The FIA set to investigate if wheel guns are causing pitstop problems
While the paddock continues to send their best wishes for a speedy recovery to Ferrari mechanic Francesco Cigarini after the horrific pit stop incident that saw Kimi Räikkönen’s SF-71H run him over and break his leg, questions are being raised about whether the wheel guns (the same model is used by all teams) are causing a spate of recent mistakes.
Ahead of this weekend’s Chinese Grand Prix FIA Race Director Charlie Whiting has joined in the discussions, saying that the FIA will now be looking into wheel guns and their technology after the latest Ferrari incident.
Citing earlier issues during pre-season testing with McLaren as well as the double failure of both Haas cars in Melbourne, he admitted that these incidents are "looking less and less like a coincidence," and was asked if an investigation will now be carried out.
"[Yes] absolutely," said Whiting. "[Fernando] Alonso lost a wheel in testing and we went through it all with McLaren, they gave us a report in the week. We discussed it with the technical working group to understand it all, to make sure everybody else realizes these things can happen, everyone tries to learn from them.
"What actually happened was that the design of the nose piece that goes into the axle, that is the thing that holds the two-stage retention mechanism, but the way that is fixed into the axle was not quite strong enough so the wheel was a little bit loose – it worked itself loose because it had done four laps prior to that.
"So when the wheel started to tip a little bit, it put abnormal loads into the things that were holding the nose in and once the nose came out, there was no retention, so a lesson to be learned there.
"That was shared with everyone in the technical working group so that they can all look at that and make sure their designs aren't similar. Of course they said, 'Ours won't do that.'"