Everything that could go wrong for Williams did go wrong.
Everything that could go wrong for Williams did go wrong.

‘Never seen before’: F1 reacts to chaos

Deputy team principal 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 dollars, and Williams confirmed to Sky F1 the team would be having discussions with the governing body, the FIA, and the circuit over claiming money back.

RELATED: Farcical scenes as F1 car destroyed

"There clearly should be some recompense," Williams told Sky F1. "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 (of dollars worth of damage).

"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."

Speaking at a press conference after the drama, Williams opened up on just what damage was done.

"It just seems like it's one thing after another for our team at the moment. However, it's happened, we've got to repair the damage," Williams said. "Our chassis is cracked so we have got to revert to chassis three, the floor is a write-off, and we've got some other small bits of damage around the car.

"Ahead of this weekend I was kind of feeling there was a bit of light at the end of the tunnel and then this happens this morning."

It was mayhem in Baku.
It was mayhem in Baku.

Alfa Romeo driver Kimi Raikkonen slammed the farcical incident, saying it made F1 look like "amateurs" and called on the FIA to take responsibility for it.

"Obviously it was far from ideal for everybody and we looked like amateurs here today," Raikkonen said. "It should not be like this. It's up to FIA to make sure that track is like it's supposed to be.

"It seems to be that every year some drainage hole comes loose or something slides up. That was far from ideal today.

"It's up to them (the FIA) to check and tell the people here. It is their responsibility to have the track as it is expected to be. Luckily nobody get hurt, but it obviously destroyed everybody's day. Also for the people who came to watch here it is far from ideal."

Making matters worse, the crane that come onto the track to take Russell's car away forgot about height restrictions and slammed into a bridge, causing oil to spill all over the Williams car.

Red Bull boss Christian Horner called it a "calamity" and said he had "never seen that before".

Drivers Lewis Hamilton and Daniel Ricciardo both weighed in on social media.

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."

With Jonathan Green, Sky Sports

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