Extra wheel tether to be added for 2011

The number of wheel tethers used in Formula 1 will double next year in an effort to improve the sport's safety

Extra wheel tether to be added for 2011

Pressure has mounted on the FIA to improve the effectiveness of wheel tethers - designed to stop wheels detaching from the car in the event of an accident - following a spate of incidents during the F1 season so far.

A wheel tether on Vitantonio Liuzzi's Force India failed when the Italian crashed heavily during qualifying for the German Grand Prix last weekend, his left front wheel narrowly missing Timo Glock as the Virgin car sped past.

During free practice for the Chinese Grand Prix in April, tethers on Sebastien Buemi's Toro Rosso failed when his front suspension collapsed, the Swiss driver incredibly losing both front wheels in the process.

Although neither incident resulted in injury, McLaren Engineering director Paddy Lowe says an improvement to the regulation was necessary - particularly after Formula 2 driver Henry Surtees lost his life at Brands Hatch last year when a stray wheel from a competitor's car struck his helmet at high-speed.

"Wheel tethers are a great concern to us," said Lowe during a McLaren teleconference. "We had the tragic incident last year with Henry Surtees, and we see wheels coming off F1 cars rather more often than we'd like, and than the rules intended, when tethers were introduced. They are working but they're not reliable enough."

He said the Technical Working Group had agreed to take action for 2011.

"One of our tasks is to constantly address safety and we have agreed to do something for next year - it has been published in the rules," said Lowe. "We will introduce a second tether on every corner.

"Rather than try to make each tether 100 per cent reliable, what we found is that when they don't work they have been cut for some reason due to the nature of the accident. What we're thinking is if there are two on each corner, run independently, then it drastically improves the probability that one or both will survive."

Wheel tethers were made mandatory in 1999 after an enormous crash involving half the field at the start of the 1998 Belgian Grand Prix sent detached wheels flying. But there have long been concerns that the tethers do not work effectively in all accidents.

shares
comments
McLaren 'behind the curve' on diffuser

Previous article

McLaren 'behind the curve' on diffuser

Next article

McLaren still confused by flexi-wings

McLaren still confused by flexi-wings
Load comments
The IndyCar feature that Paul Ricard desperately needs in F1 Plus

The IndyCar feature that Paul Ricard desperately needs in F1

OPINION: The French Grand Prix offered a surprisingly interesting spectacle, despite the headache-inducing nature of the circuit. But IndyCar's Road America race offered far more in terms of action - and the increased jeopardy at the Elkhart Lake venue might be something Paul Ricard needs in future...

French Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

French Grand Prix Driver Ratings

The French GP was a weekend decided by tiny margins both at the front of the field, as Red Bull inflicted a comeback defeat on Mercedes, and in the battle for the minor points places. That's reflected in our driver ratings, where several drivers came close to a maximum score

Formula 1
Jun 21, 2021
How Red Bull took French GP "payback" on a day of Mercedes mistakes Plus

How Red Bull took French GP "payback" on a day of Mercedes mistakes

The French GP has been a stronghold for Mercedes since Paul Ricard's return to the calendar in 2018. But that all changed on Sunday, as a clever two-stop strategy guided Red Bull's Max Verstappen to make a race-winning pass on the penultimate lap - for once leaving Mercedes to experience the pain of late defeat it has so often inflicted on Red Bull

Formula 1
Jun 21, 2021
The new age of sponsorship facilitated by F1’s relevancy push Plus

The new age of sponsorship facilitated by F1’s relevancy push

The age of the high-profile title sponsor is over, says JONATHAN NOBLE, but Formula 1’s commitment to technological innovation is attracting high-tech partners

Formula 1
Jun 20, 2021
How Britain’s lost Ferrari star epitomised a bygone F1 era Plus

How Britain’s lost Ferrari star epitomised a bygone F1 era

The 1956 Italian Grand Prix was over for Juan Manuel Fangio, along with his hopes of winning the world championship – until his Ferrari team-mate (and title rival) voluntarily surrendered his own car so Fangio could continue. NIGEL ROEBUCK recalls Peter Collins, a remarkable sportsman

Formula 1
Jun 19, 2021
The 'surprise' Mercedes time that puts F1's victory fight back on a knife-edge in France Plus

The 'surprise' Mercedes time that puts F1's victory fight back on a knife-edge in France

Red Bull led the way after the first two practice sessions for the 2021 French Grand Prix, but only just ahead of Mercedes. There was all the usual practice skulduggery complicating the performance picture, but one aspect seen at the world champion squad gave it a ‘surprise’ lift, as it looks to leave its street-circuit struggles firmly in the past

Formula 1
Jun 18, 2021
How Ferrari got its F1 recovery plan working Plus

How Ferrari got its F1 recovery plan working

After its worst campaign in 40 years, the famous Italian team had to bounce back in 2021 – and it appears to be delivering. Although it concedes the pole positions in Monaco and Baku paint a somewhat misleading picture of its competitiveness, the team is heading into the 2022 rules revamp on much stronger footing to go for wins again

Formula 1
Jun 18, 2021
The joy that exposes F1’s key weakness Plus

The joy that exposes F1’s key weakness

Long-awaited wins for ex-Formula 1 drivers Marcus Ericsson and Kevin Magnussen in IndyCar and IMSA last weekend gave F1 a reminder of what it is missing. But with the new rules aimed at levelling the playing field, there’s renewed optimism that more drivers can have a rewarding result when their day of days comes

Formula 1
Jun 17, 2021