In light of yesterday’s race, when he retired with his DRS jammed open, the quote from Schumacher in this video last year is a bit unfortunate:
A broke hydraulic pipe prevented Schumacher’s DRS from closing properly. He had a similar problem during qualifying in Bahrain.
It does seem like Mercedes system is a tad more prone to these kind of things than the ones which have the mechanism in the middle of the wing instead of in the endplates.
And this kind of failure was off course exactly what people were wondering about when DRS was introduced, questioning the safety of it over the F-Duct. Glad they found out in time and nothing serious happened on track, but I am pretty sure both Mercedes and the FIA will have to look into the problem closely.
What was (to me) more worrying was that a mechanic was reaching into the radiator exit during Schumacher’s pitstop – it was as if the emergency
“DRS kill” switch was there – or some sort of hydraulic pressure blow-off valve was there.
It’s not that they have such a system that bothers me – it’s that they necessarily located it there…
@raymondu999 – The team didn’t waste much time getting Schumacher onto the trolleys and into the garage. They probably knew that there was a problem with the hydraulics, and based on the sensor data, had a fair idea which hydraulic pipe was broken, but they needed to double-check. The broken pipe was probably somewhere in the radiator.
@prisoner-monkeys the car was running and the other mechanics were looking rather worriedly as the other mechanic psyched himself to dip his hand in there. The car was still running.
I think there’s a blow-off valve in the rad exit, and they thought if they could just release the excess pressure, then they could send Schumacher on his merry way….
Why didn’t they just replace the whole rear wing? That’s what I was wondering during the race.
@estesark replacing a rear wing takes a very long time – in the region of at least 12-15 minutes.
I’m surprised if the stewards don’t have a stern word with Mercedes. I thought that the rear wings were meant to fail in the closed position- not just because that’s how the teams chose to design them, but because that’s a regulation.
@matt90 – I don’t think reprimanding Mercedes will be the stewards’ priority. The system is designed to close when it fails, and yet Schumacher’s car did exactly the opposite. Evidently, something went very wrong, so I think the stewards will be more interested in reviewing what happened and taking steps to prevent it from happening again rather than chewing people out over it.
I agree with PM. The system was stuck. Hydraulics… it happens. I wonder actually how the failsafe is supposed to work. The system is obviously strong enough to pull the rear flap up even at max drag/downforce pulling it back. OR it’s supposed to be, anyways. In the event of a failure – that means the hydraulics have to suddenly blow off all pressure so the drag and downforce can naturally pull the flap back down. How exactly is that pressure blowoff accomplished? I’m intrigued…
He must have been running round with no downforce on the front as well as the rear, thanks to the double DRS!
No wonder he was so fast – he came flying up behind a Force India, during his lap with the flap stuck open. Did well to get it stopped into the hairpin.
Good point, but as long as it is brought up in some form so that Mercedes definitely take preventative action I’m not bothered if it’s by reprimand or just discussion.
And I hadn’t considered the double DRS making it even harder for him! No wonder he went off the track at one point, although he might not have been aware about it at the time.
@matt90 He went off in corner 4 and 5 after he had left the pits. Surely in corner 3 when he rejoins the track he must have felt something was wrong.
What bothers me in all of this is the number of people I’ve seen across the internet claiming that DRS is suddenly unsafe and that it is only a matter of time before someone has a serious accident and the system should be banned. They may be valid concerns, but most of the people making these claims were against DRS in the first place, and are now trying to scaremonger people into believing the system should be removed from the sport.
Honestly DRS doesn’t shed enough downforce to truly have such a dangerous effect, as long as the driver knows about it. It’s quite easily compensated. However when things go wrong is when the driver doesn’t know about it. What if it happens somewhere like Singapore or Monaco? Or maybe Spa? Then the big boomboom could happen.
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© Keith Collantine 2014 • Disclaimer
© 2014 Keith Collantine