Serious fire in Williams pit after race

2012 Spanish Grand Prix

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

  1. schooner (@schooner) said on 14th May 2012, 1:03

    Sad that what have should have been a huge celebratory evening for Sir Frank and the resurgent Team Williams had this nasty damper put on it. Mostly sad for those injured, of course. Crazy.

  2. dam00r (@dam00r) said on 14th May 2012, 2:21

    Bruno Sennas career ended up in flames.
    And is this the aftermath of the same guy that didn’t put in enough fuel in L.Hamiltons car?

  3. peteleeuk (@peteleeuk) said on 14th May 2012, 2:25

    Obviously all else comes after the condition of all those involved, hope everyone recovers.

    But other than that, how could this affect the team? Are they fully insured? The cost of the kit they carry around, alongside the perceived risk of something like this happening what with all the flammables etc, I wouldn’t be surprised if insurance was prohibitively expensive and the teams put money aside just in case instead. Does anyone know? If it is a cost they have to cover themselves then could they? It’s no secret they’ve been struggling financially.
    How about the actual kit, do they hold spares of everything just in case? Could this conceivably put them out of action for a few rounds? That in itself could cost them in sponsorship.

    I was so pleased for Williams after the race, it’s such a shame for them. I hope it does not cause any lasting problems for any of those injured or the team as a whole.

  4. Cuandoman said on 14th May 2012, 4:08

    I have yet to see a video with significant professional firefighting presence at this event.

    Even Indycar has a dedicated team:

    • marc512 (@) said on 14th May 2012, 11:12

      All F1 personnel are given basic medical and fire fighting training. Or maybe a bit more than basic. They did well to stop the fire from spreading to other parts of the paddock. They need to be trained this way. If that fire was left till the professionals got there, it would of probably engulfed the whole paddock.

      If a fire breaks out on the track, that is a different story. Some tracks have dedicated fire teams spread out at different points in the track. If a fire breaks out on track, the nearest one will rush off. If you look at some races, you do see fire engines sitting there waiting.

    • Adrian J (@adrian-j) said on 14th May 2012, 11:28

      To me it’s unforgivable that there wasn’t a professional fire tender there within a couple of minutes.

      They should have one at both ends of the pit-lane both in the pit-lane itself and the paddock (why both ends? In case access from one end is blocked) and they should be on standby until the event is completely cleared away.

      That and every garage should have an built in fire suppression system – I don’t know what substance they’d use, but then that why I’m not a designer for a fire suppression system company…

      I volunteer as ambulance crew at major events (waiting to hear on the British GP this year – fingers and toes all crossed) and we are required for set-up and take-down as well as the whole event.

      Thank god noone was killed and I hope those hospitalised are okay – smoke inhalation is more of a killer than burns.

  5. Force Maikel (@force-maikel) said on 14th May 2012, 8:39

    Great to see everyone lending a hand as fast ass possible, shows we are still human after all. Such a shame this happens on such a happy day for the Williams boys. I’ve heard the teams are loaning williams gear for the next GP? Does anyone know if its true or not?

  6. Casanova (@casanova) said on 14th May 2012, 11:45

    Given that the fire seems to have started around the rear of Senna’s car, I wonder if damage from getting rear-ended by Schumacher could have contributed to starting the fire? Even if the fuel tank wasn’t directly ruptured in the impact (the car has passed crash tests after all, and the fuel cells are exceptionally strong against this happening), it is possible that an ignition source, such as shorting wires, was created or exposed by the crash.

    Whatever the cause, I hope Williams are able to establish the cause of the fire, so that measures can be put in place to prevent a similar incident happening in future, whether in the Williams garage or anywhere down the pitlane.

  7. drewT4 said on 14th May 2012, 13:23

    I agree – it took an age for any professional fire assistance to arrive – surely there should be a fire tender and crew in the pit lane until all fire risks are removed.

  8. Gill Parry (@welshwitch) said on 14th May 2012, 14:24

    I can’t believe that there were spectators taking videos of inside the garage and getting in the way of the pit crews trying to put it out and after Simon Lazenby informed Pastor Maldonado (who was looking worried) that his fiancee had gone a certain way, a spectator grabbed him and asked him for a picture ….Unbelievable!

  9. Leggacy (@leggacy) said on 14th May 2012, 15:09

    Too many candles on franks birthday cake?

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