Renault will change the design of its fuel system in time for this weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix following Kevin Magnussen’s fire during practice at Sepang.
Magnussen’s car caught fire following his first installation lap at the Malaysian circuit on Friday. He had been running with a full tank of fuel when a problem with the breather caused a build-up of pressure within the tank. Magnussen was running new development parts at the time which were not on Jolyon Palmer’s car.
The team’s technical director Nick Chester said a “combination of factors” led to the fire, which forced the stoppage of practice and took several minutes to extinguish.
“We were running test parts related to the fuel system for Mexico, which is a race at a much higher altitude and lower atmospheric pressure than we encounter at other races.”
“This highlighted a flaw in our fuel cell assembly that we would have not have seen otherwise. We are modifying our fuel cell assembly ahead of Suzuka and revising the fuel system update for Mexico in light of what we saw.”
Team principal Frederic Vasseur said the team will continue to look into what can be learned from the incident.
“Firstly we need to continue to investigate the whys – why this has happened and procedures to put into place for it not to happen again,” he said.
“Secondly – and I’ve spoken to the guys involved – seeing the incredible reaction of the mechanics handling the situation was amazing. It really shows the commitment, determination and professionalism of the team. This is the best guarantee we have for the future.”