Auto123.com - Helping you drive happy

F1: Formula 1 set to adopt new fuel safety device (+video)

Autosport magazine reveals Friday the Formula 1 is about to introduce a new and innovative fuel safety device to prevent pit fires such as the one that hit Williams in 2012.

The Federation Internationale de l'Automobile is working with the US-based Oscar Nelson Group on introducing in F1 their new decking system called MADMAT.

It is a sort of platform that is laid under areas where fuel can get spilled. It was originally created for military use to help with fuel fires on aircraft carriers.

It helps suffocate flames, reduce temperature and minimise smoke in the event of a spillage getting ignited.



After the 2012 Spanish Grand Prix, a race won by Pastor Maldonado, vapours coming from fuel drums ignited in the Williams pit garage and several Williams mechanics were injured.

"The system has had to be adapted for petrol use, but following a successful demonstration in front of teams and F1 race director Charlie Whiting at this year's Spanish Grand Prix, a final version is close to being given the green light to go into production', Autosport reports.

"We could make it mandatory, although we are not sure if we will yet or not, but I think the teams are keen enough to do it anyway," F1 race director, Charlie Whiting said.

Craig Scarborough explained that the MADMAT is made up of a number of layered tiles. These holes encourage fuel to flow into the pan, rather than sit on top of the floor.

Inside the pan, wadding reduces the risk of the fuel vapour rising up through the floor panel. Then the holes in the floor panel further minimise fuel vapour escaping and reigniting.

In case of ignition, the fire is also much easier to put out.