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Marshals at Red Bull Ring explain slow response: 'Exceptional situation'

Marshals at Red Bull Ring explain slow response: 'Exceptional situation'

15-07-2022 19:06 Last update: 23:21


Carlos Sainz criticised the reaction of the marshals in the aftermath of the Austrian Grand Prix, which the Spaniard felt took too long. The Red Bull Ring safety team has since responded to the criticism.

In a Facebook-post, the safety team says it is not allowed to intervene just like that, pointing out that the rules in that area have been drastically tightened since Jules Bianchi's tragic accident in 2014. "Intervention is only allowed after instructions from race control," reads the statement. "On the one hand, this naturally increases the safety of the drivers and marshals, but on the other hand it has the disadvantage that interventions take a little longer."

Marshals explain reaction fire at Sainz

The statement further points out that the Sainz incident was a combination of 'several unfortunate circumstances'. Sainz's car was not visible from the aid station, which made it difficult to assess the severity of the fire. As a result, the marshals were instructed to go to the car with fire extinguishers, but as soon as they saw it they decided to get the fire engine. "This decision had to be made within seconds and, in retrospect, it was absolutely right.," the message continues.

The safety team refers to Romain Grosjean's accident in 2020 to reinforce its point. "In such a situation, handheld fire extinguishers are absolutely not enough, which is why the fire extinguisher was put down and the car was called." For that reason, viewers saw the bizarre image of a marshal putting down his fire extinguisher and running away, which led to many discussions and speculations.

What made the situation even more difficult, according to the marshals, was Sainz's Ferrari rolling backwards. A block had to be put behind the wheel, but Sainz could no longer keep his foot on the brake at that point as the fire spread rapidly. For this reason the process also took longer than intended, the statement continues. After this the fire could be extinguished 'with a few presses of the fire extinguisher'.

The safety team says they will review and discuss the situation internally to see what can be improved, but stresses that the marshals in this exceptional situation 'generally reacted well'.

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