Fire extinguisher regulations have changed for this season. I want to pass on the contents of a recent conversation between Motorsport UK and our chief scrutineer. Bottle sizes are different, as is the pipe diameters and number of pull cords and nozzles. The appropriate section from Appendix 3 of Appendix K is below for those that may not be aware. I am also hearing that the usual places are struggling for stock of the new extinguisher kits, so if you haven’t got this in hand, it’s worth thinking about it now.
The main reason for this article is the subject of ‘triggering points’. Race spec Caterham’s have in the past got away with only having one ‘triggering point’ on the dashboard, in reach of the driver, and as the car has no windscreen, a marshal should be able to reach it too. We have been told that this will remain the same for 2022, but it is a bit of a grey area, and it could cause problems for drivers with only one ‘trigger point’ on the dash board.
We have been told that general scrutineers and marshals are going to be pretty hot on extinguishers this year, so we are recommending drivers all go with a second ‘trigger point’. This should be mounted on top of the scuttle in ‘close proximity’ to the master cut off switch. For cars that have a master cut off on the side of the car, then the regulations state that the second trigger point should be in ‘close proximity’ to that external cut off switch. However, I think we would all agree that on the top of the scuttle in the middle of the car is a far more accessible point and it is the location we are recommending.
APPENDIX K – APPENDIX 3
Mandatory for all vehicles from 1st January 2022.
3.1. Plumbed-In Fire Extinguisher Systems
3.1.1. Where a plumbed-in fire extinguisher system is required the vehicle must be equipped with an extinguishing system in compliance with FIA Standard for plumbed-in Fire Extinguisher Systems in Competition Cars (1999) or with FIA Standard 8865- 2015. The system must be used in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions and with FIA Technical Lists n°16 or n°52. In rallies, the minimum quantity of extinguishant for systems of FIA Technical List n°16 must be 3 kg.
3.1.2. All extinguisher containers must be adequately protected and must be situated within the cockpit. The container may also be situated in the luggage compartment on condition that it is at least 300 mm from the outer edges of the bodywork in all horizontal directions. It is prohibited to mount bottles outside the main structure.
3.1.3. It must be secured by a minimum of 2 screwlocked metallic straps and the securing system must be able to withstand a deceleration of 25 g. Anti-torpedo tabs are required. The material of the securing system must operate within the –15°C to +80°C temperature range. All extinguishing equipment must withstand fire. Plastic pipes are prohibited and metal pipes are obligatory (unless specified otherwise). The system must work in all positions.
3.1.4. The system should have two points of triggering, one for the driver (and Co-driver in Rallies) and one outside the car for activation by Marshals etc.
3.1.5. The driver (and co-driver where applicable) must be able to trigger the extinguishing system manually when seated normally with his safety harnesses fastened and the steering wheel in place.
3.1.6. The triggering point from the exterior must be positioned close to the Circuit Breaker (or combined with it) and must be marked by the letter “E’’ in red inside a white circle of at least 10cm diameter with a red edge.
3.1.7. Extinguisher nozzles must be suitable for the extinguishant and be installed in such a way that they are not directly pointed at the occupants' heads.