Officials from the Azerbaijan Grand Prix have confirmed that the Williams F1 team will be compensated for the damage caused to George Russell’s Williams FW42 when he hit a dislodged manhole cover during FP1 for last weekend’s Grand Prix in Baku.
The incident caused the whole of first practice to be cancelled and resulted in Williams spending the rest of the day replacing Russell’s chassis to the spare they’d (fortunately) brought to a Grand Prix for the first time in 2019 causing the Briton to miss the entirety of FP2, rejoining the action on Saturday morning.
“Obviously this is our fault” Azerbaijan Grand Prix promoter Arif Rahimov told Autosport magazine.
“Our legal department is talking to Williams’ legal department and they will be reimbursed in full.”
“Obviously there are no hard feelings, as we both understand that it was never meant to be and it was definitely not on purpose.”
“It’s something that we as a circuit shouldn’t have allowed.”
The compensation follows a precedent set by the Sepang circuit after a similar incident in practice for the 2017 Formula 1 Malaysian Grand Prix damaged Romain Grosjean’s Haas when he ran over a loose storm drain cover causing around £500k worth of damage.
The incident was one of a string of misfortunes that befell the Williams team, already hamstrung by a difficult start to the 2019 F1 season, over the course of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix weekend.
Illness struck George Russell prior to arriving in Baku causing him to miss his usual pre-race build up which was compounded by the incident with the manhole cover causing him to miss both FP1 and FP2 giving the team a mountain to climb just to have his FW42 ready for qualifying.
During qualifying, Robert Kubica ploughed his Williams into the wall at turn 8 with more damage to repair giving his mechanics more work to do to ready his car for the race.
Opting to start from the pitlane, his team wheeled him out to his starting position nine minutes too soon and he was handed a drive through penalty for his troubles before he and Russell took the chequered flag last and second last respectively.
I now it’s been said before, but surely this is rock bottom for Williams. It couldn’t possibly get worse than this, could it??
Spanish Grand Prix: Hold my beer.