A track vehicle leaked diesel fuel onto the racing surface in sector two of Sochi Autodrom this morning, per ESPN. Formula One shortened Free Practice One at the Russian Grand Prix by 30 minutes as marshals tried to clean up the spill.

The rushed clean-up left several corners soaking in water, which drivers were unhappy about when they finally got to run. Sebastian Vettel summed up the situation as “what a mess” over his team radio. Because the track was mostly dry, drivers attempted the section on slicks and many spun out as a result.

Nico Hülkenberg posted the fastest lap of the session with a 1:44.355, complete with tiptoeing around the slick spots. In comparison, the record lap time from last year was a 1:40.896 recorded by Valtteri Bottas. With rain in the afternoon Free Practice 2 session, teams were annoyed about the limited data they were able to get on slick tires during the partially wet shortened morning session.

Part of me wants to make a Volkswagen in Formula One joke, but it’s just too easy. Low hanging fruit, y’know? It’s kind of beating a dead horse at this point.

What kind of track vehicle leaks THAT much fuel, anyway? Did they leave the fuel cap off of a truck entirely? I’ve had my race car pee fuel out the side before (oops), and most of that just ended up on the side of the car.

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Circuit consultant Richard Creegan explained to Motorsport.com that it was a cleaning vehicle that was to blame:

It was a vehicle that was cleaning the track this morning – but was also dropping diesel at the same time.

It was quite an unfortunate situation really, as it meant the teams had less running time.

There was quite a lot of spillage, so the track workers did a good job in getting everything ready. But we have apologized for what happened.

Race promoter Sergey Vorobyev also confirmed to Motorsport.com that an internal investigation has been launched into the cause of the spill.

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Photo credit: Formula One


Contact the author at stef.schrader@jalopnik.com.