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Formula 1

‘Unsafe’ Haas central to scathing F1 track invasion report

by Valentin Khorounzhiy
3 min read

The FIA stewards have published a ruling over the “unacceptable” Australian Grand Prix Formula 1 track invasion that posed “significant danger to the spectators, race officials and the drivers”.

Of particular note in their ruling was the finding that Nico Hulkenberg’s stranded Haas car, which he had parked up post-race, proved reachable for spectators while it was in an “unsafe” state.

After hearing from representatives of the race promoter, the Australian Grand Prix Corporation, the stewards have referred the matter to both F1’s governing body the FIA and specifically to the FIA World Motor Sports Council.

Australian Grand Prix Corporation, the Melbourne F1 race promoter, has in the meantime proposed a remedial plan outlined by the stewards in the verdict.

The situation was described as follows: “A large group of spectators managed to break the security lines and accessed the track while the race was still ongoing. The security measures and the protocols, which were expected to be in place for the event, were not enforced, resulting in an unsafe environment for the spectators, drivers and race officials.

“Furthermore, spectators were also able to reach Car #27 [Hulkenberg’s Haas], which was parked at exit of Turn 2 and which still had its light flashing red (i.e. the car was in an unsafe condition with possible electrical discharge).”

The Australian GP had issued guidelines for a post-race track invasion in the lead-up to the race, imploring attendees to “wait for the course car with the green flashing lights on and siren sounding” before entering the track.

According to the stewards, who heard from various representatives and reviewed video evidence, the AGPC “candidly admitted the failures in terms of the security protocols and safety measures”.

“The promoter concurred with the FIA sporting delegate and the race director report and agreed that this was an unacceptable situation that could have had disastrous consequences,” the stewards wrote, before determining the AGPC to have been in breach of the FIA International Sporting Code.

According to the stewards, the AGPC has vowed to conduct a thorough investigation, which it clarified as being “a comprehensive review of the breach and the marshals protecting the Hulkenberg car” and “a comprehensive review of the [remedial] plan”, in consultation with the Victorian state’s law enforcement agency Victoria Police. The AGPC has asked for a deadline of June 30 to do this.

But, “as this relates to serious issues around safety and security, the stewards hereby request the FIA to review and comment on whether the aforementioned steps are adequate to address the concerns raised”. And the incident has been referred to the WMSC to determine additional steps “or penalties applied”.

The Australian GP in Melbourne has a deal with F1 running through 2035.

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