Has A Formula 1 Car Ever Hit The Pit Crew?
Formula 1 drivers rely on pit stops to change their tires along with other parts of their car that might need replacing. In the sport of Formula 1, where races are sometimes decided by mere milliseconds, speed is always key, and pit stops are no different. Formula 1 teams optimize their pit stops to get them finished as fast as possible, and part of this is by employing a team of mechanics, also known as the “pit crew,” to change out parts as quickly as possible. During a high-speed pit stop, the margin for error is incredibly small. With a car moving at speed and so many mechanics running around, it can sometimes lead to collisions between the Formula 1 car and the pit crew.
How Pit Accidents Happen
Pit accidents resulting in a pit crew member being struck by the car are almost always the result of the team trying to move too quickly. Whether this is the driver’s fault for coming into the pits too quickly or by the crew trying to get the driver moving out of the pit lane in too much of a hurry, speed is typically to blame. When a driver enters the team’s pit area, they have to be incredibly precise about stopping their car in the right place. Sometimes, however, they might enter this area with a bit too much speed, thus inhibiting their precision. If not precise, this sometimes results in one of the pit crew members getting clipped by the car.
Perhaps the most common type of collision is when the operator of the front jack gets knocked over by a car that overshoots its proper place in the pit area. Fortunately, most of these accidents occur at a low enough speed that serious injuries are uncommon. An accident usually results in someone being knocked over, but not much more.
Examples of Pit Blunders
Throughout the history of Formula 1, there have been plenty of instances of pit blunders resulting in a pit crew member being struck by a car. One such incident occurred in 2020 when Lance Stroll of the Racing Point team came in too hot and overshot where he was supposed to stop. The front end of the car hit the waiting jack, and the man holding the jack was thrown backwards and tumbled over. Luckily he didn’t sustain any injuries.
A nearly identical incident at the San Marino Grand Prix in 2000 saw Michael Schumacher rush into the pits. He braked a bit too late, which resulted in the pit crew member responsible for the front jack getting hit. His impact was a bit more severe, and ended up with a bit more airtime before ultimately landing face-first on the pavement. Luckily, all members of pit crews are required to wear helmets when on the job. This means that while they always have the risk of collision while working in the pits, it will limit the potential for injury.