course in this case the health of the mechanic is more important..

  13. daykind said on 12th September 2010, 18:54

    Update: HRT have been fined $20,000 for releasing the car unsafely during their pit stop.

    The last thing they need.

  14. PortuGoose said on 12th September 2010, 19:19

    At first, when I heard about the incident, it didn’t seem too serious and I chuckled, because let’s face it, it’s Yamamoto. It wouldn’t be even the slightest bit funny if it wasn’t Sakon…. but the video…. it does look rather worse than the description… remember Nakajima’s first race? Sakon’s been hanging out with Kazuki. Those two should have their own sitcom…

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 12th September 2010, 19:24

      You can’t blame Yamamoto for this. The lollipop went up, that’s the only way the driver is told whether to stay or go. The team were fined for an unsafe release.

      • PortuGoose said on 13th September 2010, 2:27

        It is…. but when I first heard about it, it did seem like Yamamoto was to blame…. but you’re right, Keith, it was the lollipop boy.

      • I would tend to agree, keith, but the mechanic is leaning into Yamamoto’s car and has his hand inside the cockpit. How did he not notice that?

        • With very short pitstops, I think the driver is more focused on the lollipot than on what is happening around him.
          Plus, it looks like the mechanic was operating behind Yamamoto’s head… So I don’t see how Yamamoto could have seen and react in such short period.

  15. Seems strange that they have been fined $20,000.

    I thought an unsafe release meant unsafe to others outside of that particular team. This seems a bit over the top to me.

    As if the lollipop man doesn’t feel bad enough already.

    • Its not out of line and its a team penalty, not one against the lollipop man. Yes his signal to release the car before everyone was clear is partially to blame, but the rest of the team shares in the blame too. Look at the way the radio engineer was dressed. He not only is much more difficult to see (and thus making it easier to miss him like happened today), but he also lacks the most basic of safety equipment. He doesn’t have a helmet nor does he seem to have one a protective suit. A team just can’t send an engineer out to work on a car like that. For that they fully deserve the fine.

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