An accidental press of a button on a wheel gun sparked the chain of events that ended with Ferrari Formula 1 mechanic Francesco Cigarini breaking his leg in the Bahrain Grand Prix.

Following the incident at Kimi Raikkonen’s second pit stop during the race earlier this month, Cigarini was taken to hospital in Bahrain where he was found to have suffered fractures to his shinbone and fibula.

Ferrari confirmed it would complete a full investigation into the incident and present it to the FIA, with Raikkonen later explaining how he tried to pull away from his pit box after being given the green light signal, hitting Cigarini on the rear-left wheel in the process.

Crash.net has learned that following an internal investigation, Ferrari found that an accidental pressing of a button on the wheel gun being used on the rear-left of the car led to the green signal being given.

Upon receiving Raikkonen’s car, the rear-left gunman was unable to undo the wheel nut when he initially engaged it. Before making a second attempt to undo it, he knocked the button on the wheel gun to reverse the rotation movement - required to affix the new wheel nut.

As a result, the automated system believed that a new tyre had already been fitted to the car, leading to the signal being given for Raikkonen to pull away.

While the rear jack man does have a button to hold the pit stop, the left-rear tyre was on his blindside, meaning he was unable to see there had been an issue.

The pit stop controller also had a button to hold the stop and prevent a green signal from being given. However, his sight of the rear-left tyre was also blocked, meaning all he saw was the car grounded and seemingly ready to leave.

From the Chinese Grand Prix onwards, Ferrari implemented a new system that added another crew member to monitor the stop from a different viewpoint, as well as ensuring that all crew members are clear of the wheels of the car in the event of the normal pit stop procedure going awry.

The report also absolved Raikkonen of any blame in the incident.

 

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