Video: Jos Verstappen F1 Pit Fire
Schumacher refuelling at Jerez, 1994
Thus far in our perusal of the pit stop, we’ve been looking at what happens when teams pull them off perfectly. But what happens when it all goes wrong?
When Nelson Piquet stopped by the pits to top off his tank in the 1982 Austrian Grand Prix, he had no pit lane speed limit, a little portable tank to refuel with and a pit crew without helmets or much of the safety gear you see today. After experimentation with refuelling in the early ’80s, it was banned from 1984 until 1994.
When Jos Verstappen pulled in for his first pit stop during the 1994 German Grand Prix, a race which had already seen a high rate of attrition, pit stops had become a much more organised, speedy affair. Refuelling rigs had become a little more sophisticated as well, and were capable of pumping a lot of fuel, very quickly.
So when the crew’s fuel hose popped off Verstappen’s Benetton, a huge amount of fuel gushed out onto the car, driver and crew. Then it dutifully exploded.
It’s terrifying stuff, but the pit crew did an amazing job reacting quickly and correctly to the situation, and managed to get everything under control before anyone was seriously injured. Take a look at the spectacular footage below.
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