MARCH 24, 2012
Lotus on fire!
Lotus has had to relocate to a new area of the Sepang pitlane after its hospitality area caught fire in the early hours of Saturday morning.
It is thought that an electrical fault with one of the fridges caused the fire, with the team losing most of their catering and marketing equipment and having to take over a new base next to Marussia.
The drivers' suits and helmets were saved from the fire - with the exception of Kimi Raikkonen's spare helmet, which was destroyed - and the team's engineering and data gathering equipment was unaffected as it is located in a separate area next to the pit garages, so there should be no impact on the teams' performance in qualifying and race.
The fire added to the Lotus woes after Kimi Raikkonen, who had targeted a podium in Malaysia, was hit by a five place grid penalty due the need for a new gearbox, which the rules say must last for five consecutive events.
Raikkonen had looked impressive on longer runs in FP2, second only to Sebastian Vettel and quicker than McLaren, but with fuel levels unknown.