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Fire truck: Ja wel, but no fine

2013-10-07 11:02

THERE'S A 4X4 ON TRACK! F1 drivers were a bit confused when a Jeep 'fire truck' was deployed on track to rush to Red Bull Mark Webber's burning car. Youtube

YEONGAM, South Korea - Organisers of the Korean Grand Prix will escape sanction, even though a fire vehicle was deployed onto the track during Sunday's race.

The future of the Yeongam race was already under a dark cloud before the bizarre incident, in which leader Sebastian Vettel was stunned to find himself bearing down on a 4x4.

Vettel said: "I think it was a Hyundai or Kia SUV. You want the number plate? It was not Bernd Maylander's, so it was not the safety car."

IGNORANCE IS BLISS?

Korean officials had made a mistake, but it is not quite as serious an error as it first appeared. Indeed, race director Charlie Whiting admitted that, although surprised to see the 4x4 on the track, he had in fact just ordered the deployment of a fire vehicle to help extinguish Mark Webber's worsening fire.

Whiting told Germany's Auto Motor und Sport: "We assumed they would send out the car that was in Turn 3, because that's where the burning Red Bull was.

"It wouldn't even have had to go on the track but for some reason they sent the car that was in Turn 2. I would say it was a classic misunderstanding.

"When I saw the car on the screen I immediately deployed the safety car. Not because of the fire, but because of the car."

Because it was more "a misunderstanding" than a grave error and because the marshals acted correctly in warning drivers with white flags, the Korean race promoters will not be penalised by the International Automobile Federation.

Ferrari boss Stefano Domenicali said the mistake was excusable. He said: "As this is their only race per year, they are probably just missing some experience."

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner said he excuses the mistake altogether. "I was actually relieved that a fire extinguisher was finally on the way to our car," he said. "It seemed to be burning for an age."

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