After the fire he suffered in the race during the Austrian Grand Prix, Carlos Sainz explained that he found the intervention of the marshals very long. Accused unjustly according to them, they decided to publish a press release explaining why they had taken so long to try to put out the fire on the Ferrari F1-75.
“After the terrible accident of Jules Bianchi in 2014, the rules of the FIA concerning recoveries and interventions on the track have been drastically reinforced” says the statement from the commissioners.
“Interventions are only permitted after instructions from the race direction. On the one hand, this naturally increases the safety of the drivers and marshals, but on the other hand, it has the disadvantage that the interventions take a bit more time.”
In addition to this mandatory caution, the marshals explain that the location of the single-seater, as well as other factors, contributed to the difficulty of intervention, when the single-seater was not completely stopped and was backing up, on fire. , towards the track.
“Several unfortunate circumstances came together. The place where Sainz parked the Ferrari was not visible from the marshals’ stand. They received instructions by radio to go to the car with fire extinguishers, and when they saw the situation, they made the decision to call the fire truck.”
“That decision must have been made in seconds and, in retrospect, it was absolutely correct. If you remember the crash of [Romain] Grosjean, in a situation like this, hand extinguishers are absolutely not enough.”
The commissioner did not “run away”
This is why the commissioner was seen backtracking, suggesting that he was running away from the problem. In reality, his judgment was not to attempt the impossible with his fire extinguisher, and he made the decision to return to the station, call an intervention truck.
“As a result, the fire extinguisher was put out and the car was abandoned, leading to that unfortunate television image of the commissioner ‘running away’. Another problem was that Sainz, understandably, became nervous in the vehicle and let go of the brakes too soon.”
“The chock had to be pushed under the rolling vehicle, which of course made the assembly extremely difficult. However, due to the resistance of the chock, the vehicle headed inwards and came to a stop. at the level of the guardrail. Then, the fire could be extinguished with a few blows of the extinguisher.”
“Of course, in retrospect, when you look at the TV pictures and the track camera recordings, you find things that need to be improved. We will also discuss this internally and with our people.
Sainz would have been protected if he hadn’t come out
The marshals also recall that fires are not usual situations, and that they require very rapid reactions: “But in this exceptional situation, because a fire is not a daily occurrence for us either, the marshals have generally reacted well.”
“We had a fire engine on the scene within 30 seconds, which would have brought a rapidly spreading fire under control. Since the Grosjean accident, it is very important for us to have a lot of firepower extinguishing on the spot immediately in order to protect the pilot in the best possible way.”
“Another emergency vehicle was already there and a third was on the way. Even if Sainz had not gotten out of the vehicle on his own, we could have protected him in the best possible way.”
“We are a team of motorsport enthusiasts who sacrifice their free time for training and exercises to do our best for safety on the track at such events. We will also take this incident as an opportunity to improve. Again.”