McLaren offer Williams help following fire at Spanish Grand Prix

 

McLaren have offered their assistance as Williams now attempt to quickly rebuild ahead of next week's Monaco Grand Prix.

The garage fire that overshadowed Williams' first win in Formula One for seven and a half years on Sunday, after Pastor Maldonado had taken the chequered flag, caused severe damage.

A considerable amount of equipment was destroyed in the blaze, leaving Williams little time to replace or repair ahead of first practice in Monaco next Thursday.

But the "camaraderie and spirit of co-operation" described by team principal Sir Frank Williams that came to the fore as the fire took hold when personnel from a number of teams battled to extinguish it, will again be prevalent over the coming days.

In particular, McLaren are to loan equipment to Williams to ensure they can compete as strongly as possible in Monaco.

The links between the two teams are significant as three former Williams engineers are currently employed by McLaren, whilst Jenson Button started his F1 career at Grove.

Sporting director Sam Michael, technical director Paddy Lowe and director of development/design Neil Oatley, offered help almost immediately once the ashes settled on the incident at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya.

Williams, however, still face difficulties as described by their chief operations engineer Mark Gillan, who said: "We had a lot of damage and lost a lot of equipment, including IT equipment.

"We will have everything we need to run operationally at Monaco, but we may be missing a few of the extras because obviously we don't carry a complete set of spares for everything."

At present just one person, from Williams, of the 31 treated overall on Sunday remains in hospital after suffering burns.

Williams claim the team member, who is "in good spirits" and with his family "in constant communication", is likely to return home tomorrow to receive further medical care.

Williams, who was delivering a victory speech at the time an explosion rocked the garage, has been touched by the scenes he witnessed on Sunday as so many people came to his team's aid.

He said: "Everyone at Williams F1 is extremely relieved the event was contained as quickly as it was and the damage which occurred was, relatively speaking, limited in its nature.

"While the incident was unexpected and definitely most undesirable, it has demonstrated the genuine cohesiveness, camaraderie and spirit of co-operation that exists within the Formula One paddock.

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

Further investigations into the cause of the fire, which is known to have started in the fuel area, are on-going between the team, the FIA and local authorities.

PA

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