FIA: Safety is paramount

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In the wake of this morning’s Drain-Gate during the first free practice of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix weekend, FIA race director Michael Masi explained to Sky F1 what happened on an embarrassing morning for the hosts.

Masi said, “From our preliminary investigations, it looks as though one of the clamps underneath one of the manholes failed. 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.”

“From what we’ve seen so far we’re quite confident and we will go through a further programme tonight and a programme for the rest of the weekend.

“In the short time [after F2 qualifying] they have done a few further checks to make sure and everything appears to be in order.”

“We’ve seen these types of incidents happen previously and it’s not something that any of us wish upon, but it’s no difference to a car when something breaks and you don’t know. It happens,” added Masi.

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