Chinese GP: Toro Rosso goes bang

Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton did little to dispel the belief that McLaren could have an advantage in the Chinese GP, but their performance in opening practice was overshadowed by a frightening crash suffered by Toro Rosso’s Sebastien Buemi.

Having seen his team-mate set the early pace, Button vaulted to the top of the times midway through the 90-minute session, clocking a 1min 36.677secs benchmark that would not be beaten thereafter. But the closing minutes of the morning outing were dominated by the incident involving Buemi.

The Swiss driver had missed much of the session with brake problems on his STR5, and had only completed five timed laps when, approaching the hairpin with 10 minutes remaining, he had both front wheels fly off the car amid a shower of carbon fibre.

Initial replays proved inconclusive, save to magnify the severity of the failure. But team sources later revealed that they believed a new upright to have been to blame, the right-side failure of which placed intolerable strain on the entire front end assembly. Fortunately, Buemi was able extract himself from the remains of his car and return to the pits.

Unsurprisingly, he was the slowest of the established teams’ drivers setting a lap, sitting in 17th overall, just ahead of the two Lotus drivers, but still fared better than Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso, who failed to set a time after the engine in his F10 failed in spectacular fashion. The unit, which replaced the one lost in the closing stages of the Malaysian Grand Prix, was the unit previously substituted out of the Ferrari after qualifying in Bahrain, emphasising the Scuderia’s wisdom ahead of a race Alonso went on to win.

At the opposite end of the times, the session proved to be something of a Mercedes benefit, with Button and Hamilton split by ‘works’ driver Nico Rosberg, with Michael Schumacher in fourth. Eight tenths of a second covered the top four, with Sepang winner Sebastian Vettel next up for Red Bull Racing, the only other driver within a second of the ultimate pace.

Renault duo Robert Kubica and Vitaly Petrov took sixth and seventh, ahead of Mark Webber, Adrian Sutil and Felipe Massa, with another 90 minutes of running scheduled for this afternoon.

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That very serious.. what ever happened to those carbon rope supports which in the event of tires coming-off in case of failure/accidents wouldn’t just fly off to a distance?

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how the hell did that manage to happen….looks like the both suspension arms just collapsed…fia investigation must go on there surely

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…both?!!!

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i love the way he still tries to steer it with no wheels on.

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That was weird how BOTH came off. Sabotage (unlikely) but otherwise fatigue I’d say. On a corner that would’ve been worse for all involved.

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I’m sorry my English is probably not good enough. But doesn’t a crash usually involve crashing into something? His wheels just fell of. I’m surprised he was still able to stop the car with rear brakes though.

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That is freaky. I agree with Andrew M definately an investigation.

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That was just what you would expect to see on TV Bloopers! It was a good example of the forces that the Cars and Drivers persevere throughout a race. I love F1, the spontinuity of F1, and the Technicality of F1. I dont think there will be much to investigate in this matter, after all, the problem has been identified, and it will be learned from, then shelved. It just adds excitement to an ever changing sport.

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the wheels just came off which means there must of been a failure with the axles holding the wheels on and the carbon ropes must not of been strong enough to hold them back on. but i agree there should be an investigation here

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Actually, the problem was the carbon ropes were attached to the bit of the suspension that broke :D

Nothing you can do about that :D

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Methinks Buemi will be needing some fresh overalls after that…

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What you have to take into account is the severity of the accident. As both uprights failed on the front suspension, the wheel tethers are useless as they themselves are attached to the uprights.

The uprights were of a new design for China and have since been removed from both cars. It is obvious that the testing procedures need to be looked at.

In addition, the wheels (which where still traveling at great speed) then proceeded towards the crowd; with the front-right wheel missing the cameraman by inches and jumping the catch-fencing.

Perhaps then, the FIA also need to investigate better tethering techniques.

However, it was very amusing to see Buemi try to turn into the slide AFTER the wheels had flown off!!

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i wonder if the tyre that went into the crowd is on eBay yet
glad he’s ok though

whoo f1!

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What does this button do…..?

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That could have been a lot worse than what it was. Look what happened to Henry Surtees.

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I think Toro Rosso is developing a faster mechanism for pit-stops: press a button and the wheels come off instantly… Buemi just pressed it at the wrong time!

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It broke under braking. First the left one broke off and all the weight fell on the right one and that was it.

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OMFG!!!!
both!! wow…
that is amazing, but like BlackRider said: a crash usually involves crashing into something…
Totally agree with andrew m, there needs to be an investigation, wheels don’t just explode off of cars

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No emontions in F1… come on!! New rule, at least once per season every car must eject both front weels simultaneously.

Buemi scores the first bonus point of 2010.

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hmm, well that car’s well made then isn’t it…

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