Ferrari has admitted that simple human error caused Felipe Massa's Singapore Grand Prix to unravel on Sunday night, as the Brazilian was released prematurely from his first pit-stop.

Massa had been leading the race comfortably before the safety car was deployed to cover the clear-up operation after Nelson Piquet Jr's accident and, in the team's haste to turn him around quickly during a mass pit-stop, the green light on its automated release signals was given before the refuelling hose had been disconnected.

Parallels were quickly drawn with a similar incident that saw Massa's team-mate, Kimi Raikkonen, leave early from a pit-stop in the European Grand Prix, injuring his refueller, but team principal Stefano Domenicali insists that the two incidents were different, principally because the team was not running a fully-automated system in Singapore.

"Unfortunately, there was a mistake," Domenicali admitted, "but we were not using the electronic system, it was run manually. When there are a lot of cars coming into the pit in a safety car situation, it is better to have [(the system] working like a lollipop but, instead of a lollipop, you control the green light... Unfortunately, there was a mistake."

Leaving as soon as the green light came on in front of him, Massa not only bowled over members of his pit crew, but also tore the refuelling hose clean out of the tank, trailing it like some silvery snake as he accelerated down the pit-lane.

Fortunately, the Brazilian realised something was amiss and stopped at pit exit rather than rejoining the track, but took some time for his crew to reach him, and longer still to free the nozzle from the car. To make matters worse, the system had also allowed Massa to exit his stall into the path of Force India's Adrian Sutil - ironically the 'victim' during Ferrari's contentious stop in Valencia - earning himself a drive-thru' penalty that compounded the fact that he was already at the back of the field.

The penalty, however, was the least of Domenicali's worries, as the release system continued to prove less reliable than other teams' conventional lollipop systems. Ferrari returned to the more conventional method of controlling its remaining stops in the race.

"We will analyse what we did in the other pit-stops," Domenicali said when asked whether the team would stick to the system for the remainder of the season, "It was a tense moment and, again, a guy was knocked down.

"He's okay, no problem at all, but it's a very tense moment, so we preferred not to use [the electronic system] for the other pit-stops because we wanted to give a sign of less tension.

"It's a system that is trying to give as good a performance as possible bit, at that moment, you have to consider that there were so many cars coming in and, of course, you try to be quick, you try to find the right slot in order for the car to be released, so it was a difficult moment."

Despite the error dropping Massa to the rear of the field - although he avoided being lapped during either his recovery or the subsequent penalty - and keeping him out of the points on a day when title rival Lewis Hamilton extended his advantage to seven points, Domenicali insisted that there would be no radical changes at Ferrari for the three remaining races.

"Historically, during the last ten or twelve years, there were always problems during the pit-stops - I remember very well problems with Michael [Schumacher] and Rubens [Barrichello]," he claimed, apparently overlooking the 'missing wheel' farce that scuppered Eddie Irvine's title challenge in 1999, "It's not true that we have made more mistakes than in the past. Unfortunately, we shouldn't have them, but that's another story."

Domenicali also insisted that there was no question that the individual overseeing the pit-stop would be replaced for the forthcoming events in Japan, China and Brazil.

"I don't think a lot of people would want to wear the overalls of the guy who has to manage the pit-stop," he pointed out, "We have to have a lot of respect for these guys. They are not top drivers, but still part of the team. It is [a] very difficult [role] and they have a lot of pressure.

"We win together, we lose together and, in that respect, the philosophy will not change because of one unfortunate mistake. He felt very bad of course, as you can imagine, but Felipe went to see him straight away, and he said 'okay, look ahead'.

"As I said, we're always together."

"They need to act now," urged three-time F1 World Champion and former Ferrari star Niki Lauda in an interview with Austrian newspaper Bild. "New technologies are not always better."

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