The Spanish Grand Prix marked a bittersweet day for the Williams team, with the end of the race looming #ABV – anything but Vettel was trending on Twitter. The Williams driver Pastor Maldonado picked up his first Grand Prix win and William’s first win in eight years. However the joyous occasion was overseen by tragic events inside the William’s pit crew.
A pit fire broke out injuring a total of 7 people; 4 of which were from William’s own team. The other injured persons were made up of four Caterham mechanics and a Force India crewmember that suffered from smoke inhalation; the tracks first aid and medical teams treated them all. Martin Betts received the worst injuries following the incident and has second-degree burns on 15% of his body; the worst effected areas are his hands and legs. Caterham said that three of their crewmembers had suffered from respiratory problems whilst one crewmember had suffered from minor burns on their hand.
Following the incident there have been calls from various people to try and tighten up on track safety within the sport. The efforts of various crewmembers from Williams and their competitors have been labelled as “heroic”. Spanish reports suggested that the track fire crew had already left the event prior to the fire, which occurred an hour and a half after the race had came to a close. The fire crew that attended the blaze had to come from a nearby location.
The fire is said to have started from a KERS supply. KERS or the Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems has been controversial in its time at Formula One as it was originally seen as something that would separate the big teams, who used KERS with the smaller teams who did not. This is another move in a long line of F1 controversies linking over the widening gap within F1 with teams regularly dominating a whole season.
Amidst the devastating news about the Williams team the Spanish Grand Prix will be remembered for Michael Schumacher’s collision with Bruno Senna. Since his return to the sport Schumacher has been described as more mediocre than what his previously decorated career would suggest. Schumacher called Senna an idiot over the radio however the officials suggested that the collision was his fault giving him a 5 place penalty for the famous Monaco Grand Prix.
Following the race Williams and the FIA have launched an investigation into the cause of the fire and have vowed to focus on prevention in future in order to avoid a similar incident. However for Pastor Maldonado this is a chance to silence his critics and celebrate his first formula one Grand Prix. For a lot of formula one fans it shows a refreshing moment for one of the Red Bull to not win.