F1 »

Renault blames exhaust failure for fire

Nick Heidfeld's fire in Hungary is put down to a cracked exhaust as his chassis is written off
Renault technical director James Allison has revealed that the fire that forced Nick Heidfeld out of the Hungarian Grand Prix is believed to have been caused by a crack in the exhaust of his car.

Heidfeld's car burst into flames shortly after leaving the pits in Budapest, with the German bailing out once he had cleared the end of the pit lane. As marshals rushed to put the flames out, an air bottle in the sidepod of the car exploded, showering the side of the circuit in debris.

The incident was the second this season in which Heidfeld's car has caught fire and has caused his R31 to be written off, with Allison saying the suspected exhaust failure was the catalyst for what followed.

“As with most accidents, several incidents combined to cause the fire that Nick suffered in Hungary,” he said. “First of all, we ran a slightly different engine mapping strategy in qualifying, which produced hotter than normal exhausts. We believe that this elevated temperature and caused a preliminary crack in the exhaust pipe.

“We presume that the crack then propagated during the laps to the pitstop – this was not evident to us as we believe that the failure occurred upstream of the place where we have a temperature sensor. We believe that Nick then came in with a partially failed exhaust. This pitstop took longer than normal, the engine was left at high rpm for 6.3 sec, waiting for the tyre change to be completed.

“Under these conditions, a lot of excess fuel always ends up in the exhausts and their temperature rises at around 100°C/sec. This temperature rise was enough to finish off the partially failed pipe and to start a moderate fire under the bodywork.”

Allison added that the team was in contact with the FIA over the incident and was working to ensure there was no repeat of either the initial fire, or the explosion that followed.

“The incident was highly undesirable, as it has caused us to write off a chassis,” he said. “We will take steps prior to the next race to reduce the likelihood of a further fire and to ensure that the air bottle cannot overheat. We are in touch with the FIA both to provide them with a full report of the incident and also to explain to them the actions we are taking to prevent a re-occurrence.”



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
30.07.2011 Nick Heidfeld (GER) Lotus Renault GP R31
30.07.2011 Nick Heidfeld (GER) Lotus Renault GP R31
31.07.2011 Nick Heidfeld (GER) Lotus Renault GP R31
08.11.2014 - Free Practice 3, Bernie Ecclestone (GBR), President and CEO of FOM, Christian Horner (GBR), Red Bull Racing, Sporting Director and Cyril Abiteboul (FRA), Renault F1
08.11.2014 - Free Practice 3, Bernie Ecclestone (GBR), President and CEO of FOM, Christian Horner (GBR), Red Bull Racing, Sporting Director and Cyril Abiteboul (FRA), Renault F1
08.11.2014 - Free Practice 3, Bernie Ecclestone (GBR), President and CEO of FOM, Christian Horner (GBR), Red Bull Racing, Sporting Director and Cyril Abiteboul (FRA), Renault F1
08.11.2014 - Free Practice 3, Helmut Marko (AUT), Red Bull Racing, Red Bull Advisor, Christian Horner (GBR), Red Bull Racing, Sporting Director and Cyril Abiteboul (FRA), Renault F1
08.11.2014 - Free Practice 3, Helmut Marko (AUT), Red Bull Racing, Red Bull Advisor, Christian Horner (GBR), Red Bull Racing, Sporting Director and Cyril Abiteboul (FRA), Renault F1
01.11.2014 - Cyril Abiteboul (FRA), Renault F1
01.11.2014 - (L-R) Cyril Abiteboul (FRA), Renault F1 and Tony Parker, basketball player.
01.11.2014 - (L-R) Cyril Abiteboul (FRA), Renault F1 and Tony Parker, basketball player.
01.11.2014 - (L-R) Tony Parker, basketball player and Cyril Abiteboul (FRA), Renault F1
01.11.2014 - (L-R) Cyril Abiteboul (FRA), Renault F1 and Tony Parker, basketball player.
30.10.2014 - Cyril Abiteboul (FRA), Renault F1
03.10.2014 - (L to R): Pat Fry (GBR) Ferrari Deputy Technical Director and Head of Race Engineering; Andy Cowell (GBR) Mercedes-Benz High Performance Powertrains Managing Director; Remi Taffin (FRA) Renault Sport F1 Head of Track Operations; Paul Monaghan (GBR) Red Bull Racing Chief Engineer; Yasuhisa Arai (JPN) Honda Motorsport Chief Officer; Jonathan Neale (GBR) McLaren Chief Operating Officer.
21.09.2014 - Race, Cyril Abiteboul (FRA) Renault Sport F1 Managing Director and Helmut Marko (AUT), Red Bull Racing, Red Bull Advisor
21.09.2014 - Race, Cyril Abiteboul (FRA) Renault Sport F1 Managing Director and Helmut Marko (AUT), Red Bull Racing, Red Bull Advisor
19.09.2014- Free Practice 1, Cyril Abiteboul (FRA) Renault Sport F1 Managing Director and Helmut Marko (AUT), Red Bull Racing, Red Bull Advisor

Join the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register before adding your comments.

Although the administrators and moderators of this website will attempt to keep all objectionable comments off these pages, it is impossible for us to review all messages. All messages express the views of the poster, and neither Crash Media Group nor Crash.Net will be held responsible for the content of any message. We do not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message, and are not responsible for the contents of any message. If you find a message objectionable, please contact us and inform us of the problem or use the [report] function next to the offending post. Any message that does not conform with the policy of this service can be edited or removed with immediate effect.


Kiko - Unregistered

August 04, 2011 11:16 AM

Bouiller is sat in his office on the phone "What? But it MUST have been Heidfelds fault. Surely we can blame him somehow and get Senna into the seat for Brazil?"



© 1999 - 2014 Crash Media Group

The total or partial reproduction of text, photographs or illustrations is not permitted in any form.