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Ferrari to look into pitstop problem

Alan Baldwin | September 30, 2008 11:06 IST

Ferrari [Images] will review their electronic pitstop light system after a human error cost Felipe Massa [Images] victory in Sunday's Singapore Grand Prix and dealt a severe blow to the Brazilian's championship hopes.

Massa, who started on pole, went from first to last after the pitstop blunder. He finished 13th and out of the points.

Team boss Stefano Domenicali explained after the race that a Ferrari mechanic had erroneously given title contender Massa the green light while the refuelling hose was still attached to the car.

The overhead light signals are normally connected to the release handle on the fuel nozzle, indicating to the driver that he can leave when the hose is uncoupled.

However, with cars swarming into the pit lane while the safety car was deployed, Ferrari switched their light system to manual operation and the mechanic's error meant the green 'go' signal flashed up prematurely.

"We were not using the electronic system, it was run manually," Domenicali told the Ferrari website (www.ferrariworld.com).

"When there are a lot of cars coming into the pit in a safety car situation, it is better to have (the system working manually)," he added.

"You control the green light and unfortunately there was a mistake."

"We will analyse what we did in the other pitstops," he added.

Ferrari are alone with the light system, with other teams using the conventional stop/go 'lollipops' held by mechanics in front of the car.

The Italian team also had a problem with the system at the European Grand Prix in Valencia when world champion Kimi Raikkonen [Images] set off before the fuel nozzle had been removed, injuring a mechanic.

Domenicali said there was no question of the mechanic responsible for Sunday's incident being replaced for the remaining three races which will decide the championship, with Massa now seven points behind McLaren's Lewis Hamilton [Images].

"We win together and we lose together. In that respect the philosophy will not change because of one unfortunate mistake," added the team boss.

Massa said he had spoken to the mechanic and told him there were no hard feelings.

"I'm not the kind of guy who goes to the guy and fights with him," said the Brazilian. "So I go to the guy and give him even more motivation because we need him and we need everybody together for the last three races."

© Copyright 2008 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters. Reuters shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.
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