WILLIAMS F1 IS confident it will race the Monaco Grand Prix, despite losing equipment in a chaotic pit fire at the Circuit de Catalunya on Sunday.
Erupting less than two hours after the team celebrated Pastor Maldonado’s surprise win in Barcelona, the fire consumed the team’s garage, injuring as many as 31 team members. Of those, 24 have since been discharged from hospital, while one remains in what is thought to be a critical condition.
Speaking earlier this afternoon, Williams’s chief operating officer, Mark Gillan, insisted the accident wouldn’t prevent his side from making a competitive appearance in Monaco.
“We had a lot of damage and we have lost a lot of equipment, including IT equipment,” Gillan said on Monday. ”Over the next couple of days we will be looking at where we are, parts-wise. 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.”
Crew members of other F1 teams rushed to Williams’ aid when the fire started on Sunday, and that assistance looks set to continue this week. Several of the team’s rivals, including McLaren, have agreed to loan the Oxfordshire-based outfit the equipment it needs to race.
The significance of the gesture hasn’t been lost on Gillan, a fact he was at pains to make clear during an interview with Autosport.com:
“On behalf of Williams, I’d like to thank all of the team members from other teams for their help during the fire. We were overwhelmed by the support. It was really impressive.
“Williams would like to say thanks to the teams, the FIA, FOM and all of those who came to help. It was a serious issue and I am very grateful indeed.”
The opening practice session of the Monaco Grand Prix is scheduled to begin on Thursday, 24 May.