|© AP Photo/Aaron Favila
The Korean Grand Prix on Sunday was marked by a bizarre appearance of a fire truck.
With the safety car only having just come in, the field rounded onto the straight at full speed on the next lap only to see an SUV trundling down the track toward the fire, acting as a de-facto safety car before the real one could take up the job.
The vehicle was deployed, with the approval of the FIA, to contain the fire that engulfed the stricken car of Mark Webber, who had retired after Adrian Sutil’s Force India collided with the Red Bull.
FMSCI president Vicky Chandhok, who oversees the running of the Indian Grand Prix, was shocked with what transpired.
"Unbelievable to see the state of marshalling in Korea!" he mentioned on his Twitter page. "Deployment of a fire truck without first neutralising the race is simply not on!"
But the drivers were made aware of the situation with marshals waving white flags, which denote that a slower car is on track.
Autosport reported that the FIA "did not expect the vehicle to go out on track ahead of the leaders."
"The governing body will await a report from race organisers about the safety response before deciding if lessons need to be learned," the report added.
Race director Charlie Whiting expected a fire truck to be deployed from Turn 3 but the SUV joined the track from Turn 1, before the safety car could neutralise the Grand Prix.
“It looked like a BMW. I think it was a Hyundai or Kia SUV. You want the number plate?,” quipped Sebastian Vettel. “It was not Bernd Maylander’s, so it was not the safety car. I saw that.
“Obviously then the team said ‘yellow flag’, it wasn’t quite clear that it was the safety car but then the safety car board was flashing and I lifted and obviously saw that there was another car on the track, took quite easy to make sure I got past,” he explained.