Sainz relives terrifying Austrian GP fire

Carlos Sainz had to retire on Lap 56 of the 2022 Austrian Grand Prix after his Ferrari power unit caught fire

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Carlos Sainz shared his view of his fiery retirement from the 2022 Austrian Grand Prix and issued a call to action for F1 to look at how marshals could better deal with similar incidents.

The Spaniard had a strong weekend and looked likely to pick up second place as he chased Max Verstappen later in the race on fresher tyres, but a power unit failure on Lap 56 ended his race early.

Sainz pulled up to the escape road at turn four with his Ferrari smoking but couldn’t make it to the top of the hill, and started rolling back as the fire quickly worked its way forward towards his cockpit.

With the flames scarily close to the 27-year-old, Sainz eventually leaped clear of the car but looked distraught as he sat afterwards.

“It was not ideal and an easy situation for sure because I saw in my mirrors that the car was catching fire,” Sainz told the press post-race.

“But at the same time I was pressing the brake and as soon as I tried to jump out I saw that the car was moving backward and I didn’t want to leave the car completely free out of control rolling backwards while jumping out”

The marshals’ response

There was post-race criticism of the marshals for their slow response, with Sainz dealing with the issue alone before they eventually came to his aid to put the fire out as he jumped clear.

There are strict rules on when the marshalls can enter the track space and speaking after the race, Sainz said there should be a review of the process.

“It’s definitely something we need to look at what we could’ve done a bit faster because it was not the easiest situation to be in,” Sainz added.

“I was calling the marshals to come and help me to put something on the tyres to stop the car rolling down but I think the whole process was a bit slow.

“At some point there was so much fire that I had to get a move on and jump out independently, I think that was at the time that the first marshall arrived and stopped the car.”

Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz Jr. in action during 2022 Austrian Grand Prix REUTERS/Florion Goga

Though he escaped the blaze unharmed, Sainz missed out on a podium that looked like second-place as he was approaching a battle with Max Verstappen.

Not only did that give the Dutchman an extra three points in the championship, it means Sainz missed the chance to move level on points with Sergio Perez, who also retired, for third in the championship.

Adam Dickinson
An international multi-award-winning journalist, Adam Dickinson has written for Total-Motorsport.com since June 2022 and also contributes to TNT Sports, Eurosport and the Rugby Paper. He's also had articles published in the Daily Telegraph and several local newspapers, previously worked for Last-Lap.co.uk and FeederSeries.net in motorsport, and graduated with a First-Class Journalism Degree from the University of Sheffield having also studied in Oklahoma. Adam started watching F1 by accident in 2007, catching the last race in Indianapolis, and attended his first race as a journalist at the 2023 British Grand Prix.
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