FIA explains marshals' delay in dealing with F2 fire

F1 race director Michael Masi has explained why marshals took so long to attend Luca Ghiotto’s car after it caught fire in the Formula 2 crash at Sochi on Sunday.

FIA explains marshals' delay in dealing with F2 fire

In the F2 sprint race, Ghiotto was battling with Jack Aitken for fourth position on lap seven, when as the result of a puncture the Campos driver slid into the path of Ghiotto at Turn 3. This sent both cars straight into the barriers at high speed.

TV footage revealed that there was already smoke emerging from Ghiotto’s Hitech when he climbed out of the car without outside assistance, and no fire marshals had got on the scene before it burst into flames.

The fire was eventually extinguished with the help of several marshals, but the car was pretty much destroyed in the blaze.

Masi, who visited the crash site to assess damage to the barriers, explained the circumstances behind what had appeared to be a slow response to the accident. 

"They got there actually, relatively quickly, the challenge was that it was quite a distance between two marshal posts where the incident occurred,” Masi said.

“So the fireman obviously were at marshal posts that were both on the side of the incident. I wouldn't want to be running with a fire extinguisher for the best part of 150-odd metres or whatever. 

“As soon as the race was suspended, and all of the competition cars have gone past, we also saw marshals from the opposite side of the track cross.

“I think that in the circumstances, yes, seeing a fire is never good. But the positive part was that both drivers got out unscathed, which is the most important element of all."

From the editor, also read:

Both right tyres on Aitken's car were detached from the wheel rims in his collision with Ghiotto, which meant he hit the barriers on the exit of Turn 3 at a speed of 195km/h.

This arose suspicious that new 18-inch tyres that Pirelli has introduced in F2 could be more vulnerable in incidents than their smaller 13-inch predecessors.

Masi said he would hold a dialogue with Pirelli before reaching any conclusions about the safety of the new tyre size.

"I haven't had a look at the incident in detail to be quite honest, because obviously the main focus was the safety of the drivers, which was prime,” said Masi.

“And then subsequent to that was the repair of the affected area. But from an FIA perspective, we always look into elements like that. And we'll come together with Pirelli and will do so accordingly after this weekend as we do with any large incident."

The race control suspended action almost immediately after the collision between Ghiotto and Aitken, and eventually decided not to resume the race, with results declared at the end of lap five.

Masi said it was the right decision to not resume the race as it took marshals 90 minutes to conduct extensive repairs to the barriers.

"I think it's unfortunate, but at the end of the day, we have a timetable to adhere to for starters. 

“And secondly, you know, the degree of that incident and the repair that needed to take place, I think in the end took in the vicinity of 90 minutes to do that repair. 

“So, I think what happened whilst unfortunate that the FIA Formula Two championship didn't get to complete its race. It does happen occasionally."

Additional reporting by Adam Cooper

shares
comments
Aitken explains "scary" 250km/h F2 collision with Ghiotto

Previous article

Aitken explains "scary" 250km/h F2 collision with Ghiotto

Next article

Honda's F1 exit won't impact Tsunoda's future - Tost

Honda's F1 exit won't impact Tsunoda's future - Tost
Load comments
How F2 and F3's flawed format changes could prove shortlived Prime

How F2 and F3's flawed format changes could prove shortlived

After a chaotic 2020, marred by the coronavirus pandemic, the FIA brought in radical changes to Formula 2 and 3. But less than 12 months later, there are talks of them being reversed after all did not go to plan…

FIA F2
Sep 9, 2021
The Red Bull F1 junior aiming to defy geographical odds Prime

The Red Bull F1 junior aiming to defy geographical odds

It's a long way from Pukekohe New Zealand to Milton Keynes, but Red Bull's Kiwi protege Liam Lawson has defied plenty of odds to reach the rung below F1. He's endured disappointment since winning on his F2 debut in Bahrain, but is determined to turn his season around and prove himself worthy of a place on the F1 grid

FIA F2
Jul 27, 2021
How Red Bull's next F1 hopeful turned around his season Prime

How Red Bull's next F1 hopeful turned around his season

Having impressed in Formula 3, Juri Vips looked to be next cab off the rank in Red Bull's prestigious Junior Team before his 2020 schedule was dealt a heavy blow by the COVID-19 pandemic. After a tough start to life in Formula 2, Vips is showing signs of a recovery - could he be the first Estonian to reach Formula 1?

FIA F2
Jun 14, 2021
How F1 hopeful Pourchaire is re-writing the F2 record books Prime

How F1 hopeful Pourchaire is re-writing the F2 record books

He'd marked himself out as a star of the future in last year's FIA Formula 3 championship, but 17-year-old Theo Pourchaire underlined his credentials by winning his first Formula 2 race in the Monaco feature. Sauber junior status gives him a clear route to the top, but with wisdom beyond his years, he's not getting caught up in his own hype.

FIA F2
Jun 3, 2021
The F1 hopeful living two lives to keep his dream alive Prime

The F1 hopeful living two lives to keep his dream alive

Having lost his backing from Red Bull, Richard Verschoor has had to graft to continue his ascent up the single-seater ladder. An impressive Formula 2 debut in Bahrain, despite the lateness of his deal, shows his unorthodox approach is paying dividends.

FIA F2
Apr 22, 2021
Was Formula 2’s radical format switch a success? Prime

Was Formula 2’s radical format switch a success?

Going into the 2021 Formula 2 season the biggest talking point wasn’t about any drivers or teams, but the new race weekend format. Created partly out of financial necessity but also to spice up the action, the Bahrain opener provided a snapshot of the positives and negatives to come.

FIA F2
Apr 4, 2021
Why 2021 is make-or-break for the driver F1 needs Prime

Why 2021 is make-or-break for the driver F1 needs

He was tipped for glory in FIA Formula 2 last year, but was hampered by reliability woes at inopportune moments. Guanyu Zhou knows he won't get too many more chances if he is to become China's first F1 driver, with fierce competition within the ranks of Alpine's junior stable

FIA F2
Mar 25, 2021
Ranked! Carlin's greatest F1 graduates Prime

Ranked! Carlin's greatest F1 graduates

Carlin has helped guide enough drivers to Formula 1 to fill out an entire grid, plus a handful of reserves, to create a remarkable alumni list. With Yuki Tsunoda set to join that group, Motorsport.com has ranked its graduates to grace the grand prix scene...

Formula 1
Feb 22, 2021