Tampered Seatbelts Found at Sandown 500

Seatbelts from the Sandown 500 have had their FIA Certification “Cut off” under instruction from Nuno Costa, Head of Safety Equipment Homologation at the FIA because of alleged illegal product tampering.

Costa has been made aware of alleged product tampering of the Willans brand belts and made the call to CAMS Technical Manager, Scott McGrath to have the products decertified and removed from competition immediately.    It is suggested that Costa also went as far as ordering a full audit of all supercar seatbelts that competed in the event.

In Sundays race, anomalies during one of the pit stops were noticed on the Foxsports coverage.  The seatbelts in at least one multi car team were clearly connected in more than one spot.

Belt manufacturer Willans was more than forthcoming with information and stated that none of their products for saloon cars have multi connection points.
“Willans harnesses are offered with a choice of release box connections -  to the left lap strap, the right lap strap or to the crutch strap. We do not offer any harnesses with multiple permanent connections to the release box as this would be in violation of the FIA regulation 8853-2016.“ states Simon Perkins Managing Director.

Perkins then reported the illegal product tampering to the FIA and subsequently recalled the certification on those products.

The point of a releasing belt is so in an emergency a driver can be extricated without any obstruction.   As we saw in the Saturday race with young Todd Hazlewood ending upon his side after a massive wreck, if the cars in question were involved it would have made it dramatically harder to get the driver out safely particularly if the driver was unconscious or seriously injured.    

We all look for advantages in motorsport as that’s what makes it interesting but the allegations around altering an FIA safety device is taking it way too far to get and advantage.