Sainz critical of 'slow process' to extinguish fire in Austria

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Carlos Sainz believes trackside marshals at the Austrian Grand Prix could have acted more quickly to extinguish the fire that had engulfed his Ferrari following the car's massive engine failure in the race.

Sainz was running third and chasing down runner-up Max Verstappen and preparing to overhaul the Red Bull driver when a sudden engine failure put paid to the Spaniard's efforts with 15 laps to go.

Sainz attempted to let his car coast out of harm's way towards the uphill run-off area at Turn 4, but with the engine compartment of the F1-75 ablaze, the Spaniard's priority was to exit the cockpit.

However, he also had to keep his foot on the brake pedal to prevent the car from rolling backwards. Eventually, a marshal managed to place a wedge at the back of the right-front wheel to immobilize the Ferrari and allow Sainz to step out of the burning machine.

"It was not an ideal or an easy situation for sure, because I could see in my mirrors that my car was catching fire," explained the Spaniard.

"I was pressing the brake, but as soon as I tried to jump out, I didn’t want to leave the car completely free, out of control, and rolling backwards.

"I was calling the marshals to come and help me, to put something on the tyres to stop the car from rolling.

Once the car had stopped, the marshals quickly gained control of the fire, but Sainz reckoned that the intervention could have been quicker.

"The whole process was a bit slow and at some point there was so much fire that I had to get a move on and I had to jump out," he said.

"It is definitely something we need to look at how we could have done it a bit faster, because it was not an easy situation to be in."


However, the FIA defended the trackside marshals, insisting their task had been complicated by the fact that the car was still in movement.

It was a costly set-back for Sainz who likely missed out on a podium finish. Ferrari team boss Mattia Binotto suspected that the Spaniard's engine failure had likely bene caused by the same issue that had hit Charles Leclerc in Azerbaijan last month.

"We’ve had only two engine failures so far," said Binotto. "The power unit [overall] we had more than two, but the internal combustion engine two.

"Obviously, we need to look at what happened. Is it the same we had already in Baku with Charles? Very likely. It’s certainly a concern.

"But the people back at Maranello are working very hard to try to fix them. [It] is not solved yet – obviously if you look at what happened to Carlos it has not been solved yet.

"But we’ll have new elements and I know how strong they are working, how good they are. I can count on them that it will be addressed very soon, hopefully as soon as possible."

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