Sergio Perez, marshal, Monaco, 2019

FIA issues safety warning to marshals after Perez’s near-miss

2019 Monaco Grand Prix

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The FIA will remind marshals of the dangers of entering a track without permission from race control after Sergio Perez’s near-miss during the Monaco Grand Prix.

The Racing Point driver was shocked to discover the pair crossing the track at the pit lane exit when he rejoined the track during the Safety Car period in the race. He and the team alerted race director Michael Masi to the incident following the grand prix.

Racing Point sporting director Andy Stevenson said the two marshals “didn’t have permission” to be on the track at the time and were not aware Perez was leaving the pits.

“The FIA in future are going to reiterate to the marshals that they can’t go on track until they’re given permission,” he added.

Perez encountered the two marshals at turn one. The Safety Car had been deployed after Charles Leclerc’s Ferrari shed tyre debris on the track, most of which was between turns 12 and 17.

Following the race the Automobile Club de Monaco told Nice-Matin the two marshals were given permission to enter the track, and pointed out that the Safety Car signals and yellow flags displayed at the corner ensured Perez was aware of their presence.

However RaceFans understands the instruction for the marshals to enter the circuit was not given by FIA personnel. Indicating the seriousness with which the sport’s governing body is treating the matter, a report on the incident is being produced for president Jean Todt and secretary-general for motor sport Peter Bayer.

The FIA also intends to show video of the incident from Perez’s camera at future events to ensure circuit workers understand the potential dangers of entering the track without the permission of race control.

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Perez said the incident was “very serious” and should be reviewed.

Sergio Perez, Racing Point, Monaco, 2019
“I nearly killed him”: Perez reveals near-miss with marshals
“It was quite a hectic moment,” he recalled. “Something as a driver you’re not expecting to find, especially right at the pit exit when people are making stops and you’re trying to get to Safety Car Line Two as quickly as possible to make sure you get the position. Although you are under Safety Car conditions that moment can be very critical.

“I was very unlucky to find the marshals just there and I think it was a very lucky incident that I didn’t hit them. It was the wrong time to be there.

“I braked but at the same time I didn’t want to lock up, to make sure I turn. Everything happened so quickly – I saw one running away and the other one just kind of stopped at the right moment. If he would have moved then I had nowhere to go.”

Perez pointed out that drivers are allowed to accelerate between the pit lane exit and Safety Car Line Two while under Safety Car positions, where he came across the marshals.

“Obviously you are under Safety Car conditions, that’s clear. You have a time to follow. The FIA is looking at it.

“I complied with the rules, we have deltas to follow and there are specific times where you don’t have to follow that delta. It could have been me or someone else then everyone is one the same boat. It’s something that I don’t want to blame anyone it’s just that we have to review what’s best going forwards to make sure this situation never happens.”

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8 comments on “FIA issues safety warning to marshals after Perez’s near-miss”

  1. I’m not sure if it’s the photography that’s flattened the distance, but that picture up top is way scarier than the one from Perez’s onboard.

    1. It’s just the perspective the image was captured in, not as close as it really was.

  2. Likewise they ought to remind drivers what yellow flags and a safety car means. Marshals on track.

    1. That’s adequately covered in the article by what Perez said though, did you read the full article?

      1. Yes, I did. He said that he complied with the rules on time deltas etc.

        Yellow flags mean “slow down, be prepared to stop”. Perhaps the FIA ought to remind drivers of that.

        1. Jamie B, there is some footage from the stands which captures what the marshals were doing beforehand, and that does raise the question of what the marshals were thinking of.

          When you look at the footage, both marshals appear to be looking to the right and seem to see Perez coming before they start crossing the pit lane exit. However, rather than stopping, both marshals instead chose to continue running towards the barrier on the inside of the track, and therefore were running towards Perez’s car.

          I don’t think that most drivers would expect the marshals to see a car driving down the pit lane, only to continue running towards them and put themselves into a more dangerous position.

  3. Wonder if this was an attempt to ‘spice up’ the show… F1: The Pinnacle Of Startled Pedestrians.

  4. Marshals are not in the business of providing “entertainment”. We take our responsibilities very seriously and are trained to only be where we are needed. There is no way they would have been on a hot track without permission. A very golden rule. Believe it or not, most drivers really don’t seem to care about flags unless they are being called in or the cars in their way aren’t getting enough blue flags. They see flags as an annoyance so when it’s their fault for not paying attention, they try to blame it on someone else. If there were yellow flags, it was the driver’s responsibility to be aware.

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