A faulty valve is suspected as the cause of a dangerous fire that engulfed the Renault of Kevin Magnussen during opening practice at the Malaysian Formula One Grand Prix.
Magnussen made a regulation stop in pit lane and the car was being pushed toward the team garage when flames emerged at the top of the fuel tank.
The Danish driver was instructed to immediately get out and did so just as flames began to lick at the side of the vehicle’s cockpit. He was unhurt.
Team mechanics and track marshals sprayed the car in extinguishing foam but it repeatedly reignited as fuel pumped from the leak at the crest of the bodywork, behind the on-board camera.
New eruptions of fire lasted several minutes as crew and marshals stood poised with extinguishers pointed, intermittently spraying the fresh flames.
After the team managed to attach a hose and drain the tank, the fire was finally brought under control.
The incident caused Friday’s session to be red-flagged for 15 minutes before the pit lane was deemed safe.
Renault’s technical director Nick Chester said an early investigation put the blame on a faulty breather valve, which allows air to vent into the fuel tank.