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Bruni unhurt after pit-lane fire 12 Sep 2004

Gianmaria Bruni (ITA) Minardi.
Formula One World Championship, Rd15, Italian Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Monza, Italy, 11 September 2004

Gianmaria Bruni and his Minardi pit crew emerged unscathed after a dramatic pit-lane fire during Sunday's Italian Grand Prix at Monza.

During a routine pit stop on lap 29 fuel could be seen escaping from the head of the refuelling nozzle. Seconds later it ignited, briefly blanketing both the car and mechanics in flames.

The fire was quickly extinguished by the pitcrew, but Bruni had inhaled some of the fire retardant fumes while trapped in the cockpit and got out of the car to retire from the race. He was checked by medical staff in the Minardi pit garage, and he later reported he was okay:

“I feel sorry for the team but fortunately everything is now fine.”

Last season Michael Schumacher suffered a far smaller flash-fire at the Austrian Grand Prix (and then went on to win the race), and Bruni’s incident will doubtless lead to questions over whether more can be done to further reduce the risks implicit in pit-stop refuelling.

The most famous pit stop fire in recent times was that suffered by Jos Vertappen at the 1994 Brazilian Grand Prix. After that the design of the refuelling rigs, which are common to all teams, was revised.