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Rivals aid gutted Williams

2012-05-15 10:25

LONDON, England - McLaren has offered Formula 1 rival Williams assistance after fire swept through the team's garage as it celebrated Pastor Maldonado's 2012 Spanish GP victory on May 13.

A McLaren spokesperson said the team was ready to lend a hand in replacing damaged equipment as F1 heads to Monaco on May 24.

The blaze erupted after team members had gathered in front of the Circuit de Catalunya garage for a victory photograph. Team founder Frank Williams and his wheelchair were moved safety while Maldonado carried his 12-year-old cousin on his back along the smoke-filled pits lane.

RIVALS TO RESCUE

F1 personnel as well as mechanics from other teams battled through acrid fumes and thick smoke to fight the fire with extinguishers before emergency services arrived.

Bruno Senna's car was in the garage, with Maldonado's elsewhere according to post-race rules, and it was not clear how much damage it had sustained. Several computers and an array of technical equipment were destroyed.

Williams said in a statement that one team member had suffered burns and remained in hospital in Spain. "He is stable and will return to the UK within the next 48 hours to receive further medical care. His family is in constant communication and he is in good spirits."

Two others were released and returned home to Britain from Barcelona after receiving treatment for smoke inhalation.

The governing International Automobile Federation said seven F1 personnel were taken to hospital and 31 treated at the track by doctors.

THANKS FROM THE BOSS

Williams thanked rival teams who had helped put out the fire and investigations into the cause of it were ongoing.

The 70-year-old Williams said: "I was pleased to welcome back to the factory the majority of our team this (Monday) morning. While the incident was unexpected and definitely most undesirable, it has demonstrated the genuine cohesiveness, camaraderie and spirit of co-operation that exists in the F1 paddock."

"The astonishing response from the teams and other paddock personnel was immediate, unconditional and overwhelming."

Reuters