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Sometimes the best approach is the simplest, but that kind of attitude doesn't always fly in the high-tech haven that is Ferrari's headquarters in Maranello. Traditionally, one pit crew member would stand beside a Formula One car in the pit lane box holding a small sign on a long shaft to signal the driver when it was safe to drive out, but Scuderia Ferrari tried last year to replace the "lollipop" sign with an electronic system. A small box with lights, controlled by computer, was implemented in an effort to streamline the process. Unfortunately, the progress proved anything but, and the system caused several costly errors this past season, culminating in the inaugural nighttime Singapore GP, where Felipe Massa was signaled to leave the pit before the refueling hose was detached. With his team-mate Kimi Raikkonen waiting behind, Massa drove off, dragging the fuel line - and a crew member -along with him.

The incident cost the Massa and Ferrari dearly, and they ended up losing out on the Drivers' Title. The electronic system was subsequently abandoned and in favor of the simpler lollipop. Undeterred and determined to get it right, however, Ferrari reckon they've learned from their mistakes. During the off-season, they have been hard at work on the system and are planning on bringing it back for the 2009 championship. For the sake of the entire team – especially the guy who has the precarious job of holding the fuel nozzle – we hope they've got it right this time.

[Source: Autosport]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 6 Years Ago
      Clearly the total sum of the fractions of a second that could be saved each pit stop will certainly be lost the first time they screw up and lose a race. I guess it's just part of natural selection.
      • 6 Years Ago
      i think that the electric system is really dumb. more complicated technologically advanced yes, but dumb. You have a person who's only job is to make sure everyone is done. the man can predict after soo many exercises how much time the nozzle guy will take and can recognize troubles the same way just by reading body language. He can take information and take action in an unexpected event better than any computer system. this computer can work only when:
      1- everything goes according to plan and every human does the job exactly like he is suposed to.
      2- every task on a pi stop is made by electromechanical systems that can "talk" to the light or work as one with the lights.

      In case 1 if a human does something out of the plan of the computer there is going to be a interface between the man and the lights and that interface delays the time of reaction.
      In case 2 there would be no pit crew but a bunch of ASIMO's and that would just make things too easy for HONDA!!! :D

        • 6 Years Ago
        is it? i think we will kno when Autoblog is crowned #1!!!! :D
        • 6 Years Ago
        Alright man. We get it. Enough is enough.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Singapore was a real farce, and Bernie was quite right in calling the Ferrari team "clowns". How the season might have ended if something seemingly so simple didn't screw up.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Someone start the Benny Hill music
      • 6 Years Ago
      Well at least it put some more excitement into the season.
      • 6 Years Ago
      One question: why?