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Front Jack man safety
Fine as it is 49%  49%  [ 24 ]
Wear protective clothing 6%  6%  [ 3 ]
New Jack Design 20%  20%  [ 10 ]
Ban on standing in the path of the car 18%  18%  [ 9 ]
Other (please state in a post) 6%  6%  [ 3 ]
Total votes : 49
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 Post subject: Front Jack Man Safety
PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2013 1:47 pm 
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Without devolving into a "Health and Safety gone mad" style discussion the incident with James Rossiter and his mechanic highlights what is one of the most dangerous jobs in Formula 1 at the moment, the front jack man. Given all the extremes that Formula 1 goes to in the attention of safety it does seem slightly contradictory to that message that a man stands directly in the path of a Formula 1 car travelling at 100km/h, putting his faith that the driver won't make an error. While driver error is extremely rare in this instances, even Michael Schumacher at the height of his talent inadvertently took out his front jack man so noone can be ruled out as being immune from making a mistake.

And even if the driver doesn't make an error, a brake failure is another potential cause for an accident.

Is there anything that can be done to improve the safety of the front jack man? For example, protective clothing? A jack design so he doesn't have to stand in front of a moving car? Should mechanics be banned from standing directly in the path of the car? Does something even need to be done?

Remember, while the probability of an accident occurring is very low, it is something we have seen over the years so it is only a matter of time before it could result in someone being more seriously hurt.

I added a multiple choice poll to the thread.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2013 2:09 pm 
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I would say the whole pit crew put there lives in jeopardy every pit-stop. They form a 'cocoon', or an entry-slot for the car to slot into.. All of those members are at risk from other Cars and their own.. 100Km/h is quick.. And in some pit-lanes, theres hardly room for the car to swing in.

Scary stuff.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2013 2:11 pm 
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The jack man is probably safer than those primed to change the rear wheels.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2013 2:14 pm 
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I dunno why they don't just mandate Air Jacks.

Automatically 5 guys out of the stop.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2013 2:16 pm 
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Seanie wrote:
The jack man is probably safer than those primed to change the rear wheels.

Granted, the car will pass the rear tyre people at a faster speed, however the evidence has shown that its typically the front jack man who gets hit. That's probably because, short of losing consciousness, the driver is always going to be able to drive the car along the correct line (and miss the tyre people) but it is judging the braking distance where he will make the error.

Johnston wrote:
I dunno why they don't just mandate Air Jacks.

Automatically 5 guys out of the stop.

Well powered jacks are not allowed under the regulations, so they would have to change the rules to allow them and then also mandate the use of them.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2013 2:17 pm 
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Interesting question. At first, i was thinking "well, the speed limit is quite slow" but then I realised how fast "slow" is when you are in F1. And the rear wheel guys are basically kneeling down with only 20cm or so between a safe entry and then getting a broken leg or worse.

Does Indy not use a mechanics out only when the car is stopped system? I'm sure I saw it in some kind of American racing on TV.

While it's not likely to kill you, I must say I'd be sh*tting myself if someone drove that fast at me and promised they'd stop just before they touched me. Properly scary stuff.

edit: Best I could find of the incident: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q8KSgnOntdo


Last edited by mac_d on Thu Feb 07, 2013 2:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2013 2:20 pm 
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If it were seen to be an issue, they'd change it. Perhaps changing the rules so that the car has to stop before the mechanics leave the garage.

How many times in recent seasons has front jack man been run over though?

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2013 2:22 pm 
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Alienturnedhuman wrote:
Seanie wrote:
The jack man is probably safer than those primed to change the rear wheels.

Granted, the car will pass the rear tyre people at a faster speed, however the evidence has shown that its typically the front jack man who gets hit. That's probably because, short of losing consciousness, the driver is always going to be able to drive the car along the correct line (and miss the tyre people) but it is judging the braking distance where he will make the error.

Johnston wrote:
I dunno why they don't just mandate Air Jacks.

Automatically 5 guys out of the stop.

Well powered jacks are not allowed under the regulations, so they would have to change the rules to allow them and then also mandate the use of them.



Well mandating them would automatically mean the rules changing ;)

BTW I'm talking the type on the car. Plug in an air line and the car pops up. Or indeed it wouldn't be beyond the realms of reality to have a system that doesn't need a man to attach something. A system powered by the KERS batteries for example.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2013 2:29 pm 
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Alienturnedhuman wrote:
Seanie wrote:
The jack man is probably safer than those primed to change the rear wheels.

Granted, the car will pass the rear tyre people at a faster speed, however the evidence has shown that its typically the front jack man who gets hit. That's probably because, short of losing consciousness, the driver is always going to be able to drive the car along the correct line (and miss the tyre people) but it is judging the braking distance where he will make the error.

Johnston wrote:
I dunno why they don't just mandate Air Jacks.

Automatically 5 guys out of the stop.

Well powered jacks are not allowed under the regulations, so they would have to change the rules to allow them and then also mandate the use of them.


The trouble with this is if there is a technical problem with these, teams will moan if it always seem to be their own. that is if it is FIA regulated ones, similar to how the fuel rigs were, but another point is, who is going to pay for them to be installed at the tracks? tracks are already paying out lots just to host an f1 race..

I think considering the majority of these incidents are lowish speed impacts resulting in mostly minor injuries, the better option would be better outfits for the crew, I mean look at some of these hard tackles in the NFL, and the ice hockey goal keepers that get hit by those pucks traveling pretty quick, there must be something, someway with all the tech in f1 of creating some sort of suit to protect the pit crew


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2013 2:32 pm 
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The jack could be in the car, like in some Touring Cars

Or an mechanical jack design which requires no dude in front of the car.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2013 2:33 pm 
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Angel De La Muerte wrote:
The trouble with this is if there is a technical problem with these, teams will moan if it always seem to be their own. that is if it is FIA regulated ones, similar to how the fuel rigs were, but another point is, who is going to pay for them to be installed at the tracks? tracks are already paying out lots just to host an f1 race..

I think considering the majority of these incidents are lowish speed impacts resulting in mostly minor injuries, the better option would be better outfits for the crew, I mean look at some of these hard tackles in the NFL, and the ice hockey goal keepers that get hit by those pucks traveling pretty quick, there must be something, someway with all the tech in f1 of creating some sort of suit to protect the pit crew



Nothing needs installed at the tracks. They go on the car

http://www.rogerclarkmotorsport.co.uk/s ... uctID=1985

Generally someone plugs in an air line and the car pops up. All the teams need is a Compressed air source which they already have.

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Last edited by Johnston on Thu Feb 07, 2013 2:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2013 2:34 pm 
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SwSpeed wrote:
The jack could be in the car, like in some Touring Cars

Or an mechanical jack design which requires no dude in front of the car.

It would require some major changes to the car design regulations though. The drivers are sat on the floor about an inch from the tarmac, they'd need to have the jack around that, behinds is the engine/gearbox/fuel then in front you've got the nose.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2013 2:39 pm 
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Seanie wrote:
SwSpeed wrote:
The jack could be in the car, like in some Touring Cars

Or an mechanical jack design which requires no dude in front of the car.

It would require some major changes to the car design regulations though. The drivers are sat on the floor about an inch from the tarmac, they'd need to have the jack around that, behinds is the engine/gearbox/fuel then in front you've got the nose.



Car doesn't need to be lifted on the nose though. That's just because of the front Jackman. 2 jacks either side in the side pods and two further back either side of the G/box for example would likely be enough. IIRC Indy do it this way.

If Indy can manage it ;)

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2013 2:39 pm 
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You make a valid point - the front jack man does stand in an odd position given Formula One's constant push for safety. It would be easy enough to have a rule in place saying that s/he can only move in front of the car once it has stopped moving in its box. Would add on maybe half a second to lap times and would greatly reduce any chance of injury occurring in the pit lane.

Of course teams would most likely find a loophole in my basic rule and probably have their front jack operator hanging from a tether so they can be quickly dropped to the floor once the car comes to a stop. Perhaps a line could be painted next to each box and the jack operator cannot cross over it until a light comes on, operated by a pressure pad under the box? Surely it's not out of the question.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2013 3:06 pm 
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I'd seriously consider shin pads or something like that. Didn't the front jack break his leg in that Ferrari incident a while back?

I agree with Toby as well, they could have a rule about the jackmen to move after the car has stopped

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2013 3:10 pm 
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How many front jack men have suffered life-altering injuries (ie: paralysis, amputation, etc. etc.)? How many have died?

If you want to have a conversation about safety, why don't you start with facts?


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2013 3:18 pm 
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Fr33m3 wrote:
How many front jack men have suffered life-altering injuries (ie: paralysis, amputation, etc. etc.)? How many have died?

If you want to have a conversation about safety, why don't you start with facts?


Died?

I don't think anyone has died. I just found the incident I was talking about above:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l-xcYd8oSMg

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2013 3:22 pm 
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SchumieRules wrote:
Fr33m3 wrote:
How many front jack men have suffered life-altering injuries (ie: paralysis, amputation, etc. etc.)? How many have died?

If you want to have a conversation about safety, why don't you start with facts?


Died?

I don't think anyone has died. I just found the incident I was talking about above:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l-xcYd8oSMg


Boy, he sure did take a tumble! I bet he never walked again...

Guys in hockey, american football, basketball, baseball, etc. etc. suffer injuries such as torn ligaments, concussions, broken bones, etc. etc. almost every week. If you can show me a track record of serious injury to these front jack men, then you have a case, otherwise it's tedious fear mongering.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2013 3:26 pm 
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Fr33m3 wrote:
SchumieRules wrote:
Fr33m3 wrote:
How many front jack men have suffered life-altering injuries (ie: paralysis, amputation, etc. etc.)? How many have died?

If you want to have a conversation about safety, why don't you start with facts?


Died?

I don't think anyone has died. I just found the incident I was talking about above:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l-xcYd8oSMg


Boy, he sure did take a tumble! I bet he never walked again...

Guys in hockey, american football, basketball, baseball, etc. etc. suffer injuries such as torn ligaments, concussions, broken bones, etc. etc. almost every week. If you can show me a track record of serious injury to these front jack men, then you have a case, otherwise it's tedious fear mongering.


I can only remember but a few incidents in the last so many years, in the many many pit stops that have happened. This however doesn't mean that they shouldn't up their safety game if they could.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2013 3:30 pm 
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Fr33m3 wrote:
How many front jack men have suffered life-altering injuries (ie: paralysis, amputation, etc. etc.)? How many have died?

If you want to have a conversation about safety, why don't you start with facts?

Yes! We'll wait until someone dies or gets seriously injured before we do anything about it. Excellent plan!


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2013 4:03 pm 
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Fr33m3 wrote:
How many front jack men have suffered life-altering injuries (ie: paralysis, amputation, etc. etc.)? How many have died?

If you want to have a conversation about safety, why don't you start with facts?


Why do you have to wait for something to happen to be make change? Have you ever heard of pre-empting an incident?

The good part about this topic is that you don't have to confine logic to Formula One. How dangerous is it standing in front of a car travelling at 60km/h, assuming the driver will stop right on the traffic light line? Sure, almost every time the driver will stop at or well before the line - but sometimes people make mistakes. The saving grace for front jack personnel is that the car usually catches the jack first, meaning the man or woman isn't cut down by the front wing and is only run into by the jack.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2013 5:17 pm 
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I like peoples ideas of jacks built into the cars, they can be driver activated when the car is stationary. The front jack men have my full respect but it really is only a matter of time before one gets seriously injured.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2013 5:26 pm 
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Invent a jack that can be used from the side, i.e. have two jack men who slide them under each side of the wing.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2013 5:37 pm 
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One idea I had would be to put a 2.5 metre wide zone that no one is allowed to enter until the car is stationary. This would allow 700mm of space (so 350mm either side) to prevent the side pitcrew being hit and then also a ban on anyone stood in the direction.

At the reason the only reason they stand so close is because they want to minimise the time the pitstops within the regulations - if a team was to increase the distance for safety they would be at a huge disadvantage, so if a rule was brought in for safety then it would be the same for everyone. It would not add more than a second to the pit stop.

I think the rule would also have to be that the pit crew would have to be out of the zone before the car could make its move as another common cause of injury is when the car sets off with a mechanic still working on the car (this would necessitate a move for all team to the traffic light system rather than a lollipop, but properly regulated a traffic light system would be safer and quicker than a lollipop system)

The technology could be standardised by the FIA like the fuel rigs were.

As for the comment about other sports having more serious injuries, several point should be considered:

* Formula 1 is a non contact sport, the other sports listed a not
* The pit crew are not on mega salaries, they are not the sports stars taking the risk
* The pit crew are volunteers - it is not even their job. They are mechanics and engineers who volunteer to be the pit crew.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2013 6:25 pm 
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Other. Pitstops are mandatory, so the front jack man's safety is the FIA's responsibility. The solution is obvious.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2013 6:38 pm 
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I've read most of what has been posted. I like the idea of not allowing any crew in the pitlane until the car is stationary (perhaps a link between the cars telemetry and some sort of gate as used in skiing startlines) I do see a problem with this which may be worse than the problem we are trying to solve.
car enters pitlane, jackman (or entire crew) focused on light or gate that releases him/them. NOT focused on any other pitlane traffic. Belts out of gate at top speed, slips into path of car going to box two spaces up pitlane. Nasty.
I believe Brabham used on on-board air-jack when they first re-introduced the refuelling pitstop but this got outlawed (?) the technology exists to make this work and it would eliminate two guys from the corps de ballet.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2013 6:46 pm 
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painless wrote:
(?) the technology exists to make this work and it would eliminate two guys from the corps de ballet.



Actually more than two.

As every Jack man has a back up jack man behind him. So there is 4. Then some teams have two guys to steady the car. So there is a potential 6 guys not needed all by fitting 4 rams into the car.

For all the height that is needed you would think F1 could come up with some small 2 stage rams. Even some that would run of next years KERS batteries. Essentially 4 kick donkey solenoids.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2013 6:49 pm 
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Short of having something pop out of the ground and lifts the car up, nothing will change. It's a risk they take. The best they can do is wear shin pads (bet it hurts like hell to take a front wing to the legs!!), steel-toe boots, a decent helmet and have a lot of muscle.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2013 6:52 pm 
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Compressed air-line jacks like DTM & at Le Mans.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2013 10:24 pm 
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I know that many like the pressure pot system of the pit stop, and the inherent errors, leading to dramatic race position changes, etc, etc. But if we really want to talk about pit crew safety, in a serious fashion, then the only way to increase safety is via fixed minimum time pit stops (say 10 seconds?) so that there is no time to be lost or gained (except perhaps during a nose change?) by putting others safety at risk and rushing the job! And this includes everything from making sure wheels are on properly, to entering the pit box at more controlled speed (slower?) to ensure over-run of the box can't cause serious injury.

Note: I do not agree with any of the above or the H&S mentality of many things today! Motor racing is dangerous - it says so on the entry ticket for both spectators and participants! For my money, whilst I don't want to see anyone injured - the pit stop and it's cock ups are part of the racing and an integral part at that.
In reality, there are still many ways pit crew could be injured, never mind by driver error - there are too many other factors that can occur - like a jammed throttle, gearbox/clutch disengage failure, etc, etc. FFs, pit crew can be seriously injured away from the race, as by fire, for example....it can never be made 100% safe, most things can't!, so I think all that needs to be done is to minimise risk to a reasonable level as far as practicable - but I don't want the excitement and anticipation of the 'spectacle' of the pitstop to change, if I'm honest.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2013 10:28 pm 
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BTW, for what its worth, (although I don't want to see any changes as I mentioned) perhaps a mandatory pit stop time could be set to run from pit lane entry to pit lane exit - which would also allow for slower pit lane speeds?


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2013 10:50 pm 
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Or, for a real show in safety (and circus), put all the mechanics in the paddock, behind a blocked door, like in the skiing slopes. The door to be opened automatically only when the car comes to a full stop, and everybody rushing, jacks, tires and all, to the car.
Man, those would be some really wild pit-stops. Just imagine the dogpile if the pack leader trips over... :D

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 08, 2013 5:51 am 
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In such a technologically advanced sport, they should really find ways of automating the darn thing and jack the car up. I mean, it really is not rocket science.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 08, 2013 12:32 pm 
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 08, 2013 12:50 pm 
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The jack man is relatively safe in a way. At least he's standing and can see what's coming. If you're on the front right front wheel you're about as likely to get hit, but less able to get out the way cos you're crouching. Most of all I'd hate to be anywhere on the left, particularly rear left. Any contact between cars and you're right in the firing line, and if you're out when the team behind release a car it's likely to come within inches of you.

I've been on about this for years. It seems more dangerous to be a mechanic than a driver these days.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 08, 2013 5:39 pm 
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Pit crews must have balls of steel. Frankly if you dont want to seriously alter the way pit stops happen in F1, you can only do 2 things.

1. Change jack design so jackman does not have to be in front of the car. Many teams already have design in place the jack man lifts the car and the handle part moves 90° in L pattern so he is out of way and then they just drop the jack and it is withdrawn in smooth fashion to make way for the car. When this is already being done, few little modifications to it, I am sure they can come up with the jack that can be operated without the jackman being in front.

2. Use automatic jacks.

The only other solution is like what we see in stock cars. Everybody is out of way and they come running out only when car is in place. This would be safest, but I dont know if fans are ready to accept that in F1.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 08, 2013 5:54 pm 
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ATM2 wrote:
Or, for a real show in safety (and circus), put all the mechanics in the paddock, behind a blocked door, like in the skiing slopes. The door to be opened automatically only when the car comes to a full stop, and everybody rushing, jacks, tires and all, to the car.
Man, those would be some really wild pit-stops. Just imagine the dogpile if the pack leader trips over... :D


you jest but I think you could be on to something here, the idea that the crew are not allowed out until the car is stationary, however you are still at risk of being hit by other passing cars, and no idea if rushing people coming out will cause problems with other cars using the pit lane, particularly on circuits with the more narrow pit lanes, like Monaco


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 08, 2013 6:07 pm 
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Make them wear shin pads, elbow pads, perhaps some chest protection and a helmet and they will most likely be fine. The jack takes the hit before the man does so that absorbs some of the blow anyway.

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