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.