If anyone watched the Texas race from last night (Sat) they probably know exactly what I'm talking about. Simona de Silvestro's car hit the wall in a rather undramatic fashion (as wall hits go at 200MPH +) and skidded along the wall and a small fire broke out. The car finally came off the wall and slid down the track to a stop but that small fire had now turned into a rather scary looking fire that was clearly not going out on its own.
The TV camera was focused right on the car as the flames grew and the driver was trying to unhook herself and get out. I'm sure the director thought we were going to see an example of the famed safety team going to work and turn this around quickly. Instead, we watched the flames grow higher at a rapid rate and had to start wondering if we were seeing a tragedy live on television.
For whatever reason it seemed like plan A was a firehose from the safety truck that I didn't even know was there... and one that must've malfunctioned because they were fiddling with it as the flames grew higher and things were not looking good for the driver. You'd think there would be a Plan B with fire extinguishers but it was slow coming. Fortunately, one of the safety workers went to help the driver out (getting burned himself) and finally a lone fire extinguisher appeared.
This was as bad as I can remember Indycar safety crews looking. I'll admit, we don't see fires like this in Indycars these days normally (thankfully). Usually, at worst in an on track accident there will be an oil fire that pops up if a line is broken in a crash and it quickly burns itself out. But this wasn't that... I'm assuming maybe it was an oil fire initially but as it slid along the wall for that extended period of time it must've set the bodywork on fire.
Normally, Indycar safety crews are the best... not some of the best... THE best. But clearly this was far from their best moment.
In any case, Indycar needs to have a loooooong look at their response and preparedness for this type situation (and figure out exactly what and why something went wrong). This could've been a whole lot worse (she ended up with burns on her hand and the safety worker had burns on his face according to Indystar.com).
Kudos to the Indycar safety team member who went directly to the car to help the driver even though it became clear he wasn't going to have the immediate backup/safety of a firehose or extinguisher.