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Bizarre & unusual pit stops


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#1 Graham Clayton

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Posted 06 March 2001 - 21:37

The mention of Johnny Herbert leaving the pits with a
wheel jack still attached has got me thinking about
some of the bizarre and unusual pit stops that I have
seen.

One of the memorable ones has to be Juan Fangio
and the missing wheel nut at the 1957 German GP at Nurburgring.

One of my favourites concerns Peter Williamson at
the Hardie-Ferodo 1000 at Bathurst in the late 70's
or early 80's.
Williamson brought his Toyota Celica in for a regular
fuel stop. Unfortunately the rear boot had jammed,
thus blocking access to the fuel tank. Unperturbed,
Williamson grabbed a tomahawk from somewhere in
the pits and proceeded to chop a huge hole in the
boot lid, in order to fill up the tank!

Was there a Ferrari pit stop recently in which only 3
instead of 4 brand tyres were ready for the car?

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#2 Zawed

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Posted 06 March 2001 - 23:26

Irvine was the Ferrari driver waiting for the 4th tyre after the others had been fitted.

I seem to remember an ocassion when Stefan Johansson drove out of the pits with a wheel gun hose wrapped around his wheel, back in his Onyx days. I think he might have been black flagged.

#3 FLB

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Posted 07 March 2001 - 01:08

Originally posted by Zawed
I seem to remember an ocassion when Stefan Johansson drove out of the pits with a wheel gun hose wrapped around his wheel, back in his Onyx days. I think he might have been black flagged.


Montreal, 1989. And yes, it was a pretty strange sight (I was there)... :lol:

#4 Ray Bell

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Posted 07 March 2001 - 01:29

Allan Grice at Bathurst came in for what he called a pit pause with the refueller running alongside the car to put in the splash so he could dash... for about 50 yards.

#5 Graham Clayton

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Posted 07 March 2001 - 02:23

Originally posted by Ray Bell
Allan Grice at Bathurst came in for what he called a pit pause with the refueller running alongside the car to put in the splash so he could dash... for about 50 yards.


Ray,
Watching video of those old Bathurst races makes
you cringe when you see how dangerous refuelling
was - no overflow pipes, and fuel sloshing around
all over the place.
Fires were not uncommon.

One of my other favourite Bathurst pit stops was in
1985, when Peter Brock's Holden had its front
windscreen removed due to damage.
After a couple of laps, he was brought back into the
pits to remove the rear screen. This was done by a
burly Holden Dealer Team mechanic crawling into the
back seat area and applying a couple of well placed
kicks, which removed the screen very quickly!

#6 Ray Bell

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Posted 07 March 2001 - 02:43

You speak of really old times here, dry break stuff came in in the late seventies... I don't recall many fires, and there were never any big ones.

Brock's windscreen, yes, he'd had the screen removed, just peeled off it looked like, in a stop, then someone pointed out the rules said you have to remove the back window if the screen's out... he'd put on goggles, too, at that first stop...

Then they brought him in, this guy lay down in the back and pushed, not kicked, with both feet and two others grabbed the window... which hadn't blown out at 160mph!

Ended with a broken timing chain that year, didn't it?

#7 Graham Clayton

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Posted 11 March 2001 - 21:14

Another memorable pit stop was the fire in the
Mercedes-Benz pit during the 1938 German GP
at the Nurburgring.
The highlight was M-B team Boss Alfred Neubauer
trying to put out the flames by ineffectually
waving the flag that he always carried during
pit stops!
One of the Mercedes was covered in foam and
water after the pit stop, but the driver got
back in and continued the race.
Does anyone have any further details?
I saw the incident on the "Shell
History of Motor Sport" video.

#8 Marcor

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Posted 12 March 2001 - 01:21

That's when and why "Pechvogel" Manfred von Brauchitsch lost his German GP and Richard "Dick" Seaman beat all the Germans.

Seaman got his first drive since the 1937 Donington GP in October, as Mercedes produced no less than 7 W154s during practice for the main race of the season.

von Brauchitsch, the leader of the race, made a pit stop and his car caught fire in the pits. Seaman had followed him in about 10 seconds later and the 2 of them were joined almost immediately by a third Mercedes driver, Walter Baumer (a reserve driver who had replaced Hermann Lang's sick car after Lang had replaced a sick Rudi Caracciola). 3 cars in the pits in the same time was not Alfred Neubauer's idea of a good thing and the fire merely compounded his problem. Seaman - who stopped just to refuel - simply drove through the smoke and extinguisher foam and off into the lead until the finish.

What was the cause of the fire ? Well, the mechanic refuelling von Brauhitsch's car overdid it and gallons of the stuff spurted high into the air and over the back of the Mercedes. Some spilt onto the hot exhaust pipe and in a moment the car was aflame. To their credit, the mechanics were equal to the emergency and had extinguishers in action within moments. Neubauer bravely dragged von Brauchitsch from the car and in just over 1 minute everything was under control. Seaman had smartly driven off and into the lead.

Once the foam had been wiped off his car and Rudolf Uhlenhaut had checked the controls, von Brauchitsch bravely went back into the race, only to go off the road in the other side of the circuit. Unhurt, he walked back to the pits carrying his steering wheel which, to his day, he swears came off in his hand because it hadn't been fitted on properly after the fire. The mechanics and Uhlenhaut (technical director and sometimes test drivers of Mercedes-Benz) have always denied this, saying the wheel was properly locked into position and that von Brauchitsch's crash was a simple driver-error following the shock of fire.

In a recent Motorsport, there's an article about von Brauchitsch. I'm quite sure he said his opinion about the cause of his defeat.

Main source: Racing the silver arrows Chris Nixon.


#9 chrisj

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Posted 12 March 2001 - 03:01

Another crazy pit stop involving fire was Keke Rosberg's Williams at the Brazilian GP in 1983, the first race of the year. He was chasing Piquet's Brabham, and was in 2nd place when he came into the pits for refueling. When the car caught fire Keke popped out of it like a jack-in-the-box, put it was put out in almost the same instant. Patrick Head was there and tossed Rosberg back into the car by the scruff of the neck (well, almost) and off he went. He actually went on th unlap himself and beat Lauda into 2nd place.

#10 maxie

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Posted 12 March 2001 - 05:10

and he was promptly DQ.

#11 fines

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Posted 12 March 2001 - 15:35

That is actually a matter of dispute, since even though the FIA called it a disqualification, they didn't elevate the following finishers and second place remained 'empty', somehow! I much prefer to draw a parallel to the French GP in 1963, when Graham Hill's four points for finishing third were withheld because of a push start. To have a winner and a third, but no second is nonsense, IMHO!

#12 Frank de Jong

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Posted 12 March 2001 - 21:53

O dear I just posted a memorable pitstop in another thread (CART opener). Won't repeat it here,though.
I remember a Alpina BMW 3.2 touring car in 1978, during the Zandvoort trophy (ETC touring cars) leaving the pits with the big white fuel overflow tank nicely on the rear boot, between rear window and batmobile wing. Don't remeber how it ended (fell off probably).
And how about Mansell's Ferrari pitstop in 1989; he overshot his pit, reversed, got his wheels changed, was disqualified for reversing in the pits, but holds on and moves Senna out of contention.
Mansell had also a memorable pitstop with Williams (I remember him banging on his steering wheel) but I don't now when or where. But some of you do, I'm sure.

#13 fines

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Posted 12 March 2001 - 22:47

Yes, also in Portugal, two years later.

[wonder if Ray beats me again...]

#14 Paul Hartshorne

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Posted 12 March 2001 - 22:59

Searching the memory banks now, but didn't Bruno Giacomelli pull into the pits in Austria in 1980 for a tyre or something and none of his Alfa Romeo crew realised; they were all hanging over the pitwall looking for him to pass by on the track and Bruno was sat in his pit blipping his throttle trying to attract their attention! :lol:

Cheers,
Paul

#15 Graham Clayton

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Posted 12 March 2001 - 23:11

Racking my memory, I seem to remember someone
at Indianapolis realising that they were going to
overshoot their pit.
They slammed the brakes on, which resulted in the
car "swapping ends" and ending up parked on pit
lane in the opposite direction!

Can anyone fill in the details?



#16 Ray Bell

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Posted 13 March 2001 - 00:02

Don't know about that one, and I don't recall the Mansell wheel-thumping either, but the reversing and the wheel coming off in the pit lane (Hungaroring?) come to mind.

Here's an interesting pit arrival, again at Bathurst, but in 1948 and it's Jack Murray at the wheel of the Day Special (Ford V8/Wilson preselector/Bugatti T39) ... and it is a pit stop, I think to top up the water!

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#17 Frank de Jong

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Posted 13 March 2001 - 09:23

Another CART history: I remember a few years ago one car leaving the pits, just as another car went by. It resulted in a crash. I think Michael Andretti and Emmo were involved. Does anyone remember this one?

#18 Drinky

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Posted 13 March 2001 - 09:51

Mansell losing his right rear wheel was in 1991 in Estoril, Portugal, a movie can be seen here:

http://f-1.sovintel....l/estoril1.html

Does anyone know whether or not the pitcrew that was hit by the wheel was injured?

Also, does Coulthard's run-in with the pit-wall in Adelaide 1995 count? He never even made it to the pit-crew :)


#19 Ray Bell

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Posted 13 March 2001 - 13:27

And there was that time that Nige rejoined the circuit after a CART pit stop slipping across the grass and straight onto the track... one of the one-mile ovals, I think.

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#20 FLB

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Posted 13 March 2001 - 16:16

Originally posted by Frank de Jong
Another CART history: I remember a few years ago one car leaving the pits, just as another car went by. It resulted in a crash. I think Michael Andretti and Emmo were involved. Does anyone remember this one?


Long Beach, 1991.



Another strange pit stop. At Monza, for the 1992 1000km, a Spice spent time in the pits with an overheating gearbox. That's not so strange, but the crew's solution certainly was: they emptied Coke cans on it, as it was the only cold thing they could find... :eek:

The car eventually finished third.

#21 Frank de Jong

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Posted 13 March 2001 - 20:59

Hmm, bit off-topic, but this reminds me of a famous pitstop during practice in Monaco 1972 by Lauda in his hopeless March 721X: Lauda complained of ridiculous understeer, and was bewildered to hear Robin Herd say: "now I'm gonna cure the understeer", and filling the differential with 1 litre of STP (which happened to be the main sponsor of March). Lauda was upset to say the least, but in later years Herd persisted that it was indeed a desperate attempt to free the diff to cure the understeer...

#22 Graham Clayton

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Posted 13 March 2001 - 21:23

I have just remembered about a car that made regular
pit stops out on the track. It was the final year that the
Armstrong 500 endurance race was held at Phillip Island,
prior to moving to Bathurst in 1963.

The main reason for the move was that the Phillip Island
track disintegrated under the pounding of the cars.

In 1962, the track was at its worst, with loose pieces
of bitumen being flung up into the air. An XL Ford
Falcon had its radiator holed. The car was going
to be retired, when the driver mentioned that there
was a tap on the far part of the course. So, the car
continued. When the water level in the radiator
got too low, the driver would make a pit stop at the
tap to "top up" the radiator!

The Ford went on to finish the race.


#23 cabianca

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Posted 13 March 2001 - 21:28

The Irvine pit stop when only three tires were ready was practically a National crisis because he was poised for a good finish. The best part was that one of the biggest pizzerias in Modena placed an ad in the paper the following week. The headline was, "We found the Wheel!" A picture showed a pizza on top of a laid-down F1 wheel and tire.

#24 John B

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Posted 13 March 2001 - 22:21

The greatest story I've heard is from an old NASCAR race, from the book Fast as White Lightning. Tim Flock was the driver, and supposedly for a promo carried a monkey named Jocko around in the car. One race it began acting up and Flock had to pit: "It was the only time in NASCAR that the reason for a pit stop was that a monkey got put out of the car."

Top that....;)

#25 Gil Bouffard

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Posted 15 March 2001 - 08:01

Re: 1938 German GP at the Nurburgring. Legend has it that Neubauer told Seaman before the race, that he should not pass von Brauchitsch. Neubauer looks up and sees Seaman sitting placidly in his car. He goes to Seaman and wants to know why he hasn't left the pits. Seaman responds. "You told me not to pass Manfred."

At least that's the legend.

Gil Bouffard

#26 maxie

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Posted 15 March 2001 - 10:54

i also remember berger had once swerved across the track right after leaving the pits.

#27 Frank de Jong

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Posted 15 March 2001 - 11:03

1993? Just before active suspensions were banned?

#28 Russ Brooks

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Posted 17 March 2001 - 21:32

I can think of various occasions when the pitstops of various drivers were newsworthy. One of my favourites, though, has to be when Michael Schumacher won the race (forget which, feel free to remind me anyone) from the pitlane. And (correct me if I am wrong) I think this is the only time that this has happened.


#29 Jonathan Merry

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Posted 17 March 2001 - 22:21

Unless I am horribly mistaken....and I don't think I am :)
that would be the British GP at Silverstone 1999

#30 fines

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Posted 17 March 2001 - 22:43

And it had happened before, even at the same track: Emerson Fittipaldi in 1975! :)

[And, of course, Schuey 'won' in 1998, the other year he went out on a stretcher, if you remember...]

#31 Jonathan Merry

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Posted 17 March 2001 - 23:09

right u are..... how time flies!!!!!!

What is the story behind the Fittipaldi stop?

#32 fines

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Posted 17 March 2001 - 23:43

Well, a sudden rain storm washed half a dozen cars off track at Stowe, and then again half a dozen at Club. Emmo managed to aquaplane to the pits to change to wets, that's when the race was red-flagged. Took them three days to publish official results...

#33 Ray Bell

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Posted 17 March 2001 - 23:47

So that's not the same... surely the results are declared as at the completion of the previous lap, and he was in the pits virtually as at the end of a lap of honour?

Or was it that, as he had crossed the line coming into his pit, that the flag came out after that?

#34 fines

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Posted 17 March 2001 - 23:58

It seems your latter assumption is right. Fittipaldi was declared winner with 56 laps, and Pace second with 55 and a totalled Brabham!

#35 Roger Clark

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Posted 18 March 2001 - 12:09

Most of the field crashed on the leader's 56th lap, but Fittipaldi got through. At the end of that lap he stopped to change to rain tyre. He then completed a 57th lap at the end of which the Red Flag was waved. According to Motor sport "The RAC decided to award the results at the point at which the timekeepers had last seen the competitors in any semblance of order, which was the end of lap 55". However, Fittipaldi's race time and average speed correspond to 56 laps. On the other hand, the race distance given in Motor Sport corresponds to 55 laps.

THe resuts remained unofficial for some time following a protest by Mas Mosley. This was presumably because V Brambilla was classified 6th, but had completed 56 laps. Iwould have thought that he should have been ahead of those who crashed on hteir 56th lap. Of course, if the Motor Sport statement was correct, and the results were based on positions at the end of lap 55, then Brambilla's position is right.

If anybody really knows the results of the 1975 British Grand Prix, I would love to have them.

#36 Frank de Jong

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Posted 18 March 2001 - 15:52

What about the 1974 British GP? Lauda, leading has a slow puncture, about 10 laps from the end. He didn't want to come in, remembering the BRM pitstops, which used to last 40 seconds, so he drives on. 4 laps from the finish, he is caught by Scheckter, then by Fittipaldi. Suddenly, the tire gives up, he has to go to the pits. During his tire stop, he is passed by ickx and Regazzoni. He drives off... to be stopped by an official, who declares the course closed, although the race is not over yet. His protest is rejected, although later he is reinstated at the 5th place. One of the few times (or the only time?) a car got a finish position (I don't mean a classification) without actually finishing.

#37 Graham Clayton

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Posted 09 October 2005 - 09:11

The account of Andre Boillot's victory in the 1919 Targa Florio also mentions the unusual way that he refuelled the car during the race, eg

His refuelling consisted of picking up a [fuel] can from the pits and dumping in into the tank as the car shot down a hill, without stopping



It seems from this that Boillot did not come to a total stop during his pit stop, but travelled slowly enough for the can to be attached to the car, which was then refuelled as the Peugeot accelerated away from the pit area. I presume that the empty fuel can would then be discarded by the riding mechanic during the remainder of the lap.

Does anyone have any more specific details about Boillot's pit stops during the 1919 Targa Florio?

#38 jgm

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Posted 09 October 2005 - 10:50

At the 1925 Belgian GP the Alfa Romeo team were so superior that their chief engineer, Vittorio Jano, had a table set up in the pits so that he could enjoy a civilised lunch while watching his cars dominate the race. When his two drivers, Ascari and Campari, made their pit stops they were invited to join him at the table for a spot of lunch.

#39 RTH

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Posted 09 October 2005 - 16:54

The late Rob Walker told the story on film when he was taking part in the 1939 Le Mans 24hrs in I think a Delahaye , in the late evening his pit realised they were down to the last of a great many bottles of Champagne and their driver out in the car had not had any, so they called him in for the last glass in the bottle.

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#40 rosemeyer

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Posted 09 October 2005 - 23:14

I have a tape of the 1960 Nurinburg 1000 K when a Ferrari cought fire while being refueled it set the whole pit lane on fire.

#41 scheivlak

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Posted 09 October 2005 - 23:58

And just yesterday the Minardi crew did a repeat of Bruni's fire at Monza last year with Christijan Albers' car; for us Dutchies it of course triggered the memory of Verstappen's pit fire at Hockenheim in 1994.

#42 Madelier

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Posted 10 October 2005 - 03:43

and also just yesterday we had not one but 2 repeats of Brock at Bathurst.

2 cars with windscreens damaged beyond repair (one from a bouncing tyre at 150km/h and the other from two broken hood clips) thus removed, necessitating the removal of the back windscreens.

Apparently the cabin temp dropped to -15 Celcius at speed, according to one report I saw, both drivers could only just fit into their suits, they were wearing so many layers.

oh and on the bizarre pitstops...Marcus Ambrose was called in for an out of sequence stop, to put on a balaclava, as he was in contravention of the safety apparel rules. That was one of the stranger stops I have seen.

#43 Zoe

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Posted 10 October 2005 - 08:52

Giancarlo Fisichella (if my memory serves me right) pulling into the wrong pits. He'd changed teams and somehow was still used to the old team colors. When, where?

Wasn't there a NASCAR pit stop where one of the Pettys had his son cling to the hood of the car while driving out of the pits?

CART was also good for pit action; Wasn't there an accident when two or three cars went out of the pits at the same time and - Paul Tracy? - ended up in a 180 spin against the pit wall?

Zoe

#44 ian senior

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Posted 10 October 2005 - 08:55

Frank Gardner told a tale of when he was driving Sid Taylor's Lola T70. The car developed all kinds of problems during the race - the brakes died almost completely, only two or three gears were available, the engine was spluttering and not running on all cylinders, the windscreen cracked and the wiper wouldn't work - fairly crucial as it was raining at the time. Frank drove this deathtrap into the pits to call it a day and told Sid what kind of problems he had been having. "Sure Frank" said Sid, "But do you think you could keep going until the end of the race"?

#45 Henri Greuter

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Posted 10 October 2005 - 12:26

A memorable stop because it even ended into a stop:

David Coulthart at Melbourne 1995, crashing in the pitlane when entering the lane....




Another bizarre one was i don't know where anymore, but it happened in 1978 with Carlos Reuteman.
he had stopped, went in the race again.
When teamchef Piccininni was asked after the race why the pitstop had been he answered
"Oh, actually there had been no reason for that stop...."


Henri

#46 D-Type

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Posted 10 October 2005 - 12:33

There was the time that they changed the steering wheel of Mansell's Ferrari because of some electrical fault and Muddy Talker got all excited about it being the first time he'd seen a pitstop where they changed five wheels.

#47 petefenelon

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Posted 10 October 2005 - 12:47

There was an Irvine stop once in his Ferrari days where he'd clearly not taken due care with the harness and the legendary and well-used Irvine testicles were clearly experiencing severe, SEVERE discomfort; you could see Eddie's eyes had rolled all the way back and even through his helmet it was obvious that he was in extreme pain. Several Ferrari mechanics reached into the cockpit (perhaps not the most apposite term under the circumstances and given EI's hobby... :smoking: ) and sorted everything out and a very relieved Irvine rejoined the race.

Short of crashes, scalds from overheating bits of car, and petrol leaks into the cockpit, I don't think I've ever seen a driver looking as though he was in quite as much pain.....

#48 ReWind

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Posted 10 October 2005 - 13:01

Originally posted by jgm
At the 1925 Belgian GP the Alfa Romeo team were so superior that their chief engineer, Vittorio Jano, had a table set up in the pits so that he could enjoy a civilised lunch while watching his cars dominate the race. When his two drivers, Ascari and Campari, made their pit stops they were invited to join him at the table for a spot of lunch.

Well, that's a LEGENDARY pit stop (if you know what I mean ;) )
http://forums.autosp...&threadid=62781
http://forums.autosp...&threadid=72547

#49 scheivlak

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Posted 10 October 2005 - 18:15

Originally posted by D-Type
There was the time that they changed the steering wheel of Mansell's Ferrari because of some electrical fault and Muddy Talker got all excited about it being the first time he'd seen a pitstop where they changed five wheels.

Brazil 1989 I remember, the semi-automatic's debut race.

#50 oldtimer

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Posted 10 October 2005 - 18:21

Back in the early 1950s, Jean Behra pulled into his Gordini for some under the hood work. The Gordini mechanics could not get the hood fastners to catch, and a furious Behra jumped out of the car, pushed he mechanics aside and set about the hood. In his rage, he had no more success than the mechanics. He climbed sheepishly back into the car and left ultimate success to his mechanics.

All beautifully described by Jenks, but imagine what a wonderful TV moment that would have made.