The Azerbaijan Grand Prix stewards have called the FIA “lucky” that a dangerous pitlane incident at the end of the Baku Formula 1 race had no serious consequences.
Esteban Ocon entered the pitlane to make his mandatory tyre change ahead of the final lap of the race, having completed the entire distance on one set of hards in the hope of a late safety car or red flag.
As he did so, he encountered a large group of media and other personnel, and a belt barrier that had been put up, in the fast lane.
"This is a SHAMBLES, absolute shambles!!" 😮 pic.twitter.com/cKk0NuPJUv
— Sky Sports F1 (@SkySportsF1) April 30, 2023
This was part of the preparation for parc ferme and the podium ceremony began, which the FIA admits is a common occurrence at the end of the race when the pitlane is still open, despite the possibility of any driver entering the pitlane before or on the final lap.
It also happened here even though it should have been obvious that Ocon still had to make a mandatory pitstop.
The Baku stewards said this created a “very dangerous situation” for those in the pitlane and considered it “fortunate that there were no serious consequences” as a result.
They said the FIA team in question acknowledged the “paramount” need to ensure a safe and orderly event, and “expressed their regret at what happened”.
The stewards tasked the representatives to take immediate steps to reconsider the relevant procedures and protocol along with F1 and the teams “to ensure that this situation does not occur again”.
The FIA says it has received the stewards’ decision and will update the relevant procedures ahead of the next race in Miami next weekend.