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Teams tighten F1 safety

2012-05-24 07:53

VICTORY CELEBRATIONS CUT SHORT: Williams' technicians carry the remains of Bruno Senna's F1 car after a fire gutted the team's garage following their victory at the Spanish Grand Prix.


MONACO, Spain - Formula 1 teams and circuits will change safety procedures to make sure a fire like the one that devastated the Williams garage after the 2012 Spanish Grand Prix ago doesn't happen again.

Williams' chief operations engineer Mark Gillan told reporters ahead of the 2012 Monaco GP that the Circuit de Catalunya blaze that broke out as the team celebrated a first win in nearly eight years destroyed 90% of their garage infrastructure.

A team employee was still being treated for burns in hospital in Britain and was likely to stay there for another ten days.


Personnel from other teams in the pits lane helped to fight the fire and there was some criticism afterwards of the slow response time of the Barcelona circuit's emergency services.

Gillan said he attended the governing FIA's technical working group meeting on the following to analyse the chain of events after the fire broke out in the team's fuel-handling area.

Although the exact cause was not known, they agreed measures needed to be revised.

Gillan said: "There will definitely be a change to circuit procedures. We have all agreed a certain level of cover at a circuit and that level of cover was in place (in Spain).

"Collectively we need to look at the level of cover, both the fire and medical support, and undoubtedly things will change as a result of this," he said.

Gillan said former World champion Williams had already made changes and informed the other teams of what they had done.

"It is a long list of procedures that we have issued to the other teams and FIA, just to ensure that something like that doesn't happen again," he said.

Williams would, however, be able to race as normal in the Mediterranean principality even if it is with something old, something borrowed and something new.

Gillan said: "We lost all the radios, all the intercom equipment, all the rack equipment, all the IT storage system.

"On Bruno (Senna)'s car, we lost pretty much every metallic component as well due to corrosion," he said.

Senna, nephew of the late triple champion Ayrton, said his car had been fully rebuilt: "From the car I raced in Barcelona, I have just the tub.

"Everything else was very corroded from the fire extinguisher foam and the dust so they stripped the whole car and put in everything new," he said.

The race-winning car used by Pastor Maldonado to secure the team's first win since 2004 was not in the garage so was undamaged.

Gillan said Williams still lacked a few things, such as a plentiful supply of person radios, but other teams had loaned equipment to them to make sure they were able to go racing.

"It won't affect the running of the cars this weekend. In reality, you can run an F1 car with a laptop if you have to. You don't want to but we are back fully operative," he said.


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