SOCHI, Russia (Reuters) - An overnight fire in the garages of the Haas Formula One team at the Russian Grand Prix burned two sets of tyres but could have been much more serious, principal Guenther Steiner said on Friday.
“There was somewhere a short-circuit and it went on fire... luckily the night guards extinguished it otherwise we could have a lot more damage,” he told reporters. “It looked really bad.
“We don’t know yet why or where the short-circuit came from.”
Pirelli’s motorsport manager Mario Isola told reporters separately that the fire was caused either by malfunctioning tyre blankets or their control units.
He said the tyre sets allocated to Danish driver Kevin Magnussen had been replaced with the agreement of the governing FIA.
“Teams are allowed to keep the tyres in blankets at a maximum temperature of sixty degrees for the slick tyres, so usually they keep the blankets (on) during the night and they are allowed to do that,” added Isola.
Steiner said a consequence of the fire was that Magnussen, who was also confirmed by the team for 2019 on Friday, had to go out in first practice with cold tyres because there was no time to heat the new ones up.
Haas, the only U.S.-owned Formula One team, are fighting Renault for fourth place overall in the constructors’ championship. They are 15 points behind the French team with six races remaining.
Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Christian Radnedge