The FIA is to investigate the fuel rig problem encountered by Ferrari in the Austrian Grand Prix that caused a fire when refueling Michael Schumacher's car. Rubens Barrichello had already experienced a long delay in his pit stop due to a fuel hose...
The FIA is to investigate the fuel rig problem encountered by Ferrari in the Austrian Grand Prix that caused a fire when refueling Michael Schumacher's car. Rubens Barrichello had already experienced a long delay in his pit stop due to a fuel hose problem, then Schumacher had to sit and endure flames spouting from the hose in his stop.
No damage was done but naturally the FIA and Ferrari take a dim view of the situation: "The FIA are looking into the cause of the refuelling incident along with Ferrari," said a statement from F1's governing body.
"Checks suggest the fuel problems were caused by a small accumulation of fuel in the car connector, but the source of the ignition is not yet known. The FIA are liasing closely with Ferrari and the fuel rig manufacturer to determine the causes."
The fuel rigs are standard FIA parts, supplied by company Intertechnique, which has already faced problems with equipment from other teams. Williams has suffered more than one refueling problem this season and are not happy with the ongoing failures.
Ferrari boss Jean Todt played down the incident: "…on the next lap, it was Michael's turn to pit," he said. "A small amount of fuel was still in the nozzle from the previous refuelling, which dripped onto the car and caught fire."
It was certainly not a big enough incident to cause Schumacher much concern as he rejoined the race and went on to win. Technical director Ross Brawn said the fire looked worse than it was but an investigation was needed.
"It is never pleasant to have a fire," he commented. "But there was not actually much fuel around and it looked worse than it was. The guys reacted very well to deal with the situation, however, we do not usually have problems with the rigs and now we will have a proper investigation to find out what happened."