Formula 1

Baku stewards investigating FIA staff for Ocon pitlane near-miss

by Josh Suttill
2 min read

The Azerbaijan Grand Prix stewards are investigating FIA personnel for blocking the pitlane after Esteban Ocon had to take avoiding action to narrowly miss a gaggle of personnel at the start of the pitlane.

Alpine driver Ocon started the grand prix from the pitlane and ran on the same set of hard tyres for the entire race before making his pitstop just before his final lap.

But as Ocon entered the pitlane there was a group of FIA-sanctioned photographers blocking the entrance to the pitlane.

They were just about able to disperse as Ocon entered the pitlane and made his pitstop.

The Azerbaijan GP stewards released a statement that they’re investigating FIA staff for “blocking the fast lane in the pitlane on the final lap” of the race while the pitlane remained open.

Ocon was baffled by the incident when he spoke to the media after the race.

“Yeah, not something that we want to see,” he said.

“I mean I don’t understand why we are starting to prep the podium and prep the ceremony while we are still racing. There’s one lap to go, there’s still people that didn’t pit, I guess Nico [Hulkenberg, who was on the same strategy as Ocon] didn’t pit at the time.

“I’m arriving at 300kph, braking very late and I see the people around, this is crazy, it could have been a big, big one today. It’s definitely something that needs to be discussed. It’s something we don’t want to see.”

Ocon says he had to lift off to avoid the staff and he would have “not liked to be the one in the middle there”.

“I have to say at the speed that we are arriving there, especially so close to the line, if I miss the braking point it’s a big disaster,” he continued.

“So yeah, crazy moment.”

“We need to wait until all the cars have passed the chequered flag and [we’re] sure there’s no racing in the pitlane anymore until you start prepping the podium. It’s not a mystery, it’s very simple.”

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