SEPANG: A bizarre accident involving a drain cover saw Romain Grosjean suffered a high speed crash in the second free practice session at the Petronas Malaysia Formula One Grand Prix today.
The Haas driver struck a drain cover which had earlier been flipped up by Valtteri Bottas' Mercedes AMG Petronas, causing his right rear tire to explode.
Grosjean lost control of his car and slid across the gravel before slamming into a tire barrier. The accident, which happened roughly 10 minutes before the session was scheduled to end, was immediately red flagged and was not resumed.
The Frenchman said he did not know what happened but was not injured.
He managed a best lap of one minute and 34.118 seconds for 17th, prior to the accident.
"I am fine, that's the most important thing and we are going to repair the car and sort things out," said Grosjean.
"Hopefully we can still get a good setup for tomorrow, get a good performance and the drain cover stays in place."
Haas team boss Guenther Steiner was not pleased and did not mince his words during the post session press conference.
"In my opinion things like this should not happen on a permanent circuit, it is not acceptable and is not up to standards," said Steiner.
"We need to make sure this does not happen in the race, because that would be a disaster.
"I am still not sure what actually happened, in a few hours hopefully we know more.
"The damage is very big on the car, we do not know exactly how much damage there is as it had just come back when I came here (to press conference)".
A number of other team principles also expressed their concern over the incident but are confident it will not recur in the final practice and qualifying sessions today.
The Formula 4 South East Asia support race scheduled today was also cancelled due to the accident.