Motor racing-Maldonado's Williams suffers smoky KERS failure

NUERBURGRING, Germany, July 6 Sat Jul 6, 2013 4:55am EDT

NUERBURGRING, Germany, July 6 (Reuters) - Pastor Maldonado's Williams suffered a KERS failure in the garage on Saturday and fire marshals had to extinguish smoke, the struggling Formula One team said ahead of qualifying for the German Grand Prix.

Safety issues have become the focus of attention in F1 after five drivers suffered tyre blow-outs at last Sunday's British Grand Prix and the risk of fire in the pitlane is another significant danger.

"At 08.30 this morning the Williams F1 team suffered a KERS failure on Pastor Maldonado's car," a team statement said, referring to the kinetic energy recovery system.

"The car was in the garage at the time. The resulting smoke was contained quickly and efficiently by the team and circuit fire marshals. No personnel were injured. The team are currently investigating the cause of the failure, and assessing any further damage to Pastor's car."

Williams suffered a fire in their garage at last year's Spanish Grand Prix where seven people were taken to hospital and 31 needed medical attention. It came after their first race win in eight years through Venezuelan driver Maldonado.

Last year's win in Spain turned out to be a false dawn. Maldonado and Finnish rookie team mate Valtteri Bottas have yet to score a point in eight races this season for the British team who were last champions in 1997. (Reporting by Mark Meadows, editing by Alan Baldwin)

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