How F1 Drivers Got “Blindfolded” By Melbourne GPS Issue And Why It Happened

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The first race practice at Albert Park in Melbourne was stopped abruptly when the GPS couldn’t give out data. This issue was caused by a bug that affected how drivers got tyre information, which lead to drivers almost having accidents because their teams couldn’t warn them of cars in their vicinity.

Just before the red flag was shown, Yuki Tsunoda from AlphaTauri almost ran into a Ferrari while taking the second turn, meanwhile Stroll from Aston Martin had to slow down because some other cars on the track weren’t paying attention.

When Nico Hulkenberg from Haas got to the last part of the race, he had to hit his brakes really hard when Lando Norris pulled up in a McLaren, sending him sliding across the grass near the end of the course.

His teammate Magnussen said that drivers would have been safe if they had used their own senses beforehand and not depended on the radio. But, since many drivers were relying on the radio for information, it became a safety issue.

“It felt like everyone was blindfolded when the GPS system went out,” he said.

“I think a lot of people also trusted their engineers to tell them where the traffic was.”

Nico Hulkenberg from Haas VF-23 mentioned that the drivers didn’t know that the GPS system was down. He said if they had known, then they would have been a lot more careful and kept looking at their mirrors. When asked by about the Norris incident, he said some drivers trust in their engineers and calls more than others do.

“Today we saw a big difference!” said Hulkenberg. He thought it was the right thing to do to call off the session due to all of the extra risks that came with street circuits like blind approaches.

“It’s best to stop and fix the problem,” he added.

“Sometimes it can be hard to see coming cars on roads like the ones in here and Jeddah, and that causes some unsafe conditions.”

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