F1 team principals “surprised” by FIA clampdown on pit fence celebrations

2023 Australian Grand Prix

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Formula 1 team principals expressed surprised at the FIA’s decision to actively enforce its ban on team personnel climbing the pit wall fencing while celebrating.

Team members celebrating by hanging on the fencing on the pit wall has been a regular sight in recent years. However since 2006 it has been prohibited under Appendix H, Article 2.3.2 of the FIA’s International Sporting Code which states it is forbidden for “personnel to climb on pit wall debris fences at any time” and that any team found to be doing so will be reported to the stewards.

To date, none of the many instances of teams appearing to celebrate in a manner that contravenes the regulation have been investigated by the stewards.

However ahead of this weekend FIA F1 race director Niels Wittich reminded teams about the prohibition of celebrating on pit wall fencing in his event notes for the Australian Grand Prix, indicating the governing body intends to clampdown on the practise.

Asked about his views on the ban being actively applied, Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said that he did not see that it was necessary for the FIA to prevent teams celebrating on the pit wall.

“I was surprised it was an issue, to be honest with you,” Horner said. “But I think anything that relates to safety, obviously one has to take very seriously

“But it’s a fairly iconic moment when you see a grand prix car finishing a grand prix and his team celebrating on a fence. So long as it’s done in a manner that is safe, I personally have never seen an issue with it. I’ve thought it’s been a part of grand prix racing and we’ve achieved that 94 times as Red Bull Racing and not once have we ever had an injury or looked like it being an issue. But if they’re the rules, they’re the rules.”

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McLaren team principal Zak Brown agreed with his Red Bull counterpart that team personnel should be permitted to celebrate on pit walls within reason.

“I’m not exactly sure what sparked the necessity [to apply the rule],” Brown said. “I’m not aware of an incident.

“That being said, safety is critically important to all of us and if they feel it’s potentially not safe and those are the rules, then we’ll all stick to them.”

Aston Martin team principal Mike Krack also stressed the importance of respecting rules that are focused on keeping team personnel and drivers safe.

“I think it’s something that we need to respect,” he said. “It’s a pure safety directive. If that is the rule, then we will comply with it and if someone doesn’t, then we would pay the fine.”

However he doubts it will be a concern this weekend due to the construction of the pit wall at Albert Park. “I think here it would be quite difficult to climb fences because there are none – it’s just glass.”

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2023 Australian Grand Prix

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Author information

Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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16 comments on “F1 team principals “surprised” by FIA clampdown on pit fence celebrations”

  1. Having seen many incidents over the years of cars and debris flying into (and through) fencing, I’d suggest anyone who thinks this reminder is unnecessary is a bit dim – reckless, even.

    It’s a very ‘F1’ thing to ignore as many rules as possible. No other series is run so differently to the wording of the regulations.

    1. @S If anything, FIA should’ve banned & or enforced fence climbing long ago rather than only now.
      Not doing something way sooner automatically reduces an argument’s validity.

      1. Now is better than never, isn’t it?
        I agree with part of your comment, but, seriously – there is no reasonable argument behind saying “If they didn’t do it properly before, they should keep stuffing it up forever.”

    2. Alan S Thomson
      31st March 2023, 17:24

      The only thing that’s dim is you.

  2. Like me as no safety issue has ever arisen.

  3. Surprised? You should be enraged…

  4. I am surprised that the FIA is trying this after what happened last time it decided to clamp down on a rule with many precedents for the reverse decision.

  5. Seems the FIA can’t abide Domenicali hogging the headlines – they have to stick their oar in on some nonsensical issue too.

  6. Another woke decision. We are performing Formula 1 but nothing may be unsafe anymore. What about pit crews running around with tires and car parts during pitstops? I think we should put an end to that as well. Way too dangerous..
    Everything is going woke. Just finished looking Drive to Survive. There are more babies and little children in this than in the average Disney movie. Gorgeous paddock girls? Haven´t seen them…

    1. petebaldwin (@)
      31st March 2023, 9:49

      Before going on another weird rant, I’d give the definition of “woke” a quick Google…. Not sure you’ve got that one entirely figured out, Champ.

  7. Tim (@tsgoodchild)
    31st March 2023, 10:29

    The FIA concentrating on the important things again. Please ensure all people in the pitlane regardless of role are wearing hi-viz jackets, hard hats and a whistle around their neck in case they need to alert someone.

    What will we have next? No spraying of champagne in case it gets in your eyes? In fact lets just have sparkling water.

    1. Better make it still water!

  8. Could we first ban all celebrities in the garages? Way too crowded and unsafe.

  9. It’s an appalling retrograde step.
    But even more importantly a massive missed opportunity to monetize the entire circuits Imagine the premium price fans would pay to able to clamber over fencing while the race is in progress.
    Maybe even a $1000 mates rates entry for yourself and 2 guests.
    Add to that Friday and Saturday and the sky is the limit.

    1. …circuits fencing*

  10. What would the penalty be? Thinking that to really enforce things, all fines should be paid in the current year AND the total amount of fines for a year be deducted from the team’s spending cap for the following year.

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