McLaren-Mercedes: Kovalainen crash caused by production error 

Written by David on May 08th, 2008 at 8:50 amLast Update: May 08th, 2008 at 1:39 pm

Heikki Kovalainen crash at Barcelona 2008McLaren-Mercedes has apparently found the cause of Heikki Kovalainen’s crash during the 2008 Spanish Grand Prix. According to Mercedes-Benz chief Norbert Haug, Heikki’s MP4-23 left front wheel rim – produced by Japanese manufacturer Enkei – broke due to a production error. “A formula one rim is very complicated and comprises of several different alloys. Something has apparently gone wrong,”Haug told German newspaper Bild.

In the meantime, Auto Motor und Sport has reported that Lewis Hamilton haven’t had problems with his wheels given the fact they were from a different Enkei batch.

UPDATE: McLaren-Mercedes has issued the following statement:

During the recent Spanish Grand Prix a new front wheel on Heikki car failed on lap 22.

Vodafone McLaren Mercedes and its Official Supplier of wheels have now conducted a thorough technical investigation to determine the exact cause of the failure.

It has been established that, owing to a process fault during manufacture, the outer clamp surface of the wheel was given a clear lacquer coating. As a consequence of this fault, the clamp load that attached the wheel was not to specification.

In running, the consequent loss of load caused the wheel to fret and distort, leading to its eventual failure.

Vodafone McLaren Mercedes and the wheel supplier have now established new procedures designed to prevent a re-occurrence of this issue.

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