The FIA is investigating a near-miss between Esteban Ocon and a group of people in the pits during the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.
Ocon ran almost the entire race on the same set of hard compound tyres after starting from the pit lane. He came back into the pits on the final lap to fulfil his requirement under the regulations to run at least two compounds during the race.
As Ocon peeled into the pit lane, preparations had already begun to assemble parc ferme with photographers amassing around a fence erected to separate the top three finishers from the rest of the field. As Ocon headed down the pit lane, photographers and other personnel were forced to scramble out of the way of the Alpine, Ocon narrowly avoiding a handful of people as he drove passed.
Alpine completed the pit stop and Ocon finished the final lap on soft tyres, crossing the finish line in 15th. On his way back to parc ferme, Ocon’s race engineer Josh Peckett apologises for not warning his driver that there were people in the live pit lane.
“Sorry as well about the people on track at the pit entry,” Peckett said. “I didn’t realise they were there until you were already at them.”
“Yeah,” Ocon replied. “[A] bit scary.”
The FIA stewards have summoned “representatives of the FIA responsible for the parc fermé area at pit entry” to meet them at 5:30pm local time over “personnel blocking the fast lane in the pit lane on the final lap of the 2023Azerbaijan Grand Prix while the pit lane remained open.”
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner, who witnessed the incident as his team were preparing to celebrate their one-two victory, said the incident “needs a review” and said Ocon had done nothing wrong.
“Esteban’s within his rights to pit on the last lap and finish the race in the pit lane, I think, if he wanted to,” he told Sky. “The FIA needs to perhaps police a little better before the end of a race.”
A similar scenario occured on the final lap of the Australian Grand Prix last year when Alexander Albon came into the pits as the parc ferme area was being constructed.
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