MARCH 16, 2001
Head wants investigation into tether problems
PATRICK HEAD, the Williams technical director, has called for a thorough investigation into the tethers that are supposed to keep wheels connected to the cars in the event of a crash.
Head, like the entire Formula One world, has grown concerned at the frequency wheels are coming away from cars in accidents. Two marshals have been killed in the last five races after being struck by a wheel from a car.
Marshal Paolo Gislimberti was killed at the Italian Grand Prix, while Graham Beveridge was killed at this season's Australian Grand Prix and Head has called for action.
"Fundamentally the car came to a halt with Jacques Villeneuve safe but all eight wheel ties had parted," said Head in reference to the crash in Australia.
"We have to have a good look at how to improve the performance of the wheel ties and make sure they do what intended to do."
Head believes the wheel tethers are fine when pulled straight, but believes the problems come when they are stressed at an angle, and he believes this must be investigated.
"In simple terms the car itself survived quite well but the wheel ties did not do their job, but I am sure some good balanced technical attention to that in short term rather than long term will be a good thing."
Head also commented on driver aids by saying: "That is like the apple in the Garden of Eden - once you've bitten it, it is very difficult to take it away.
"Formula One, like many other competitive activities, is a ripe environment to say everyone else is doing something wrong," continued Head.
Traction control will be legalized from the fifth race of the season in an effort to cancel all doubts now Formula One's control systems have become so complicated and difficult to police.
Head believes there is no other option. "In the short term, it you want to get rid of any doubts and innuendo, then from Barcelona onwards is the only way to deal with it," he said.