Magnussen unscathed after Sepang pitlane fire
A fuel breather issue is suspected to be the cause of a dramatic fire for Renault’s Kevin Magnussen which briefly halted opening practice at the Malaysian Grand Prix.
The Dane completed one installation lap at the Sepang circuit before his car burst into flames in pitlane.
Magnussen escaped the car without injury while flames refused to die down as fluid poured from the engine cover.
It took several minutes for team members and marshals to put the fire out as officials red flagged the session.
Renault technical director Nick Chester attributed the incident to a fuel leak before admitting the squad had been testing experimental parts targeted for the Mexican Grand Prix.
“We had a fuel leak from a breather,” Chester told Sky Sports F1.
“We were running the tank full and we were running some experimental parts really in preparation for Mexico, so it was a different setup to the other car.”
Magnussen is expected to return for second practice which is due to begin at 1600 AEST.
Once action resumed, Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg set the pace in the 90 minute session posting a personal best 1:35.22s effort.
The championship leader was 0.49s quicker than team-mate Lewis Hamilton ahead of the Ferraris of Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel.
Fernando Alonso was fifth fastest as he debuted an upgraded Honda power unit, while Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo was sixth.