Fire truck sparks confusion during the Korean GP after surprise track venture
Race Control did order deployment, but not from Turn One
By Pete Gill
Last Updated: 07/10/13 12:45pm
In a remarkable interlude to proceedings, the race was brought to an unexpected crawl when race leader Sebastian Vettel suddenly encountered the fire track as it meandered along the backstraight on lap 37.
The race had only just been re-started after the Safety Car was called out when the front-right tyre of Sergio Perez's McLaren lost its tread. As the field snaked through Turn Three, Mark Webber's RB9 was hit by the Force India of Adrian Sutil and, for the second time in as many races, caught fire.
Although the flames were quickly extinguished, the fire truck was then sent out to the apparent surprise of all concerned, with Vettel slowing to follow it. The Safety Car then entered the circuit, but at the back of the field.
Although the appearance of the truck on the circuit had initially appeared to have been a unilateral decision made outside Race Control, Whiting later confirmed he had actually ordered its deployment, albeit had not expected the fire truck at Turn One to be used.
'With the Korean marshals initially coming under fire, FIA race director Charlie Whiting later admitted he had made the call, although he had not anticipated that the fire truck would be dispatched from Turn One, ahead of the leaders, before the safety car had had a chance to intervene," the Daily Telegraph reported.
As is normal procedure after every grand prix, race officials send a report about the event to the FIA and the governing body may therefore decide to conduct a more detailed examination of the fire truck incident.
The race itself was won by Vettel by four seconds ahead of Kimi Raikkonen, with Lotus team-mate Romain Grosjean in third and Nico Hulkenberg fourth ahead of Lewis Hamilton.