Renault reshuffle their pitstop crew
|By Jonathan Noble||Thursday, October 5th 2006, 06:09 GMT|
Renault have reshuffled their pitstop crew for this weekend's Japanese Grand Prix following the problem that marred Fernando Alonso's second pitstop in China last weekend, autosport.com has learned.
Alonso lost ten seconds at his second stop after the right rear wheel-nut mechanic failed to realise that the nut had come out of his gun when removing the wheel.
It was only when he tried to refit the wheel that it became clear the nut was missing, and the time was lost while a replacement wheel nut was found.
That lost time was enough to prevent Alonso from a chance of fighting title rival Michael Schumacher for the lead in the closing stages of the race.
Although Renault's director of engineering Pat Symonds said after the event that the pitstop problem was "one of those things", the team have subsequently decided to make a change - which includes replacing the right rear wheel-nut man.
A team spokesman confirmed the news when asked by autosport.com: "Following the events at the Chinese Grand Prix, we've made a change."
Coincidentally, the right rear wheel-nut man was the same one involved in the problem at the Hungarian Grand Prix, where a broken wheel-retaining pin on Alonso's car led to the wheel-nut coming off as he returned to the track. The Spaniard was pitched off the track and into the barriers just as he seemed set for victory.
"We've preferred to substitute him because this weekend he would have felt excessive pressure," team boss Flavio Briatore told Gazzetta dello Sport.
"But he has some mitigating factors, as the situation was difficult, with little light and our visor were dark, so visibility wasn't optimal. In any case Fernando had already lost the race before that."
Autosport.com understands that Renault's dilemma in choosing to make the revision for Japan was made difficult by the fact that the Chinese crew delivered Giancarlo Fisichella the fastest pitstop of the race at his second stop.
That swift stop helped Fisichella return to the track in front of Schumacher, before the Italian ran wide at the first corner and the German boldly overtook him to claim his seventh season win.