Sainz clears up Austria marshal car fire debate

Henry Valantine
Carlos Sainz leaves his Ferrari. Austria July 2022.

Carlos Sainz has clarified his comments regarding the marshals’ response to his retirement in Austria, having previously said the process was “a bit slow” to take place.

The Spaniard’s engine cut out in the latter stages at the Red Bull Ring last time out, leaving him trundling down towards Turn 4, where he had to park up and get out of his car.

But his F1-75 burst into flames at that moment and an on-rushing marshal had to stop his car from rolling back onto the track, with another coming with a fire extinguisher shortly afterwards.

He said afterwards: “I think the whole process was a bit slow, and at some point, there was so much fire that I had to really get a move on and jump out independently.

“I think it was just at that time that the first marshal arrived and stopped the car.”

The group of marshals at the circuit took umbrage at Sainz’s comments, with the Osterreichring Sicherheitsstaffel having taken to social media to defend the actions taken at the time in a statement, after admitting that “several unfortunate circumstances came together” at the time which restricted their view of the incident.

Carlos Sainz sitting on the grass, his retired Ferrari behind him. Austria July 2022

The group said they will be having internal discussions about improving their actions further moving forward, and the Ferrari driver said he never intended to offend the marshals after the race, and will look to speak to the FIA surrounding the communication of how the marshals went about their work.

“I can understand why they wrote it [the statement] because I guess what I said after the race felt like a criticism to them,” Sainz said, as quoted by Motorsport Week.

“I didn’t intend to come out at all with criticism, I am the first one that I always speak very highly about marshals and the heroes that they [are], the way they volunteer to be in these kind of situations and protect us.

“I never wanted to make it sound like a criticism to anyone. I just wanted to make sure it was analysed and see where we can do it better next time.

“It wasn’t a comfortable moment in the car. It felt a bit hectic at the time and a bit messy.

“The explanation didn’t arrive to me, I saw it through the media, which is maybe something I will need to talk [about] with the FIA.”

The marshals’ statement added that the correct processes took place after the Ferrari was able to be stopped, with Sainz having supposedly taken his foot off the brake before coming to a complete stop when his car caught alight, which led to it rolling back and taking extra time to extinguish.

Having also said they followed the instructions in place as per Race Control’s guidance, Sainz wants to see the process of similar incidents sped up in the future.

“If that is the procedure, it shows that we need to shorten the timings of the procedures, which is what I will discuss with the FIA,” he said.

“I’m sure it wasn’t the best of their abilities at the moment, especially in the heat of the moment – stupid joke!

“We just need to make sure how we can make it faster. If the car is rolling back, how do we react quicker? And how we will make it better this time?”

 

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