Romain Grosjean admitted that he initially did not know it was a loose drain cover that caused him to crash during the second practice session at the Sepang International Circuit on Friday, and it was only the revelation of seeing it back that made him understand what occurred.
The Haas F1 Team driver was the unfortunate one to hit the dislodged drain cover with around ten minutes of the session remaining, with his tyre immediately puncturing and disintegrating, before Grosjean span across the gravel trap and into the outside tyre wall.
The FIA have given the team a free pass to break curfew and repair the car overnight, thanks to the crash being neither the driver nor the team’s responsibility, but Grosjean acknowledges they will have a lot of work to do.
“I thought I had blown up a tyre on the kerb as I didn’t see the drain at all,” said Grosjean. “When I saw the footage a bit later on with the drain coming out and hitting the tyres, I understand what happened.
“It is unfortunate but I am lucky that we are good. There is a lot of damage on the car. The guys are going to work very, very hard to get it back in one piece, and I am sure the FIA and the circuit are looking into it and finding solutions for tomorrow.
“We had a brand new floor and that is gone, and a new front wing is gone as well. So some parts that we cannot replace to be as good as they were.”