Williams confirms chassis change for Russell after 'unacceptable' incident

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Williams deputy team principal Claire Williams confirmed that the drain cover incident suffered by George Russell at the start of FP1 had inflicted serious damage to the Brit's FW42.

A replay of the incident showed that Ferrari's Charles Leclerc had barely missed the manhole cover but Russell raced over it at high speed, permanently dislodging the heavy cover which then slammed into the Williams' underside.

Needless to say, the unfortunate - and avoidable - disaster won't help Williams' already problematic state of affairs.

"I haven’t had a chat with George yet, he looks alright from what I can see," Williams told the BBC immediately after the incident.

"I think there’s inevitably going to be quite a lot of damage.

"You can see from the TV that’s just taken the whole underside out. That is not helpful for us at the moment."

A visibly unhappy Williams said she would take up the matter with race control.

"The circuit needs to make sure that their drain covers are bolted down properly," she added.

"That’s just not acceptable. The damage that that can do could put us out this afternoon.

"We have another chassis that we might need to bring in. And that’s not what Formula 1 tracks should be."

Indeed, after a through damage assessment, the Williams team confirmed a chassis change for Russell would be necessary.

"George’s car will require a chassis change due to the damage caused by the loose drain cover," said the team.

"Therefore due to regulations he will not be able to run until FP3 tomorrow."

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