Sainz faced a serious safety issue in Mexico City when the driver failed to extract himself from the cockpit of his Ferrari F1-75, raising huge questions about Ferrari’s safety protocols in their Formula 1 car design. A flaw that would be fatal in the event of a serious crash such as the one experienced by Frenchman Romain Grosjean a few years ago.
Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz faced a serious safety issue at the finish of the Formula One Mexican Grand Prix on Sunday when the Spaniard failed to extricate himself from the cockpit of his car after the finish.
After the finish of the Mexican Grand Prix, where he crossed the line in fifth place, Carlos Sainz parked his car in the Parc Fermé as required by the regulations, but when it came to extracting himself from his cockpit, the Ferrari driver was unable to remove the head and shoulder piece and had to wait for two of his mechanics to come and help him.
Risk of death
The cockpit of a Formula 1 car is so small that it is impossible for a driver to get out of his car without removing this safety feature.
According to the camera footage on Sainz’s car (see video below), it was the fixings that keep the headrest in place that caused the problem, and it took the help of two Scuderia mechanics to ‘free’ the Spanish driver.
Carlos still had a little bit of a problem getting out of his car after the race. pic.twitter.com/uLnOX8pQYS
— Chanel⁵⁵ (@Carlos55edits) October 30, 2022
This incident may seem insignificant, but it is not, because drivers are obliged to be able to get out of their cars in a very short space of time for safety reasons in the event of an accident or fire. On Sunday in Mexico City, Carlos Sainz had to wait 47 seconds for the headrest to come off and several more seconds to get out of his car, almost a minute in total, twice the time allowed by the FIA.
Grosjean incident: critical to fast extraction
Romain Grosjean was doing 192 kilometres per hour when he hit a metal crash barrier and his car exploded into a fireball around him at the Bahrain Grand Prix 2020.
The impact was estimated to be equivalent to 67 Gs, or 67 times his body weight. By comparison, heavy braking in an F1 car produces about 6 Gs, the French driver made an astonishing escape from the raging furnace.
Grosjean’s Haas car split in half after penetrating the barrier and quickly caught fire. He was trapped inside the cockpit for 27 seconds before scrambling out, yanking his jammed foot out of his racing boot in order to do so.
Had he been further encumbered by a faulty restraint system like Sainz, the Frenchman may not of survived the experience.
He suffered only minor burns to the back of his hands and a sprained left ankle, and was discharged from hospital soon after.
It is not impossible that the FIA will take up this problem during the next race weekend in Brazil and will ask Ferrari to explain why its driver had so much difficulty to get out of his car after the race in Mexico.
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Yes FIA urgent action needed, not the first time we see this. Remember it took Lewis nearly 2 minutes to get out of his car in Baku.
Oh don’t worry about that one. They got the rules changed for that one.
Lewis always has trouble getting out of his car when he looses 🤣
Fake news, as part of the driver extraction tests drivers can get out without having to remove that head and shoulders piece. It’s just easier with it removed