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.