Lotus' preparation for the Malaysian Grand Prix was hit by overnight drama at Sepang, as fire tore through the team's hospitality unit.
A faulty fridge is believed to have been to blame for the blaze, which was reported at around 3.30am local time, but the result was a badly damaged building and the loss of equipment, including one of Kimi Raikkonen's spare crash helmets. Nobody was hurt in the inferno, despite security staff attempting to rescue the contents of the unit, including overalls and helmets belonging to both Raikkonen and team-mate Romain Grosjean.
"Some kit was damaged, and Kimi lost a spare helmet," Lotus press officer - and former Crash.net
staffer - Andy Stobart told Sky Sports
, "Fortunately his main helmets were in the garage where they were being kept cool overnight. Otherwise nothing was really affected on the racing front. Some of the guys are going hungry this morning, but there has been no impact on what is happening on track."
Unable to host its guests in the ruined unit, Lotus' backroom staff have decamped to alternative surroundings to continue the hospitality function, while the race team prepares for qualifying.
"It's been a busy morning," Stobart confirmed, revealing that the upper storey of the building had housed the marketing and driver facilities above the kitchen and hospitality room, "We've had to move everything to a spare hospitality unit - it's just as well there is no 13th team in F1 at the moment - and there has been quite a lot of work to do."