Authorities investigate cause of Williams fire
14 May 2012 – Heading into Monday, the precise origin of the dramatic Circuit de Catalunya fire remains unknown. Around an hour and a half after Pastor Maldonado had won the Spanish Grand Prix for Williams, a large blaze broke out in the victorious team’s garage which injured over 30 people to various degrees.
The exact cause of the inferno may be unknown, but what is sure is that the source was canisters of petrol at the back of the garage as opposed to a car.
‘After today’s Spanish Grand Prix a fire occurred in the team’s garage which originated from the fuel area,’ reads a Williams statement of Sunday evening.
‘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.’
Mechanics from Force India and Caterham helped to douse the flames, with Caterham later confirming that four staff had been taken to the circuit medical centre; one with a minor hand injury and one with breathing troubles.
The following message was issued by Formula 1 governing body the FIA:
‘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 paddock fire is the second within the space of two months. In Malaysia, a faulty fridge resulted in the destruction of the Lotus hospitality unit on Friday night.