Updated: Monday, 07 Jun 2010, 10:51 PM EDT
Published : Monday, 07 Jun 2010, 5:57 PM EDT
INDIANAPOLIS (WISH/AP) - The IndyCar Series has acknowledged that a malfunctioning hose complicated efforts by Texas Motor Speedway's safety workers to extinguish the fire on Simona de Silvestro's car Saturday night after her car hit the wall in turn two before bursting into flames.
The Indy 500 Rookie of the Year was stuck in her car for what seemed like an eternity, 38 seconds before she was frantically pulled out of the blaze. Amazingly, de Silvestro suffered only burn blisters on her right hand and she's already been cleared to drive.
The young Swiss driver was back at the HVM headquarters Monday afternoon where she showed how well her fire suit held up. Signs of the flames were apparent on the right arm and back. They'll have to send the suit in for examination.
Her helmet was burned and melted so badly, she said it's beyond repair.
De Silvestro admitted to being frightened when the safety crew's fire hose didn't work as she sat in the burning car.
"Yes, I was a bit scared because it took awhile to get the fire away and it never really happened. So I thought 'It will go away and we'll be all right,' but it was a bit scary. But I think it's just part of our job. We're race car drivers, we know anything can happen when we crash and, for sure, fire doesn't happen that often but it happened to me in my first oval crash, which means when it happens again it will be a little less than that," said De Silvestro. "We had the big one in the first one, but it's safe and it is just part of it and it happens when it happens."
And besides getting leg bruises from getting pulled out, the small blisters she suffered on her hands will not keep her from racing in two weeks.
"We can learn what happened to me. People can watch the video and can look and say 'We can do that better next time.' Having the one extinguisher fail didn't help, but three people came into the flames to help, they were really courageous, and for that I'm really thankful," she said.
On Monday, league officials issued a statement saying workers were forced to use backup bottles to put out the fire and that it would look into why the equipment did not work. All equipment, the statement says, is checked before each race.
At least 14 of 24 safety members are required to attend IndyCar races. At least two trauma doctors, three paramedics and nine firefighters or EMTs must be work race day.