San Marino GP 24/04/05 Post Race Fuel Drain on Car 3 - Jenson Button
After the finishing weight of the car of 606.1 kg had been established on the weighing platform, the car was then pushed into the Parc Ferme garage area.
A BAR Team member (four were present, chief mechanic, fuel operator and two further mechanics) was informed of our intention to perform a full drain-out on this car. This procedure involves raising the front of the car to allow as much fuel as possible to drain back to the main tank pick-ups, an external fuel pump is then connected so that the fuel may [be] removed and weighed. The team were also told that they would be required to open the top of the fuel tank for further inspection and that the use of an endoscope would probably be necessary to satisfy us that the car was indeed empty.
The car was lifted at the front by means of a pneumatic jack.
The team's fuel module lines were primed and start figures were recorded (start figure is the total in the fuel module tank). The scales were then zeroed and fuel draining commenced.
N.B. A fuel module is a device for loading or unloading fuel from a car's fuel tank via an external connection. The fuel cell of the module rests on scales and pre-programmed amounts may be pumped in or out of the car's fuel tank.
After a short while the fuel module pumps began to "suck air", an indication that the drain is nearing completion. The module was then stopped and a further 2 to 3 minutes were given to allow for any more fuel to drain to the rear of the car's fuel tank. The fuel module was then re-started and continued to drain for approximately another 30 seconds to 1 minute.
Lines were removed and re-primed, drain-out figures recorded and total figures recorded.
The fuel removed:
Start figure 6.96 kg
End figure 7.12 kg
Fuel removed from car 3 0.16 kg
The BAR fuel operator was then asked if he was happy the car was empty, to which the reply was "yes".
The mechanics were then asked to remove the race valve from one side and the normal service plate from the other side at the top of the car's fuel tank (top access holes), so that we could visually inspect the amount of fuel left internally after draining.
On initial inspection there was a small amount of fuel left in the bottom of the cars fuel tank.
On closer inspection we noticed that there was a clear plastic tube running into a bulkhead fitting on the bottom front wall of the fuel tank.
When queried, the team could offer no real explanation as to its purpose.
When asked what was behind the front wall and where the pipe led to, the team members again could offer no clear explanation.
They were then asked if the area behind this front wall would contain fuel and no one was prepared to give a definitive answer.
The team [were] then informed that pipe would have to be removed to allow further inspection by means of an endoscope.
The pipe was removed by the team, and an endoscope inserted through the hole on the front wall of the tank to reveal that there was indeed fuel within this compartment.
The team [were] then informed that the fuel in this compartment must be removed and weighed.
After a little head scratching and time wasting / stalling, a pipe was presented to us. One end of the pipe was small enough in diameter to enter through the hole in the front wall of the fuel tank and the other end had a fitting to connect directly to the team's fuel module (this is how they would normally drain it I suspect).
Once again the fuel figures on the teams fuel module were recorded and draining from the car's fuel tank commenced again.
A further 8.92 kg of fuel were removed from this compartment.
A further 2.46 kg of fuel was then removed from the floor of the main fuel tank by using the same method.
After we were satisfied that the car was indeed empty, the parts that were removed were then refitted. The front of the car was then lowered to enable the car to be pushed back to the FIA weighing platform.
The new weight of the car was found to be 594.6 kg, a difference of 11.5 kg to the original weight after the race. This weight was confirmed in front of a team member (Craig Wilson). The accuracy of the FIA scales was also confirmed to the team member by putting 600 kg of calibrated weighs onto the scales. The FIA scales read 0.5 kg high (showing 600.5 kg with 600 kg weights on). The FIA scales show increments of 0.5 kg.
With these findings a report was made to the stewards of the meeting at 18:25. (Document 47)