UK & World News
F1 Fire: Probe As 'Incompetent' Crews Blasted
A full investigation has been launched into a fire that ruined Williams' Spanish Grand Prix celebrations, as fierce criticism is levelled at the circuit's fire crews.
The fire, which put seven people in hospital, started just 90 minutes after Pastor Maldonado took the chequered flag to give Williams their first taste of success for 132 races.
A Williams team member is being treated for severe burns that are understood to cover 40% of his body.
Williams have confirmed the fire "originated from the fuel area", and they, along with the fire services and police "are working together to determine the root cause".
Williams personnel, along with those from Caterham and Force India in the neighbouring garages, fought to bring the blaze under control.
But Force India deputy team principal Bob Fearnley has been very critical of the response of the circuit's fire crews to the incident.
"Incompetent would be a very polite way of saying what these people have done here today," Fearnley told Sky Sports F1.
"There's no training, no procedures. I went down to see how my man is, and I had to fight my way in.
"We need to look seriously at the training of people at the circuits. I'm not impressed at all."
The FIA have confirmed in a statement that 31 team members were seen by circuit medical centre staff, the majority for smoke inhalation, with 24 released.
The seven, however, were transferred to a variety of local hospitals for treatment.
With photographers and cameramen also in attendance, a swift evacuation took place, with Pastor Maldonado saving his 12-year-old cousin Manuel.
The 26-year-old has been pictured giving Manuel, who is holding his uncle's winner's trophy in his hand, a piggyback down the pit lane due to a broken right foot covered by a protective boot.
Regarding the fire, motor sport's governing body added: "The flames were quickly brought under control through the combined intervention of staff from Williams, Caterham and Force India, supported by the circuit fire services.
"The FIA is collaborating closely with the Spanish authorities investigating this incident."
The incident overshadowed the day for Williams and Maldonado, who had been hoisted up on the shoulders of runner-up Fernando Alonso and third-placed Kimi Raikkonen on the podium.
In an unpredictable start to the F1 season, the first five races have been won by five different drivers and constructors for only the second time in the sport's history.