Williams pit, Barcelona, 2012

Serious fire in Williams pit after race

2012 Spanish Grand PrixPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Williams pit, Barcelona, 2012A serious fire broke out in the Williams pit after the Spanish Grand Prix.

It took hold shortly after 5pm local time as the team celebrated their victory in today’s race.

The fire was brought under control however the extent of injuries to team members remains unclear.

Force India COO Otmar Szafnauer told Sky one of their crew has been taken to the medical centre with smoke inhalation.

Thick clouds of smoke filled the area and the pit lane was evacuated after the fire.

Update at 17:24: Caterham have issued the following statement:

Caterham F1 Team was involved in a fire that started in the Williams F1 Team’s garage after the end of the Spanish Grand Prix.

All the team’s employees have been accounted for and four people have been taken to the circuit medical centre for examination; one with a minor hand injury and three with respiratory issues.

A further statement will be issued when more details about the incident are confirmed.

Update at 19:49: Williams have 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.

Update at 21:08: The FIA confirms 31 people were taken to the medical centre following the incident:

The FIA can confirm that a fire broke out in the Williams garage after the conclusion of the Spanish Grand Prix. The flames were quickly brought under control through the combined intervention of staff from Williams, Caterham and Force India, supported by the circuit fire services.

Thirty-one team members were seen by Circuit Medical Centre staff and all have been released, with the exception of seven who were transferred to a variety of local hospitals where they are receiving treatment.

The FIA is collaborating closely with the Spanish authorities investigating this incident and will be providing a further update as soon as more information becomes available.

2012 Spanish Grand Prix

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128 comments on “Serious fire in Williams pit after race”

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  1. So horrible to see this after what was a great day.

    1. Jayfreese (@)
      13th May 2012, 16:59


      1. The moment when the fire broke out here!
        So good that it was put under control so fast.

        1. Elliot Horwood (@elliothorwoodf1)
          14th May 2012, 7:12

          and the BBC Red Button footage of when the fire broke out.


          1. NICE TO SEE FOM (FORMULA ONE MANAGEMENT) blocking all my youtube videos! even though it is SKY that own the footage. They even blocked some footage i took at silverstone at a grandstand once and got my account banned.
            I really hate FOM and there copyright rules!!?

          2. I really can ‘t understand this. I think these videos are the best way to bring new fans. Last year I favorited (among others) one video of the Vettel’s overtake in Monza to show later to my wife… finally, some days later I convinced my wife to watch it and the video was down…

        2. Rather disturbing to see so many mechanics attempt to fight the flames with no protective gear whatsoever.

          Unless they had reason to think that people were trapped inside, they should have got out of there.

          1. Nick.UK (@)
            14th May 2012, 12:05

            @jonathan189 A fair concern, but then what? The fire spreads and burns down the whole pit structure with many people above them? It that situation you do what needs doing, protective gear or not.

    2. Here’s Williams statement thanking everyone for their help in extinguishing the fire. Four of their team were injured, one is out of hospital, 3 are being treated/monitored in local hospitals.

      1. I hope the 3 in hospital make a quick recovery. The race finished late sunday night here in Aus. This was a complete shock to wake up and see what happened.

      1. Sorry, didnt realise you had updated your comment!

    1. shocking… glad to see all the teams helping.

    2. Sir Frank Williams is OK but not sure what happened

      1. Thank you for posting that :D

    3. The Actual moment the fire was caught in camera – Barcelona GP 2012

    4. xeroxpt (@)
      13th May 2012, 17:46

      Why??????? did i changed the channel to Man city…. anyways guess nothing could cool the williams especially Sennas car he was just attacking Schumachers past Sennas past is quite foggy aswell. Fortunately all people are safe you have to be really carefull with smoke inhalation.

      1. Thank God no one was seriously injured. Seeing the other teams; Caterham, Force India, HRT, Marussia helping the cause just demonstrates how unified the sport becomes for the sake of safety, really was impressed with the mechanics & other personel from the teams.

        1. Saw a couple of Toro Rosso folk helping out too when watching the BBC’s footage. AT the end of the day, they’re all human, helping each other out. Rivals in the pitlane, true sportsmen any other time of the year. Great too see.

        2. xeroxpt (@)
          13th May 2012, 22:57

          you know their garages are near each other so humanity aside that was an effort to contain any damages to any of the sides. Has anyone noticed the HRT guys running away while the italians from Toro Rosso were helping Williams.

          1. What about ferrari and mercedes who would have been fine to sit and wait for fire crews to arrive being several teams further down the pit it was an altruistic act by all the teams. If you can’t accept that then there is something seriously wrong with you, but then that was already evident by the implied racism of.

            “Has anyone noticed the HRT guys running away while the italians from Toro Rosso were helping Williams.”

            What did that knock you for six? Spanish guys running away from a fire whilst obviously in your opinion cowardly Italians run towards it. I see no other reason why you would think to mention the nationality of those involved as it has no bearing on how to fight a fire. It was a cheap shot and you should be ashamed using an accident like that to vent your national bias. I think most people would run away rather than towards a blaze and i think the bookies if they gave odds would have you running away as well.

          2. Yes, I saw a HRT guy run away, then reappear a few seconds later with a fire extinguisher and go into the garage and apparently there were Ferrari and Mclaren crew there too, but they were out of uniform. Everyone seemed to be trying to help!!!!!

  2. Shocking pictures. As someone said on the forum, glad it wasn’t at Monaco where the pits are too tight together…

    Hope everyone’s okay.

  3. Terrible disaster, Fantastic of so many teams to help out

  4. The BBC telecast of the fire:


    This will probably be taken off Youtube pretty soon…

  5. I hope nobody is hurt. Pictures look horrifying.

  6. This is horrible for the team! I really hope everyone is ok! O.o

  7. Terrible, strange the car looks almost untouched, as if it’s been put there after the fire went out.

    1. xeroxpt (@)
      13th May 2012, 23:00

      I noticed that aswell it just shows that the car was already disassembled when the fire started there aint no marks at the rear end so I guess Williams took precautions after the hit on the back nontheless something went south cause the as you said the rest of the garage looks pretty bad.

  8. That pic looks dreadful, I hope everyone is OK.

    I read that it was a KERS fire, was it?

  9. 5 live has said 4 Williams mechanics, 4 Caterham mechanics and 1 Force India mechanic taken to medical centre. No serious injuries. Statement from Williams shortly.

  10. Nick.UK (@)
    13th May 2012, 17:17

    Bit ironic… they were totally on fire in the race too!

    C’mon… banter! Nobody was hurt after all.

    1. Yes but there easily could have been, how would you have liked it if a family member of yours was around that garage, it is a bit of a disrespectful comment. :(

      1. Nick.UK (@)
        13th May 2012, 17:32

        Apolagies if this offended or annoyed anyone. It’s just a light hearted joke. I do wish people wouldn’t take things so seriously sometimes!

        1. I understand but this is NOT the sort of thing to be joking about, lives were at risk. I think people were lucky as it could have been a lot worse.

          1. Yup, but it wasn’t, everyone was ok, so no need to dwell on the could have beens. Glad everyone was ok. Williams were on fire I the race, although I should think Schumacher is a prime arson suspect, getting his revenge on the car that took him out.

          2. Disagree, a little comedy to lighten a serious situation never hurt anyone. I thought it was damn funny. And yes, lives were at risk, no one got seriously hurt, anything else is a woulda coulda shoulda, and this comes from someone who has been a firefighter

          3. I disagree. Some people may be offended, but I find a little dark humour comforting. In this case, too, noone was seriously hurt.

            I spoke to a fireman once. He told me that, after horrific fires where people died, there were often jokes about how they should have left them there to save on cremation costs. I also know a paramedic who told me they do similar. Everyone deals with such incidents in the best way they know how. For many this is through humour. Others take a different approach, and become offended by the humour.

            I am just glad everyone is OK. Things could have been a LOT worse.

      2. Give me a break.

    2. I’m afraid my Armed Forces background got the better of me over this comment…I laughed my {expletive deleted} off!

    3. xeroxpt (@)
      13th May 2012, 23:02

      Agreed with Nick uk, in the end nothing happened and in the future this experience maybe useful

    4. I wonder if Hamilton’s gonna get the blame for this one too :))

      1. Nick.UK (@)
        14th May 2012, 3:00

        @giuseppe I have already seen the far too common ‘Hamilton’s fault’ comment on multiple youtube videos, lol.

        1. People might be on to something, then :)

  11. Wow, they’re crazy….

  12. don’t be surprised if the FIA comes out with a fire safety code. We also saw a fire in the Lotus’ building in Malaysia @keithcollantine

    1. The Lotus fire was a fridge in the hospitality area or something. Nothing to do with the team’s garage at all. Two completely different issues.

    2. I am shocked to be honest at the fact there was no fire crews still at the circuit. This is a demonstration of poor safety by the FIA. There are numerous flammable gas and fuels exposed in pit lane and the FIA are obligated to provide a safe environment for participants and spectators alike.

  13. Maurice Hamilton: Unconfirmed #f1 summary: 4 Williams, 4 Caterham in medical centre 1 Force India removed to hopsital. Fire not started by Kers. Fuel ignited

  14. I thought it was pretty unprofessional of SkySports to name the fuel rig guy there cameraman pulled of the garage who apparentally had his legs on fire at the time…

    1. Yeah I thought that as well. Pretty poor imo, since his family may not have been informed yet and so to hear on the TV without decent conformation of his condition is bang out of order.

    2. And since when did we look up to the Murdock clan for decency. The recent trend is journalists ant to be treated as saints but showing no respect for peoples sensibilities. Afterall it is other peoples lives.

    3. How is it unprofessional? It’s live TV, chances are his family and friends will have been watching anyway and would have recognised him.

      Was it have been unprofessional to have named Fabrice Muamba as the player who collapsed and was effectively dead for 7 or so minutes during the match several weeks ago? No.

      Stop picking holes in Sky’s reporting, especially those who attack them because of the Murdoch’s (who arent they only perpetrators in BSkyB), it’s getting seriously lame now.

      1. Erm what?!

        This has nothing to do with Sky! I’m a fully paid up customer of there’s and have been for donkey’s years. It could have been the BBC and I’d still feel the same. It was “I think his name was….” guess on that silly bints report, not knowing what condition he was in apart from he was on fire. You really think the family got up to the minute reports so they knew before she did? Do me a favour. Oh and I watched it live to and I couldn’t tell anything about who got involved. No one could see anything, so of course they wouldn’t have known. What a stupid comment. Fabrice was plainly in clear view and no confusion and that is quite the most stupid comparison I’ve ever read.

      2. Well said, all those presenters today were truly shocked and shaken over what happened and showed genuine sympathy for all concerned, I’m sure his family would have preferred to learn straight away that he was injured rather than not knowing and thinking it may be worse. Well done Sky!

        1. Yeah well done for grabbing at straws reporting. ‘We think maybe your husband/farther may have caught on fire, I don’t know, I’m just guessing. Sorry to panic you, it may not be true, but hey, at least I look sad’

          For christ sake I’m not suggesting for one second they weren’t all very concerned and actually seemed to do a better job than the BBC (for once). But all they had was some bloke saying someone’s leg were on fire, didn’t know how badly or if his life was in danger and she thought his name was…..(I apologise, I didn’t catch his name).
          Sorry, but you don’t hear most other news reports of people being injured, killed or dieing (as he could have been) being blurted out live on national telly.

          1. That is an absolutely unacceptable piece of reporting. You simply can not make speculative and sensationalist comments attached to a specific name in circumstances like this, it is not fair on anyone involved. Disgusting.

          2. Well you’ve got one thing right, apart from EJ, the BBC team showed a complete lack of emotion where the fire was concerned ‘Well it looks like it’s under control now’ when it clearly wasn’t, no thought of any injured until someone else mentioned it, brilliant Jake Humphreys, as I said Well done Sky!!

  15. i thought i seemed to take too long for the professional fire trucks to arrive plus police as well….almost 35 minutes as the crews already having put out the base fire…
    logic dictates that a professional fire tender be parked on site during such mass high octane mass spectator events…supposing the fire was in the grandstand areas..where there seems little equipment to put off the fire.??

    1. correction …. i thought it seemed .. to take too long…

    2. Noggin the Nog
      13th May 2012, 18:12

      It too way too long for the fire crews to get there. I would have thought it was mandatory to have professional fire crews at the ready at such a big event, it was one hell of an explosion that went off, which could have had serious consequences had it got established (even concrete burns at high temperatures).

    3. Yeah, I thought the same aswell. Though the smoke probably made things worse, as there were a lot of people in the pit lane walking around, they should’ve got there much much quicker!

      1. Yeah apparently they were delayed because they couldn’t get there because of the smoke…

        …I’m sorry, but a fire tender delayed because of smoke?????? That would be like the Lifeboat being delayed because of some water…

  16. Remarkable pic. At least we see from that, just how effectively well the carbon fibre chassis’ do their job in terms of fire-resistance.

    1. Good point, a positive from a negative here. Although hopefully we wont need to see this proven again.

  17. Hopefully nobody’s badly injured. On a less serious note, judging by that picture it looks like the team might have lost a chassis and possibly a gearbox and engine from their allocation. I’d imagine they’d discharge the KERS when they remove it so it was probably still attached to the car when it caught fire although it’s hard to tell the extent of the damage.

    1. That’s an interesting point. I suspect they might get a freebie by arguing “force majeur”

      1. Maybe, I’m nor sure what the rules are for that. Kind of makes McLaren’s claims of force majeur on Saturday look pretty weak though…

    2. Good thing Maldonado won or they would have lost 2!

  18. F1 needs to get rid of KERS until they can use it safely. So many incindents with KERS which could have ended deadly, come on. That’s really not worth it! Like the guy in the video says: 60KW sitting right next to fuel tank, are you kidding me?!?! What has to happen next until they realize that this technology is not safe enough as it stands!

    1. I believe the rumors that it was KERS related are incorrect.

    2. F1 needs to get rid of KERS until they can use it safely

      I think, as @mike says, the rumours are incorrect. But to keep on with your train of thought, appart from the troubles when testing the system in 2008 (Red Bull factory on fire and the BMW mechanic that electrocuted), I think this is the first major KERS-related accident if I remember correctly.

      So how come you say they need to get rid of it until they can use it safely? There were no problems in 2009, 2011 and so far this year until today. An F1 garage is always a dangerous place, so I don’t think what you’re saying is correct.

      1. @fer-no65 While they’re getting rid of KERS they should also scrap those cars that travel at over 300kph, dangerous things ;)

        1. @andrewtanner yeah, and those engines. It’s just unbelievable they are using petrol to run them! PETROL!!!

          1. @fer-no65 Make them drive on polystyrene circuits, fueled by fluffy kittens.

          2. @andrewtanner and plastic bubbles all over the car, just in case.

          3. @andrewtanner @fer-no65

            You guys just got quoted on my Facebook. :D

        2. @mike Oh cool :D

  19. Update on BBC2 right now

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