• Hungarian Grand Prix

Renault plays down Heidfeld fire

ESPNF1 Staff
July 31, 2011 « Di Resta hails 'massive' result | »
Nick Heidfeld's Renault seemed to suffer a small explosion as marshals worked to put out the fire © Sutton Images
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Renault chief race engineer Alan Permane played down the fire which ended Nick Heidfeld's Hungarian Grand Prix.

As Heidfeld left his pit box following a delayed pit stop, smoke was seen coming out of the exhausts and the rear of the car. As he exited the pit lane a fire started to engulf the left hand sidepod, and he quickly stopped the car before jumping out, before there appeared to be a small explosion out of the sidepod as fire marshals attempted to extinguish the flames. Permane, however, said it wasn't as serious as it looked.

"A bad day for us," Permane said. "Nick had a very poor start and struggled in the wet conditions. In his second pit stop we had a problem with one of the wheel nuts meaning that the car was sat at high revs for a long time. This meant a build-up of heat which caused a fire. Although it looked spectacular it was only a small part of bodywork which burnt on the left-hand sidepod."

Following a similar incident during practice in Barcelona earlier this year, team principal Eric Boullier said that it wasn't an inherent problem for the team, and that the cause of each fire was different.

"The engine was still blowing under high revs, and this design is not done for this purpose so I think it went too hot and the exhaust blew up," Boullier told the BBC. "The [front-exiting exhaust] design is done for a running car not a standing car. The problem we had the other time was different, it was completely different actually, it was just an exhaust breaking up and then obviously the gas blowing in to the car inside the [sidepod] so it was completely different."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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