Azerbaijan GP: Williams to seek compensation after drain incident
Claire Williams says damage costs to run into hundreds of thousands of pounds; Watch the Azerbaijan GP on Sky Sports F1 this weekend
By Jonathan Green
Last Updated: 26/04/19 6:34pm
Claire Williams has confirmed Williams will seek compensation from Azerbaijan GP organisers after a loose drain cover wrecked George Russell's car in Friday practice.
The British driver escaped unhurt after running over the cover between Turns Two and Three in Practice One, but his FW42 required a chassis change and had its floor destroyed.
It's estimated the cost of the damage will amount to hundreds of thousands of pounds, and Williams confirmed to Sky F1 the team would be having discussions with the FIA and the circuit over claiming money back.
"There clearly should be some recompense," deputy team principal Williams told Sky F1.
When's the Azerbaijan GP on Sky?
When and how to watch our exclusively live coverage of the Azerbaijan GP this weekend
"We are an independent team 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 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 [Malaysia in 2017] a few years ago so clearly we are going to be talking to them but I can't put a number on it at the moment."
She added: "This has done a huge amount of damage through no fault of our own.
"We need to see the exact amount of damage and exactly how much that costs putting it back through manufacturing."
Find out more about Sky Sports F1
Watch every race, qualifying and practice session live with Sky Sports F1 in 2019
Unlike Monaco's street circuit, the drain covers in Baku are bolted down rather than welded down, and FIA race director Michael Masi told Sky F1 that a mount underneath the offending cover had "failed".
Describing the incident, Russell said: "I got the biggest smack through my body, the whole engine turned off."
Williams' car was late to pre-season testing and has trailed at the rear of the field so far in F1 2019 and Williams said the unexpected repairs would add new pressures to the team.
"We've just got ourselves back on our feet, certainly from a manufacturing perspective, after not getting our chassis to testing on time and the pressure that put into the system," she said.
"Now they're obviously going to have this to deal with as well when we were just starting to get all our upgrades pushed through the manufacturing process. It's really disappointing."
Watch the Azerbaijan GP live on Sky Sports F1. Sky Sports is the home of live and exclusive F1. Find out more here to watch the 2019 season live