Local fibre line failure caused F1 data outage at Imola

The Formula 1 organisation says that the failure of a local fibre optic line caused the outage that impacted TV coverage and team radio transmissions during first practice for the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

Local fibre line failure caused F1 data outage at Imola

The F1 data system went down at the start of track action and a quick switch was made to a "recovery mode" that allowed basic operations to continue via a satellite link.

However, many features such as data transmission, onboard cameras and team radios were out of commission for at least part of the session.

The fibre failure was addressed during the lunch break and FP2 took place without any further problems after the normal system was reset.

As a result of COVID-19 restrictions, F1 has switched more of its technical operations from the track back to its UK base in Biggin Hill in order to reduce the need for personnel to travel to races, but the organisation has stressed that today's failure was local.

Read Also:

The outage created major issues for teams, as radio communications to drivers were disrupted, making it impossible to give the usual guidance about traffic issues when faster cars were approaching from behind.

The lack of contact with the pit wall contributed to a clash between a slow-moving Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez, which brought out a red flag. After a hearing the stewards took no action on the matter.

"Certainly, it was a big problem," said Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto. "I don't know if in all the teams we had exactly the same problems. But for us, it was very difficult, especially on Charles [Leclerc], no way of communicating to him.

"It's difficult because you cannot give him advice on the cars following, so then there can be impeding situations which are not voluntary at all, but very difficult for the drivers as well to know who is coming behind.

"On top of that we are running our race power unit, because those power units are the ones we fitted in Bahrain and are used for the entire weekend. So obviously, if you've got any problems, you don't know how to react and to communicate. So these type of problems are serious."

"The experience was a bit strange because we had no lap times," said Alfa Romeo boss Fred Vasseur. "We had the data for safety at least. It was just for the first stint until the mid-session, so it's OK for me, it's not a drama.

"We discussed it after the session, because the drivers were complaining about the radio, but 20 years ago the guys were able to drive without the radio!"

"Until you lose that kind of data I don't think you realise how much you rely on it," said Aston Martin's Otmar Szafnauer. "It was like we were blind on the pit wall. Even driver communication wasn't working. It made things much more difficult."

shares
comments

Related video

Steiner: Spinning Mazepin "trying too hard"

Previous article

Steiner: Spinning Mazepin "trying too hard"

Next article

Verstappen: Red Bull "a little bit" on back foot after FP2 issue

Verstappen: Red Bull "a little bit" on back foot after FP2 issue
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Event Emilia Romagna GP
Author Adam Cooper
Why McLaren doesn’t doubt Ricciardo can escape his ‘dark’ place Prime

Why McLaren doesn’t doubt Ricciardo can escape his ‘dark’ place

Three points finishes from as many starts represents a decent opening innings on paper, but Daniel Ricciardo has endured a tough start to his McLaren career - only magnified his teammate's excellent form. Yet both he and the team have good reason to expect a turnaround soon.

What needs to “change” for Red Bull is ending Verstappen’s errors Prime

What needs to “change” for Red Bull is ending Verstappen’s errors

OPINION: Going up against the dominant force of Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton was always going to demand the best from Red Bull and Max Verstappen. But after making a couple more errors during the Portuguese Grand Prix, the Dutch driver showed there's a small gap he still needs to close in the 2021 Formula 1 title fight.

Formula 1
May 5, 2021
The "subtle" Red Bull upgrades that kept it in the Portugal F1 mix Prime

The "subtle" Red Bull upgrades that kept it in the Portugal F1 mix

Red Bull's Portuguese Grand Prix fortunes were decidedly second best to Mercedes', but the result skews the potential that the team had at Portimao. With a new set of updates, the team looks good going forward into the rest of 2021's spicy F1 competition

Formula 1
May 3, 2021
Portuguese Grand Prix driver ratings Prime

Portuguese Grand Prix driver ratings

The 2021 Portuguese GP will for several drivers go down as a weekend of missed opportunities amid imperfect track conditions that caused struggles with tyre warm-up. But the performances of a select few stood out from the crowd

Formula 1
May 3, 2021
The five key tests Hamilton passed to claim Portugal victory Prime

The five key tests Hamilton passed to claim Portugal victory

Just as he did in 2020, Lewis Hamilton had to come from behind to win the 2021 Portuguese Grand Prix. Only this time there were two rivals he had to pass, among the several challenges he had to overcome, on his way to securing a 97th grand prix victory

Formula 1
May 3, 2021
The data that leaves both Red Bull, Mercedes uncertain of supremacy Prime

The data that leaves both Red Bull, Mercedes uncertain of supremacy

Lewis Hamilton topped the crucial FP2 session on Friday as F1 returned to Portugal, but his Mercedes team cannot be sure it has the edge on its Red Bull rivals. As cool temperatures and wind combine with the still-slippery surface to present drivers with quandaries over set-up and tyre warmup, there's still everything to play for come qualifying.

Formula 1
May 1, 2021
How in-form Norris is staking his claim as Britain's next F1 champion Prime

How in-form Norris is staking his claim as Britain's next F1 champion

As a highly-rated Mercedes junior, George Russell is naturally billed as Lewis Hamilton's heir apparent where Britain's next Formula 1 champion is concerned. But he may face competition for that accolade from Lando Norris, fresh from a confidence-boosting run to third at Imola whose rise is being accelerated by his McLaren team’s revival

Formula 1
Apr 29, 2021
The biggest headache F1 faces over its sprint race experiments Prime

The biggest headache F1 faces over its sprint race experiments

The news this week that F1 has green-lit 'sprint qualifying' races that will determine the grid for three grands prix in 2021 was met with a blend of excitement and scepticism. But before those in both camps can be vilified, F1 must first work out what its criteria is for success - and what will justify making them a more permanent fixture

Formula 1
Apr 28, 2021