Williams F1 took its first race victory in eight years today at the Spanish Grand Prix, but celebrations were marred when a massive fire erupted in the team’s garage.
The flames were brought under control within minutes, but 31 members of various teams had to be taken to the medical centre for treatment. Most were released, however seven had to be transferred to local hospitals for further treatment.
The team’s reserve driver Valterri Bottas said the fire began as team founder Frank Williams was giving a speech. Bottas felt an explosion from behind him, which felt like it originated from somewhere near the fuel area. There is unconfirmed speculation the fuel was ignited by an electrical discharge from a Kers power boost unit.
Mechanics from several teams tried to help Williams’ pit crew extinguish the fire, however there was nothing they could do to prevent the flames destroying Bruno Senna’s car, which was parked in the garage following an earlier crash. Race winner Maldonado’s car is safe, as it was parked elsewhere awaiting post-race checks.
Williams F1 issued the following statement:
“After today’s Spanish Grand Prix a fire occurred in the team’s garage which originated from the fuel area.
Four team personnel were injured in the incident and subsequently taken to the medical centre. Three are now receiving treatment at local hospitals for their injuries, while the fourth has been released. The team will monitor their condition and ensure they receive the best possible care.
The team, the fire services and the police are working together to determine the root cause of the fire and an update statement will be released in due course.
The Williams F1 Team would like to thank all of the teams and the FIA for their support in today’s incident.”
Image: Via Twitter