Plastic bag likely cause of Sirotkin's Australian GP brake failure

Williams driver Sergey Sirotkin reckons a rogue sandwich bag caused his early retirement from the 2018 Formula 1 season-opening Australian Grand Prix

Plastic bag likely cause of Sirotkin's Australian GP brake failure

Sirotkin made it just five laps into his F1 debut, before he speared down the run-off at Turn 13 after running out of brakes.

Sirotkin is convinced rubbish being sucked into the brake duct triggered it.

"You would not believe what happened: it was a plastic sandwich bag, which went into the rear-right brake duct," he said.

"We still have a piece of the bag in our bodywork. Yes, that's how exciting it is. It was a big bag, a big sandwich bag.

"It was lap three or lap four, and it made [the brakes] overheat massively. It caused massive temperature spikes and destroyed all of the brakes.

"There is no wall or anything there, so luckily the car is still in one piece. But I lost the pedal and went completely straight. It was day over."

Williams chief technical officer Paddy Lowe stopped short of confirming a bag was the culprit, but admitted it was high on the list of suspects.

"It's a theory at the moment. It's not fully proven," he said.

"We need to do some forensics on that. But we have residue of what looks like a melted plastic bag.

"Lance [Stroll] actually said he saw some plastic bags at Turn 1 very early in the race. We measure disc temperatures and that's where we see them suddenly start to go through the roof, at exactly that part of the circuit. So that also corroborates.

"We'll go through and analyse it. But the pieces do seem to add up well to it being a complete blockage of the brake duct on the right rear with all the temperatures going through the roof and eventually catching fire, and then the actual catastrophic failure.

"We lost all the sensors from that corner progressively as they got burned and eventually the seal has probably gone on the caliper because there's a fluid leak and the pedal went to the floor."

Sirotkin added that missing out on 53 laps of running will continue to hurt into the upcoming races, as he had hoped a full race distance would provide some familiarity with the Williams.

"Today I really hoped to do a nice clean race, just to learn and build some confidence," he said.

"It was something I was really looking forward to, in the morning I was really in the mood for a a good race."

Lowe said the "freak" circumstances made Sirotkin's lost running even more of a shame.

"One of the most unfortunate things of the day for me was Sergey not getting to finish the race from what appears to be a bit of freak bad luck, and therefore he's not got the one race under the belt that you would want as a rookie driver to sort of launch your Formula 1 career," he said.

shares
comments
Early damage a factor in Max Verstappen's Australian GP spin

Previous article

Early damage a factor in Max Verstappen's Australian GP spin

Next article

Lewis Hamilton: I'd have won Australian Grand Prix with right data

Lewis Hamilton: I'd have won Australian Grand Prix with right data
Load comments
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

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
The figures Red Bull and Mercedes can't afford to see again in F1 2021 Plus

The figures Red Bull and Mercedes can't afford to see again in F1 2021

OPINION: An interloper squad got amongst the title contenders during Formula 1’s street-circuit mini-break, where Red Bull left with the points lead in both championships. But, as the campaign heads back to purpose-built venues once again, how the drivers of the two top teams compare in one crucial area will be a major factor in deciding which squad stays in or retakes the top spot

Formula 1
Jun 16, 2021
Why Alfa's boss is ready for the task of securing a stronger F1 future Plus

Why Alfa's boss is ready for the task of securing a stronger F1 future

Two tenth places in recent races have lifted Alfa Romeo to the head of Formula 1's 'Class C' battle in 2021, but longer-term the Swiss-based squad has far loftier ambitions. With the new 2022 rules set to level out the playing field, team boss Frederic Vasseur has good reason to be optimistic, as he explained to Autosport in an exclusive interview

Formula 1
Jun 15, 2021
How Barnard’s revolutionary McLaren transformed F1 car construction Plus

How Barnard’s revolutionary McLaren transformed F1 car construction

The MP4/1 was pioneering by choice, but a McLaren by chance. STUART CODLING relates the tangled (carbonfibre) weaves which led to the creation of one of motor racing’s defining cars

Formula 1
Jun 15, 2021
Why the end is nigh for F1’s most dependable design tool Plus

Why the end is nigh for F1’s most dependable design tool

Windtunnel work forms the bedrock of aerodynamic development in Formula 1. But as PAT SYMONDS explains, advances in virtual research are signalling the end of these expensive and complicated relics

Formula 1
Jun 13, 2021
Why polarising Mosley’s legacy amounts to far more than tabloid rumour Plus

Why polarising Mosley’s legacy amounts to far more than tabloid rumour

The newspapers, naturally, lingered over Max Mosley’s tainted family history and niche sexual practices. But this is to trivialise the legacy of a big beast of motor racing politics. STUART CODLING weighs the life of a man whose work for safety on both road and track has saved hundreds of thousands of lives, but whose penchant for cruelty remains problematic and polarising

Formula 1
Jun 12, 2021