The loose drain cover in FP1 was something nobody could have seen coming, especially as it transpired that it come loose not because of a lack of checks or human error, but simply because one of the clamps holding it down had failed.
Williams was understandably furious at the time and said that it would be pursuing compensation as the incident had “serious financial implications” for the team. Thankfully, the matter seems to have been resolved in good time and the team will be receiving a payout as soon as possible. Race promoter Arif Rahimov told Autosport:
“Obviously this is our fault, we did admit it. It’s something that we as a circuit shouldn’t have allowed. We have checked again our insurance policy and it is fully covered. 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. We were very apologetic and we also sent some flowers to say we were really sorry about what happened.”
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FP1 is brought to an early end after #GR63 runs over a loose manhole cover, damaging his car. Not the start we were looking for but it’s a long weekend ahead and we will work hard now to get back on track. . . . #F1 #Formula1 #WeAreRacing #WeAreWilliams #AzerbaijanGP #RK88 #GR63 📸 @xpbimages
It’s all happening surprisingly quickly – when Haas made a similar claim against the Sepang circuit in 2017 it took the best part of a year for the team to receive the funds. Rahimov added:
“We need to make sure this happens as soon as possible, not a year, because they need this money so they can use it this season. We will push the insurance company to expedite the claim and pay Williams as soon as possible.”
Good news all around, then. Well, it not happening in the first place would have been better, but the response from all parties in this situation has been very encouraging.