F1 Grand Prix of Korea - Race

VIDEO: Bizarre jeep incident sparks second safety car period


Today’s Korean Grand Prix saw one of the most bizarre incidents of the season cause a second safety car period. A jeep was sent out onto the circuit in response to Mark Webber’s car catching fire, going out ahead of the leading drivers on track and forcing the safety car to be sent out for a second time.

After a safety car period following Sergio Perez’s tire failure, Adrian Sutil made a mistake heading into turn three and crashed into Mark Webber’s Red Bull. Webber tried to continue, but the back of his car duly caught fire and he was forced to pull to the side of the track and retire. With no marshals nearby, the RB9 simply continued to burn, albeit well out of the way of any danger.

However, the decision was taken to send out the jeep onto the circuit to put out the blaze, but the FIA regulations state that for any vehicle going out on the circuit must be accompanied by the safety car. Instead, the marshal’s vehicle was sent out ahead of the safety car, with the field catching the rogue vehicle heading along the 1.2km straight on the run up towards the incident.

Race control immediately responded by sending out the safety car which had to overtake the field after being released behind the train of cars. Thankfully, the jeep soon pulled over towards Webber’s car and out of the way, allowing normal service to be resumed.

The incident will forced the likes of Vettel and Grosjean to slow immediately as they were the first to come across the jeep, and the second stoppage did play a part in the race with some drivers choosing to pit during this stoppage. The FIA will investigate the incident when the Korean officials file their race report.

Status targets 2016 GP2 title after GP3 exit

2015 GP2 Series Round 8.
Autodromo di Monza, Italy.
Sunday 6 September 2015.
Marlon Stockinger (PHL, Status Grand Prix) 
Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service.
ref: Digital Image _G7C2088
© GP2 Series
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Status Grand Prix has set its sights on winning the 2016 GP2 Series championship following its decision to close down its GP3 team at the end of the current season.

Earlier this week, GP3 issued a statement confirming its team roster for the next three seasons that featured new entries from DAMS and Virtuosi Racing.

However, both Carlin and Status did not appear on the list, signalling that both had opted to leave GP3 at the end of 2015.

Status first entered GP3 back in 2010, but only set up a GP2 team in 2015 after taking over the old Caterham Racing operation.

This will now become the main focus for the Irish outfit, though, as explained by team boss Teddy Yip Jr. earlier this week.

“Status Grand Prix has not renewed entry into the GP3 Series from 2016 onwards in order to maximize focus on our GP2 campaign,” Yip said.

“Having finished second in the team championship in the inaugural GP3 Series, we have enjoyed six successful years in the category collecting nine race wins, 26 podium finishes and vying for numerous team and driver titles.

“We are very proud to have given opportunities and achieved success with drivers such as Robert Wickens, Antonio Felix da Costa, Alexander Sims and our current GP2 race winner, Richie Stanaway.

“We now look forward to finishing the 2015 GP2 and GP3 seasons on a high before mounting a robust GP2 title campaign in 2016.”

Both GP2 and GP3 return from a one-month break next weekend in support of the Formula 1 Russian Grand Prix.

Hakkinen: Verstappen is already “a real pro”

during a media interview at the Shanghai Grand Theatre prior to the 2015 Laureus World Sports Awards on April 15, 2015 in Shanghai, China.
© Getty Images
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Two-time Formula 1 world champion Mika Hakkinen has heaped praise upon Toro Rosso rookie Max Verstappen, supporting his decision to ignore team orders during last month’s Singapore Grand Prix.

Verstappen only turned 18 on Wednesday, but has already made a big impression on the F1 world during his first 14 races with his aggressive driving style and mature approach to racing.

In Singapore, Verstappen was told by Toro Rosso to let faster teammate Carlos Sainz Jr. go past, but refused to give up his position and eventually beat the Spaniard to finish eighth.

Writing in his Hermes blog, Hakkinen backed Verstappen’s decision to stay ahead and praised the Dutchman for his performances so far this season.

“A driver must be alert and keep track of what is happening around him at all times,” Hakkinen wrote. “That’s what Verstappen is. He does not simply let anyone pass if it’s not for the world championship, but only a few championship points.

“Verstappen is 18 years old, but the guy’s already a real pro. Young people are developing incredibly fast nowadays, and by that I don’t mean just drivers.”

Despite having more than half a season of F1 racing under his belt, Verstappen only gained his road driver’s license on his 18th birthday, having previously been under the age limit to drive a regular car in public.