RESULTS: Malaysian Grand Prix – Free Practice Results (2)
Kevin Magnussen says 'five seconds is too long' to extract himself out of a car with a 'Halo' cockpit protection device attached after he was embroiled in a fiery drama during first free practice for the Malaysian Grand Prix.
The Dane was returning to the garage following an installation lap when the Renault appeared to 'puff' smoke coming into the pit lane. Worse was to follow though when the Renault began spewing fluid just behind the airbox and caught alight.
Forcing Magnussen to eject from the car quickly, Renault mechanics quickly extinguished the flames but with the fluid still pouring from the top of the engine running down the side-pods for the next few minutes, it would continue to catch flame sporadically until it was drained.
With Renault suspecting a 'fuel breather issue' is at the root of the incident, Magnussen revealed he had no clue the car was damaged as he pulled up to his garage, saying he simply 'felt heat' as it caught fire.
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“I didn't know. Everything worked well on the car on the in lap, so just saw the smoke and hopped out.
I was already (out) when they were talking. I just felt the heat.
The incident has raised fresh questions about the use of a cockpit protection fixture, specifically the time it would take to extract from a cockpit with the device attached.
Magnussen – who has not run the device as yet in free practice – has previously indicated his opposition to the device and while he says would need to test it, he feels the 'five seconds' extraction target is too long in such a case as his today.
“Personally I've never run the halo so I'm not the best person to ask. In my opinion five seconds is too long. If the car is on fire you don't want to take five seconds. I don't know, it's an interesting question..."
Despite the heavy damage, Magnussen did get out on track again mid-way through FP2 but completed only 19 laps over the course of the entire day.
“I think the track is more different than I expected. It was some quite valuable laps that were lost in P1. But I think we'll still be able to catch up and get on the pace. It's always better to get on top of your driving and on top of the track earlier, to work on the set up of the car."
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