The Formula One team that was once at the very top of its game hadn't won a race since 2004, but it broke that losing streak when Pastor Maldonado claimed the checkered flag for the team against Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen and against all odds. But the celebrations in the team's garage were cut short when a massive fire broke out just after the race.
The fire erupted an hour and a half after the grand prix's conclusion as team members were toasting their victory in the garage on pit lane, sending smoke billowing out over the track. Members of other teams – Force India and Caterham chief among them – quickly sprung into action to help their comrades put out the fire. A total of 31 people were subsequently sent to the emergency medical center on site, with all but one treated and released. The remaining Williams team member is being treated for burns suffered in the incident and is expected to be sent back to the UK for further treatment in the coming days.
Officials are still looking into the cause of the fire, which reportedly emanated from the racecar that Bruno Senna drove until it was disabled in a collision with Michael Schumacher that took both cars out of the race. Suspicions center around a malfunction in the Kinetic Energy Recovery System. The incident is not the first time a Williams facility suffered from a fire, the factory back in Grove having caught on fire a few years ago.