Williams to seek compensation for drain cover damage

27/04/2019
NEWS STORY

In the wake of the incident in FP1, which Kimi Raikkonen says made the sport look like amateurs, Williams boss, Claire Williams has admitted that her team will be seeking compensation.

"There clearly should be some recompense," she told Sky Sports shortly after incident in which a loose manhole cover was 'sucked up' by Russell's car causing extensive damage to the rear of the FW42 and the session to be abandoned.

Such was the damage that the Grove outfit had to give Russell a new chassis, a move which, according to the rules, excluded him from the day's second session.

"We are an independent team," Williams continued, "and we have a very strict budget to control and things like this you can't anticipate.

"At this stage I couldn't tell you the exact numbers," she admitted, "but it's not in the tens of thousands, it's in the hundreds of thousands.

"I know that there's a precedent. Haas I believe were compensated after it happened to them in Sepang a few years ago (2017) so clearly we are going to be talking to them but I can't put a number on it at the moment.

"This has done a huge amount of damage through no fault of our own," she added. "We need to see the exact amount of damage and exactly how much that costs putting it back through manufacturing."

The Grove outfit measured the vertical impact of the incident at 4G, and while the chassis can probably be repaired once back at base, there is doubt over the Mercedes ERS module.

"It was obviously a very large hit," Russell told reporters. "I was shocked more than anything, just going down the straight doing your normal stuff, and I got this big hit. Obviously a lot of damage, and the car turned off straight away, because of the damage.

"Surprisingly, it didn't hurt," he revealed. "It set the fire extinguisher off, and as that was so cold, I thought I was sort of burning, so I got out of the car as quick as I could! I don't know the speed, but I know it was 4G of vertical load, which I think is quite high.

"I knew I hit something on the track, but I didn't realise it was a manhole cover. It was already quite bumpy down the straight as it is. It was quite a shock when I smashed it, and very dangerous, really.

"I've lost both practice sessions now," he continued. "Obviously everybody lost FP1, but I lost 40 laps in this session maybe as well. Only a one hour session tomorrow before qualifying, and we won't be doing much more than one qualifying session, I expect. We're going into the race quite blind.

"It's a bit frustrating," he admitted, "but we have to make the most of the situation. I'm trying to stay positive. I think going into the weekend anyway we knew it would be a difficult weekend, we have no special upgrade this weekend."

The incident occurred a day after the youngster was forced to miss the official FIA press conference having suffered a respiratory infection following the Chinese Grand Prix.

"I'm feeling better, definitely not 100%," he said. "It's quite up and down, really. I've had another day of rest so I should be in better shape tomorrow.

"I haven't trained at all since China, just been in my bed doing nothing really. I was improving then woke up yesterday morning and felt woeful again."

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Published: 27/04/2019
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