Grosjean thought a tyre exploded in practice crash

Romain Grosjean thought a tyre had exploded to cause his practice crash

Romain Grosjean thought a tyre had exploded and sent him off the track during Malaysian Grand Prix practice on Friday.

In reality, the Haas F1 Team driver was the victim of a drain cover which worked its way loose, damaging the left rear of his car and seeing him skate across the circuit into the barriers.

The initial impact was such that the right rear tyre was pulled from the rim, while Grosjean ultimately sustained a 17G impact with the tyre barrier.

“Initially I thought I blew out a tyre or something like that on the kerb,” Grosjean said.

“I didn’t see the drain at all. I’ve seen the replays a bit later with the drain coming up and hitting the tyre.

“It’s a lot of damage in the car and the guys are going to work very, very hard to get it back in one piece.”

Despite the crash, Grosjean was circumspect about the incident, which prompted a complete circuit inspection on Friday evening.

““I am lucky I have nothing (injured),” he reasoned.

“There is damage in the car which is a bit of a shame but I think the most important thing is that I am okay and it will be solved for tomorrow.

“I’m sure the FIA and the circuit are very much digging into it and finding solutions.”

Haas team boss Gunther Steiner was more stinging in his comments on the incident.

“Things like this in 2017 shouldn’t happen on a permanent circuit, they shouldn’t happen on any circuit,” he declared.

“This is, in my opinion, not acceptable. This is not up to the standards.

“The next thing we need to make sure is how we can prove that it doesn’t happen in the race?

“Because in the race this would have been a little bit of a bigger disaster. If a few cars go over it, then the cover comes up.”

With damage to all four corners of the car, including a development floor and front wing, the team applied for additional time beyond usual curfew limits.

That request was rubber stamped by the FIA, which deemed it a case of ‘force majure’ given neither team nor the driver were at fault.

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