May 23 (GMM/Inautonews.com) It is believed static electricity could have sparked Williams’ garage fire two weeks ago in Barcelona.
Even in the Monte Carlo paddock, the huge Spanish blaze was still a hot topic.
The British team and the FIA conducted investigations, but there has been no definite finding about the cause of the fire.
Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport reported suggestions simple static electricity, caused by the specific weather conditions and the fact a container was not grounded at the time, was the culprit.
Williams has scrambled to be ready for Monaco, but the only obvious sign of the fire on Wednesday was one missing mechanic, who is still recovering from burns.
“He’s on the road to recovery,” said co-owner Toto Wolff.
It is believed the mechanic was pumping fuel from one container to another when the fire started.
Wolff confirmed the static electricity theory.
“This is extremely rare. The weather may have played a role, as we had low pressure over Barcelona that day,” he explained.
Auto Motor und Sport said Williams lost mainly computers in the fire, but the crucial data survived. Of the team’s 150 radios, only 40 were intact.
Wolff said Bruno Senna’s chassis survived because of the partitions at the back of the main pit area.
“They are flame retardant,” he confirmed. “This meant the fire did not come beyond the back (area). The walls melted in the heat, but they didn’t burn.”
And financially, the Oxfordshire based team is completely undamaged, due to insurance.