Originally posted by Sneezy
But Trulli was really quick at the time, the time you mentioned Ferrari should have brought in Kimi to fuel him to the end. I have no doubt Charlie talked to Ferrari at the time. Don't forget that it was Felipe who was the one in danger of being hit by that exhaust piece because he was right behind Kimi. Race control found about the exhaust when both Ferrari's were next to each other, not earlier than that. Ferrari took the gamble and Charlie had to let it slide for Bourdais as well.
How do you know when Race Control found out about the loose pipe? I have not read anything from race control about this matter - I'd love a reference.
We don't know that Whiting spoke to Ferrari though. IMO if Ferrari assured Whiting that the pipe could not come off, then Ferrari were wrong. But the TV commentators said that the pipe was located by a communications cable. I presume that cable would have been an optical cable which has a heat resistant coating on it. Normally optical cables are covered with Low Density Polyethylene, which melts at around 140 degrees C depending on the melt index of the polymer. But being close to the exhaust, the plastic coating might have been a higher temperature polymer. The cable coating's thickness and the material itself would affect the strength.
It might have been a wire cored cable too with a heavy heat resistant cloth coating, and if it was a thermocouple cable then it probably was such a cabl. But such cables are not designed to be tethers - let alone to be subjected to severe movement. IMO the cable likely did not fail anyway - it was where the cable was located to the exhaust that failed. I presume that was a thermocouple position. There would be no strength rating for how strong the thermocouple is attached to the cable IMO. I have not heard of it - maybe an engineer does? I now lots about thermocouples though, and one can pull them out by the cable, but the ones I know sit loosely and they slip out easily.
If Ferrari actually advised Whiting that the tube was safely attached, then they were wrong and they would be responsible for Whiting making an incorrect call in allowing the car to stay out and presuming it was safe and therefor legal.
As to the traffic, Ferrari had I think 12 seconds up their sleeve, excluding being caught behind cars. It is possible to work all that out - Autosport's graphic replay shows the gaps between the cars which are on the same lap, but if Ferrari were 27 seconds ahead of the third car, then they could have pitted and come out without loosing Kimi's second place. They would have lost time due to carrying extra fuel though, but then they still had more than 10 seconds up their sleeve.
I worked out the times earlier:
Pos Driver Team Time
1. Massa Ferrari (B) 1h31:50.245
2. Raikkonen Ferrari (B) + 17.984
3. Trulli Toyota (B) + 28.250
4. Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes (B) + 28.929
5. Kubica BMW Sauber (B) + 30.512
6. Webber Red Bull-Renault (B) + 40.304
7. Piquet Renault (B) + 41.033
8. Alonso Renault (B) + 43.372
9. Coulthard Red Bull-Renault (B) + 51.021
Add 10 seconds, and Kimi would still have come second, no points difference.
Add 15 seconds, and Kimi would have finished 5th, Kubica would have finished 4th and would be just behind Massa in the championship.
Add 25 seconds, and Kimi would finished 8th, scoring one point.
Still, the gap between 2nd and 5th was very small, but I suspect excluding traffic that a 15 second loss due to not running with low fuel was unlikely, so I think coming in straight away Kimi may still have come second.