On lap 37 of the European Grand Prix, Felipe Massa came into the pitlane for his second scheduled stop. By the time he had completed his out-lap, the FIA were investigating the events that happened. On lap 48, Kimi Raikkonen pitted for his final stop, and in leaving the box, managed to knock over the refueller who was still attached to the car. Ferrari, it seems, are not looking too good in the pitlane at the moment, despite winning the race in dominant style.
Felipe Massa was released from his pit box into the path of Force India driver Adrian Sutil. Massa was forced to back out of the throttle and concede to Sutil hampering both drivers in the progress and almost making contact. The FIA have stated that the incident will be investigated after the race, meaning that if Massa is penalised, he could lose his win. All this despite the Ferrari driver walking on to the podium and collecting the winners trophy.
Kimi Raikkonen’s stop was also eventful, the Finn making contact with the refueller and knocking the hose-holder with his rear wheel. Ferrari are using a light system for their pitstops, essentially replacing the lollipop with a series of lights on a gantry above the drivers head. When each of the wheel changers have completed their job and the fuel hose has been removed from the car, the light changes from amber to green, indicating to the driver that he can leave.
Looking at replays, the light looked amber to me, so it appears that Raikkonen left his stop early. The reigning champion managed to drag the refueller down and he/she took a hard knock from the Ferrari’s rear-right wheel. The Ferrari employee was stretchered off to the medical centre, but it appears there are no serious injuries.
The semi-automatic system was described by Ferrari boss Stefano Domenicali, and it was said that it isn’t automatic as ITV suggested, but controlled by a human, implying that one person is in charge of allowing the light to change. However, no matter how clever you can develop systems like these, there is still the reliance on the driver to follow instructions and obey the system. Initially speaking, it looks as though Raikkonen made an error of judgement. The Finn refused to talk to Louise Goodman after he retired on his outlap with a blown engine.
Should Felipe Massa be penalised I will post an update.
Update: Ferrari have been fined €10,000 and have received a slap on the wrists. Felipe Massa keeps his race win though – the result is unchanged.[poll:21]