Renault/Mercedes over wheel dramas

Renault and Mercedes GP are both confident that there will be no repeat of their Japanese Grand Prix wheel dramas, after discovering why they both suffered failures at Suzuka a fortnight ago

Renault/Mercedes over wheel dramas

Robert Kubica lost a near certain podium finish in Japan when his right rear wheel fell off early in the race, while Nico Rosberg crashed out late on when his left rear wheel came adrift.

Both teams launched investigations to find out exactly what had happened, and both have made modifications to equipment and procedures to ensure that the incidents cannot happen again.

Although Renault initially suspected that Kubica's failure had been caused by the wheel nut on his car having not been tightened up enough, it was subsequently found that debris lodged inside the wheel hub mechanism had been the real cause.

The unseen debris meant that the wheel retaining mechanism could not fully pop into place, and when the debris came loose at racing speed the wheel was able to work itself off. Renault has since introduced extra checks to make sure that such an incident cannot happen again.

Mercedes GP's failures were down to the wheel nut itself working loose during the long race stint that the German had done.

Team principal Ross Brawn admitted that it was hard to know the exact reasons for the failure - with the different expansion rates of the metals used in the wheel mechanism suspected to have been a contributing factor.

"It is very difficult to completely understand what happened because when something happens after 48 laps then you have to say that it was done up properly in the first place," explained Brawn.

"We have accelerometers on the wheel guns and that tells you how long the wheel gun has been done up for. So after the pit stops we can see if we have done the wheels up properly. That wheel was done up properly, but over 48 laps we lost the clamp load of that wheel.

"We have changed some materials in the assembly to different ones that we believe could improve the situation, but quite frankly the whole thing is not completely understood.

"We have also modified the retaining mechanism to try and keep the nut on if it does come loose. Interestingly several other teams had problems at the end of the race, several teams reported they had wheels that were loose, and some characteristics of the circuit caused that issue."

shares
comments
Lotus to build wind tunnel at Hingham

Previous article

Lotus to build wind tunnel at Hingham

Next article

Brawn committed to Mercedes future

Brawn committed to Mercedes future
Load comments
The six critical factors that could hand F1 2021 glory to Hamilton or Verstappen Plus

The six critical factors that could hand F1 2021 glory to Hamilton or Verstappen

The 2021 Formula 1 title battle is finely poised with six races remaining, as just six points separate championship leader Max Verstappen from seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton. In such a closely-fought season, the outcome could hinge on several small factors playing the way of Red Bull or Mercedes

Can Whitmarsh appointment help Aston succeed where its F1 rivals failed? Plus

Can Whitmarsh appointment help Aston succeed where its F1 rivals failed?

Aston Martin owner Lawrence Stroll is determined to make the group a billion-dollar business. MARK GALLAGHER analyses his latest play – bringing former McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh into the fold

Remembering Switzerland’s first F1 winner Plus

Remembering Switzerland’s first F1 winner

Stepping up to F1 in 1962, Jo Siffert shone with Rob Walker Racing Team and BRM before his career was abruptly ended in a fatal crash at Brands Hatch in 1971. Kevin Turner looked back at the life of Switzerland's first F1 winner on the 50th anniversary of his death

Formula 1
Oct 21, 2021
What Verstappen is risking with his current stance on 2021 F1 world title defeat Plus

What Verstappen is risking with his current stance on 2021 F1 world title defeat

OPINION: Max Verstappen is back in the lead of the 2021 Formula 1 drivers’ championship, with the season’s final flyaway events set to get underway in the USA this weekend. But a defensive stance he’s recently adopted could have a lasting impact for the Red Bull driver when it comes to his chances of defeating Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes

Formula 1
Oct 21, 2021
The hidden Ferrari struggle that Sainz’s recent charge put to rest Plus

The hidden Ferrari struggle that Sainz’s recent charge put to rest

Despite appearing to adjust to life as a Ferrari driver with relative ease, it was far from straightforward under the surface for Carlos Sainz Jr. But, having made breakthroughs in rather different routes at the Russian and Turkish races, he’s now targeting even greater feats for the rest of the Formula 1 season

Formula 1
Oct 20, 2021
The final throes of Brazil's fleetingly successful F1 team Plus

The final throes of Brazil's fleetingly successful F1 team

Emerson Fittipaldi is better remembered for his Formula 1 world championships and Indianapolis 500 successes than for the spell running his eponymous F1 team. Despite a hugely talented roll call of staff, it was a period of internal strife, limited funding and few results - as remembered by Autosport's technical consultant

Formula 1
Oct 18, 2021
Why McLaren's expanding agenda will benefit its F1 resurgence Plus

Why McLaren's expanding agenda will benefit its F1 resurgence

In the 1960s and 1970s, McLaren juggled works entries in F1, sportscars and the Indy 500 while building cars for F3 and F2. Now it’s returning to its roots, expanding 
into IndyCars and Extreme E while continuing its F1 renaissance. There’s talk of Formula E and WEC entries too. But is this all too much, too soon? STUART CODLING talks to the man in charge

Formula 1
Oct 17, 2021
How Tsunoda plans to achieve his F1 potential Plus

How Tsunoda plans to achieve his F1 potential

Yuki Tsunoda arrived in grand prix racing amid a whirlwind of hype, which only increased after his first race impressed the biggest wigs in Formula 1. His road since has been rocky and crash-filled, and OLEG KARPOV asks why Red Bull maintains faith in a driver who admits he isn’t really that big a fan of F1?

Formula 1
Oct 15, 2021