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One Williams team member still in hospital with burns after pit fire
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Williams F1/LAT
Posted By: James Allen  |  14 May 2012   |  5:51 pm GMT  |  28 comments

Williams F1 Team has released a further bulletin on their staff members who were injured in yesterday’s pit garage fire after the team won the Spanish Grand Prix.

“Following yesterday’s fire which occurred in the team’s garage after the Spanish Grand Prix, Williams F1 can confirm that a further two team members have now been released from hospital and have returned home having received treatment for smoke inhalation.

“One member of the team remains in hospital in Spain having suffered burns in the incident. He is stable and will return to the UK within the next 48 hours to receive further medical care. His family are in constant communication and he is in good spirits.

“Investigations into the cause of the fire are on-going in collaboration with the FIA and local authorities.”

The team member with burns is believed to be the person who was emptying the fuel bowsers when the fire broke out.

Mark Gillan, who is in charge of race operations at Williams, said that most of the equipment in the garage at the time has been lost, including computer hardware, telemetry and pit equipment.

This will affect their preparations for the Monaco Grand Prix, where they may not have the full range of parts and equipment they might have expected to have, but Gillan is confident that this will not affect performance.

Three senior members of the McLaren team, who have worked at Williams; Paddy Lowe (technical director), Neil Oatley (director of design and development) and Sam Michael (sporting director) have offered to loan Williams equipment and anything else they need to get back on track.

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28 Comments
  1. Gridlock says:

    Like the oft-overlooked Marshal deaths early last decade (F1 is safer than ever! No deaths since 1994!) this is another reminder that CVC’s margins and the marketing power of the brands in F1 is dependent on the life and limbs of many, many people.

    Much respect to everyone involved, and I hope fire response and critical situation control are closely looked at for the future. While many good people stepped in to help and prevent what could have been a tragedy these areas seemed lacking – breathing apparatus and a strong voice directing the bystanders were not in evidence.

    1. LJ says:

      Was tragedy not avoided exactly because everyone stepped in to help? With fire like that, there’s little chance to wait for the emergency services and directions from the FIA. That said, it did seem to take a long time for the actual fire crew to arrive.

      1. Wayne says:

        I simply could not bring myself to support Williams while Parr was involved – they had always been my seconds team until his arival…. However, I am thrilled for Sir Frank and even more thrilled that none of his people were seriously hurt. Long live the Williams F1 Team!

  2. Dougel says:

    Such a sad way to end what should have been Williams’s day in the sun. Hope it doesn’t lose the team momentum and that everyone injured makes a full recovery.

  3. Don Farrell says:

    What amazes me about watching the footage of the fire is the absence of Spanish Circuit de Catalunya firefighters. The first official firefighters didn’t seem to appear for 5 – 10 minutes after the fire was extinguished by various teams pit-crews. If it wasn’t for the bravery of the F1 pit-crews the whole paddock may have went up in smoke.

    Full credit to the bravery of pit-crews that put their own lives on the line to extinguish the fire so quickly.

    1. The fire crews were hampered in getting to the Williams garage by the smoke, which blew down the pitlane towards where they were stationed. The lack of visibility combined with number of people milling around meant they had to drive so slowly that the fire was out by the time they got there.

      Not much else they could’ve done under the circumstances, but clearly Circuit de Catalunya’s emergency procedures are in need of review. I imagine they’ll station a fire crew at either end of the pits in future.

    2. benf says:

      I thought this too. Surely there should have been fire engines with powder and foam stationed in the pit lane and able to respond well within 5 min. They took about 15-20 min to arrive. This isn’t good enough for any motor racing circuit, nevermind an F1 circuit!

  4. Alex says:

    James,after 5 races what is Williams’s evaluation of Johnson’s job at improving their pit stops?

  5. db4tim says:

    This needs to be closely watched coming to the next very close quarters …Monaco.

  6. Paul J says:

    I really hope this wasn’t the result of celebratory cigars out the back of the garage!

  7. Seán Craddock says:

    James, I’ve heard that Senna’s car is completely destroyed. Just out of interest, since they’re going to have to change everything on that car now, will Senna get a penalty for changing gearbox? And for potentially using an extra engine towards the end of the season since these ones are gone?

    I hope there’s some sort of exception made for this incident. Would be harsh to punish them considering the circumstances.

      1. Stuart W says:

        Can you imagine any team, when asked, not allowing an exception be made to allowing an engine/gearbox change without penalty?

      2. Aaron Reese says:

        Yes,

        Ferrari – Don’t they owe Williams one for blocking an additional testing day in mid-season for the relief driver when Massa was injured?

      3. James Allen says:

        You have a good memory!

      4. Stuart W says:

        Oh yes.

        But Ferrari would veto a Euro bailout for Italy if they thought it’d get ‘em closer to the front!

  8. F12012 says:

    Ferrari’s statement on Massa, doesn’t look good, big pressure now

  9. TheBrad says:

    Does Lewis Hamilton own a cigarette lighter?

    1. Graham says:

      Innapropriate!

    2. Kay says:

      Someone put too big a candle on Frank’s birthday cake.

  10. RapidRick says:

    James,

    The fire has given rise to greater than usual post-race comment. However, I can’t find the post-race BBC5L ChequeredFlag podcast on any of the usual links. Is there an issue with it?

    Thanks
    Rick

    1. James Allen says:

      I’m checking with 5 Live.

      1. RapidRick says:

        Thanks, it is now there.
        Rick

    2. Quercus says:

      Aha! That explains why it didn’t appear automatically on my iPod.

      …But it’s there now. Thanks, James.

  11. markp says:

    Nostalgia. Winning again. Retro livery but someone sparked up a Rothmans in the garage.

  12. Nathan says:

    I just watched the footage on YouTube and one good note I can bring up is how quick and selfless the crew from the other teams ran to help.

    1. Tim says:

      +1 totally agree

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