Team Stargate Worlds/HVM Racing launched a scathing attack on IndyCar safety officials after its Swiss driver Simona de Silvestro suffered a burnt hand in last night's race at Texas Motor Speedway.
De Silvestro crashed on lap 99 of the Firestone 550K night race, and her Dallara-Honda caught fire on impact. After she slid to a halt, de Silvestro was exposed to the flames for over 30secs before the safety crew was able to successfully extract her.
The safety crew arrived at the scene less than 25secs after she crashed, but then struggled to get its fire extinguisher systems to operate. One member of the team bravely put his hands straight into the flames to attempt to remove the head restraint, which was obstructing de Silvestro's attempts to free herself from the car.
The water supply from the first fire truck on the scene failed to operate, meaning only hand-held extinguishers were deployed as they battled to free her from the fiercely-burning car. A second fire truck dealt with the blaze, but only after she'd been pulled out of the cockpit.
"The safety crew should be ashamed of themselves," said Keith Wiggins, HVM Racing Team Principal. "That was a scary moment and we are glad she is alright."
Imran Safiulla, Team Stargate Worlds principal, added: "I am completely speechless on what transpired after our car hit the wall. I am just glad Simona is okay despite that circus we saw."
De Silvestro was released from the circuit's medical centre in good condition after receiving treatment to a burnt right hand.
"My hand is a little bit burned, I couldn't get out quickly enough," she explained. "The car caught on fire and it wasn't really extinguishing."