Static electricity spark may have caused Williams pit fire

Williams's team mechanics help a colleague as they leaves the garage destroyed by the fire at the end of the Spanish Grand Prix at the Montmelo racetrack near Barcelona, Sunday May 13, 2012. (AP Photo/Andres Pardo)May 23 (GMM) It is believed that static electricity could have sparked the Williams garage fire two weeks ago immediately after the Spanish Grand Prix 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 speculation that 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.

AM&S said that 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.

Financially, the Oxfordshire based team is basically undamaged, due to insurance cover.

Subbed by AJN.