Ferrari Revise Pitstop Plans After Accident
Thursday May 18th, 2000
Ferrari chief mechanic Nigel Stepney will be replaced by two men at Sunday's European Grand Prix after he broke his leg in a pit lane accident in Spain two weeks ago.
Stepney was hit by Schumacher's Ferrari after the German driver was given the all-clear to leave the pits before refuelling was complete.
The Briton will be out until June but he said on Thursday he had helped to choose his replacements.
Italian Claudio Bisi will take over as chief mechanic while Pietro Timpini has been promoted from the test team and will serve as refueller.
Ferrari have been busy testing their pitstop routine with the new men in place and are confident that they will perform well in Sunday's race at the Nurburgring.
"I have helped to plan this and to organise it because I don't want the team to suffer during my absence. I want to limit the damage," said Stepney.
Ferrari had their most embarrassing moment of last season at the Nurbuergring, in a race held in September, when the mechanics had only three tyres ready when championship challenger Eddie Irvine came in for a pit stop.
Schumacher had to make three pit stops in Spain and his second one, with a new mechanic replacing the injured Stepney, took more than 17 seconds.
The former world champion, who is 14 points clear of Finland's Mika Hakkinen in the championship, told a news conference on Thursday that pit stops had taken on a new dimension in Formula One.
The German said they were now "part of a new game in Formula One. A few years ago, it was not a natural part of the proceedings, but now we have to do it and use all the tactics."