SOCHI, Russia — A small fire was detected and put out in Haas’ garage overnight, the team has confirmed, damaging two sets of tyres in the process.
Night guards at the Sochi Autodrom discovered and extinguished the fire, which is believed to have started in the control box for a set of tyre blankets, which regulate the temperature of tyres.
The fire destroyed the set in those blankets and damaged another set of tyres nearby. Teams only have 13 sets per driver for each weekend and according to Haas the two damaged sets, which were allocated to Kevin Magnussen’s car, will be replaced.
Team boss Guenther Steiner said the team is still trying to figure out the cause of the fire.
“We don’t know if it was the cable or the tyre blanket, because everything is burned,” he said. “So we will investigate and we will do that.
“The good thing was the night guards were around and they caught it. I wouldn’t say early, but they caught it, but there could have been a lot more damage if they hadn’t caught it. All these night guard guys worked together to extinguish it and did a great job I want to thank them for that.”
Turning the tyre blankets up overnight above the permitted temperatures set by Pirelli would be in breach of the rules. Pirelli states various temperatures the tyres must be stored at during various times ahead of each session.
The tyres are supposed to be kept at a “storage” temperature of 60 degrees Celsius overnight before being increased to 80 degrees for two hours before the session and 110 degrees an hour before the green light.
Steiner has refuted the suggestions the temperatures were turned up overnight.
“No, they were on stand-by. They were connected. We don’t know if it was the cable [that caught fire] or what it was.”