FIA struggling to explain Russell manhole incident in Baku
FIA race director Michael Masi was at a loss to explain exactly how a manhole cover had come loose at the Baku City Circuit, causing a serious incident with the Williams of George Russell during first free practice for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.
The drain cover had been loosened by Charles Leclerc running over it, with Russell then helpless to avoid a big incident when he passed it soon after.
FP1 was swiftly cancelled as the 300+ other drain covers on the circuit required checking, although FP2 was able to start on-time, after F2 qualifying had been pushed back by 30 minutes.
"From our preliminary investigations, it looks as though one of the clamps underneath one of the manholes failed," Masi told Sky Sports. "There is no explanation at this point as to why.
"From a precautionary point of view, there is in excess of 300 manhole covers around this circuit, we have checked every single one. From an FIA perspective, safety is paramount so we cancelled the end of FP1 and we moved F2 qualifying back.
"We told the circuit to take as long as they needed to make sure the job was done properly.
GPFans is a multi-platform, multi-language brand dedicated to Formula One coverage. We bring you all the ins and outs of the sport, 24/7, everything from up-to-the-minute news and features to the latest viral stories and clips.
We believe that a new generation of exciting, outspoken drivers will make F1 more popular than ever before, and we want to give our users access to as much of their heroes as possible, on and off the track. From Lewis Hamilton to Max Verstappen, Daniel Ricciardo to Sebastian Vettel, we provide in-depth analysis of every every Grand Prix in the season, from Australia to Abu Dhabi.
With Formula One under the new ownership of Liberty Media, how the sport is being covered is evolving, and GPFans will look to be at the heart of this progression into new media, as one of the fastest-growing sites covering the king of motorsports.