Williams driver Pastor Maldonado secured a win for the team at the Spanish Grand Prix at Montmeló on Sunday but it was overshadowed by a fire in the Williams garage that could have cost the lives of his mechanics including wheel-chair bound Frank Williams.
It was the first win for Frank Williams’ team in eight years with local hero Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikonnen coming in second and third respectively.
Apparently, mechanics were draining fuel from Bruno Senna’s car which was damaged during the race when the explosion happened.It was an explosion that rocked the pits and mechanics from other teams dashed to help out anyway they could. Seven people were held overnight in hospital with various injuries, mainly burns and around 31 people had to be treated for smoke inhalation.
It all happened just 90 minutes after the end of the Grand Prix and Frank Williams and his crew were celebrating in the garage when the accident happened. It could have been a lot worse and a full investigation is now under way.
Thick black smoke billowed from the garage as Williams was guided to safety by mechanics. The team’s secrets were also safe as mechanics saved laptops etc but Senna’s car was left a wreck as smoke cleared and damage to equipment was surveyed.
Many staff from opposing teams such as force india, Sauber, Caterham and Torro Rosso all put their lives on the line to help out. A Force India mechanic who was treated for smoke inhalation has been given the all clear while a Williams mechanic who suffered burns is still in hospital.
Frank Williams, had nothing but praise for his team and the other mechanics who helped with the putting out of the fire. He had this to say:
“Everyone at Williams F1 is extremely relieved that this event was contained as quickly as it was and the damage which occurred was limited. While the incident was unexpected and definitely most undesirable, it has demonstrated the genuine cohesiveness, camaraderie and spirit of co-operation that exists within the Formula One paddock. The astonishing response from the teams and other paddock personnel was immediate, unconditional and overwhelming.”
Once the team get back to their HQ in Oxfordshire UK, they will unpack the trucks and survey the damage as they don’t know the full extent yet although it is said that the team have lost some vital IT equipment.
Williams praised the bravery of the makeshift firefighters as acts of generosity in the cut throat world of F! racing are rarely seen – especially towards other teams.