Gasly calls for more respect from fans after bag was ‘opened’ in paddock twice

2022 Mexican Grand Prix

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Pierre Gasly has called on fans to show drivers more respect when they come into the Formula 1 paddock.

While access to the paddock is only granted to a limited number of people, it has become increasingly busy in recent races. Drivers discussed the problems which have arisen as a result during their regular race weekend meeting on Friday.

Gasly said he discovered a bag containing his personal items had been opened, for the second race weekend in a row. F1 is racing at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico this weekend and visited the Circuit of the Americas in the USA a week earlier.

The AlphaTauri driver feels some fans who have been allowed into the paddock are not conducting themselves correctly.

A huge crowd has turned up for this weekend’s race
“I think letting people in is fine, but it’s true that I feel like some guests sometimes are not really respecting the space that we need,” he said in response to a question from RaceFans.

“People coming in garages before qualifying and asking for pictures when they are not even from our team. We are working here and obviously we give time for the fans when we can. [But] this weekend I didn’t dare come out of the hospitality because otherwise you just know that you get mobbed and sometimes it gets quite hectic.”

Gasly said the problem is not confined to this weekend’s race, pointing out that his bag has been opened twice in the last two rounds.

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“I had my bag – which I arrived at the hospitality yesterday morning with, it had my passport – opened and I didn’t even feel it,” he said.

The paddock is expected to be busiest today
“Clearly it wasn’t me and it wasn’t my manager. When he saw that, he closed it straight away. But the same thing happened in Austin when I came out of the paddock.”

He believes greater security precautions may be needed. “I just feel like at the moment we never had any security in F1 and maybe there is something we can do,” he said. “But as I say, I’m always giving the maximum time to the fans, it’s not that we don’t want anyone, but just to find ways to make everybody happy.”

“We talked about it in the drivers’ briefing,” he added. “I think it’s great also to see kids and people really enjoying it, but just maybe finding a way where they can understand where to reach us and when to give us a bit more space.”

Gasly’s concerns were shared by Lando Norris, who said drivers want to interact with fans rather than avoid them. “There’s not as much respect for just personal space and things like that as what there should be,” he said. “They should feel lucky enough to be in the paddock and get to be as close as they are to us.”

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Drivers try to make themselves available for fans, said Norris. “It’s easy for us to always go around the back ways and have people literally shove them out the way and so on so we don’t sign anything.

Mexican fans “will never hurt anyone” – Perez
“But we [don’t] want to do that. We were happy to do those things and we want to walk down the paddock and stuff. But there just needs to be a little bit more just respect from people for our personal space and boundaries and things.”

Sergio Perez, the only Mexican driver in F1, reassured his fellow drivers about the enthusiastic local fans. “Obviously the Mexicans are really intense, of course, but they’re great people,” he said. “They will never hurt anyone.

“It’s great to see this, we don’t get to see this in many other countries. So it’s nice for Formula 1 to enjoy a bit.”

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2022 Mexican Grand Prix

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    Author information

    Keith Collantine
    Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...
    Claire Cottingham
    Claire has worked in motorsport for much of her career, covering a broad mix of championships including Formula One, Formula E, the BTCC, British...

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    12 comments on “Gasly calls for more respect from fans after bag was ‘opened’ in paddock twice”

    1. I bet it’s Ocon trying to spy on the details of Gasly’s Alpine contract.

    2. Weird how such an issue has suddenly arisen, but I don’t get how someone could even get close enough to Gasly’s bag to open it in the first place.

      1. Well, the drivers often push through crowds in the paddock to reach their hospitality areas or back of garages. Fans can get v close in this situation.

      2. This can easily happen on crowded places. I had a pendrive stolen just like this a few years back.
        Best thing to do is to use a briefcase, if it suits him.

    3. Welcome to the land of the “entitled”.
      With more races in America it’s only going to get worse.

    4. In Mexico I’d be more worried my bag was not carrying bricks.

    5. I get that Pérez doesn’t want this race to get a bad reputation among the F1 clique, but there’s no need to go above and beyond the facts. Pretending Mexico is some kind of Switzerland in the Americas won’t convince anyone.

      But this probably isn’t a Mexico issue, and more likely one related to the increased number of fans hanging around at the behest of the teams and FOM/Liberty. On some shots the garages look properly crowded. There’s always going to be a bunch of fools in a large enough crowd, especially at sporting events, whether in Austria, England or Mexico.

    6. I suggest not leaving personal/valuable stuff in “public” areas. I’m pretty sure the drivers know there will be non-team members there.

      When I walked the Phoenix pits between sessions with my 3 YO son back in the days, I don’t recall seeing any personal stuff.

      Much better days then. Teams didn’t even mind my son leaving handprints on the bodywork. His favorite was the 7-Up livery.

    7. Maybe have their physio watch their stuff? Doesn’t seem like much of a problem.

    8. I hadn’t watched a Brundle grid walk for 5 or 10 years until last weekend. It kind of shocked me how many people are on the grid now. I was wondering if this is just for North America or what. Seems pointless to have a bunch of randos out there before a race and these definitely weren’t poor people. F1 is turning into a zoo after the rigged championship last year and Red Bull unpunished for exceeding the cap. Now all this. Why not let some dogs run around in the paddock as well?

      1. They’re all VIPs (celebs, very, very wealthy fans, team members, VIP guests, etc.). I find it hilarious that the “gas man” (a self dubbed nickname) thinks any of these people are trolling the paddock club to steal his stuff. This is not an area where “regular” fans are admitted.

    9. Race fans are some of the most polite and by far the least rowdy fans around. Then go a step further to fans with the huge cash it requires to get into the paddock area and there will be no thieves there let alone ones interested in Gasly’s junk.

      Before accusing fans, he should have found out if a team member accidentally thought the bag contained team stuff. Why would someone open the bag, but not steal anything if they had mischief in mind? PG is once again showing he’s the not brightest bulb on the shelf.

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