Minardi's desperate fortnight continued during the Italian Grand Prix, with a pit-lane fire adding to the two incidents in which Zsolt Baumgartner was caught up in other people's accidents.

This time, the Hungarian was not involved, as team-mate Gianmaria Bruni's car erupted in flames after a fuel leak caught light during his second stop. Mercifully, the conflagration did not result in any serious injuries to team personnel, but did bring the race to a premature conclusion for the Italian, who experienced breathing difficulties after inhaling fumes and extinguisher powder during the stop.

"It seems a small amount of petrol leaked out, and when it hit the hot parts of the car, there was instantly a fire," Bruni said, "Fortunately, it was extinguished immediately, but some of the fire retardant got into my helmet and I couldn't breathe properly. I'm fine now, but it's really a pity for the guys, as the car was good and I think we could have a solid finish today."

The incident added to the repair bill already racked up when Baumgartner's misfortune continued with a high-speed collision in free practice on Saturday morning. As with his Belgian GP exit, the Hungarian was not to blame, after his car was harpooned - and written off - by an out-of-control Giorgio Pantano.

"Whoever thinks F1 is boring wasn't around the Minardi garage this afternoon when Gimmi's car erupted into flames," team boss Paul Stoddart said, "The mechanics did a fantastic job to extinguish the flames immediately, but unfortunately, Gimmi inhaled some of the fumes.

"I cannot thank the guys enough for their thoroughly professional behaviour and quick reactions that undoubtedly helped to avert what could have been a major incident. As for the fire itself, the team is still investigating the cause of the fuel leak in order to understand exactly what happened."