The FIA has said “immediate steps” will be taken in response to the potentially dangerous incident which occured in the pit lane during the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.Esteban Ocon came across a crowd of people in his path when he came into the pits to change tyres on the final lap of the race. The Alpine driver avoided hitting anyone, but said the situation could have been a “big disaster” had he not braked in time.
The stewards summoned representatives of the FIA responsible for parc ferme to explain how the situation occurred. The FIA representatives “expressed their regret at what happened” and assured the stewards they would take “immediate steps” to review the procedures in place before the next round of the championship in Miami.
The stewards noted “media and other personnel” were allowed to enter the beginning of the pit lane during the final lap. They noted it is “not unusual for the representatives to allow such persons into the pit lane just before the end of the race” but that “in this case, there was one driver that had to pit in the last lap [Ocon] and this created a very dangerous situation for those that were in the pit lane at the time.”
Stewards’ decision on the pit lane incident
The Stewards heard from the FIA representatives and determined that the relevant representatives took steps to set up the parc ferme area and also permitted media and other personnel to gather in the start of the pit lane and the pit wall during the last lap of the race, while the pit lane was open and before the final pit stop of OCO (Car 31).
We noted that it was not unusual for the representatives to allow such persons into the pit lane just before the end of the race, in the usual course of preparation for parc ferme and the Podium ceremony. However, in this case, there was one driver that had to pit in the last lap and this created a very dangerous situation for those that were in the pit lane at the time. We considered that it was fortunate that there were no serious consequences on account of what happened today. We stressed that the requirements of ensuring a safe and orderly event are paramount.
This was acknowledged by the FIA team. We walked through the relevant procedures and protocol with the FIA representatives in detail and required them to take immediate steps to reconsider these procedures and protocols with the relevant stakeholders (including FOM, the teams and the FIA) to ensure that this situation does not occur again.
The FIA representatives expressed their regret at what happened and assured us that they would do so in time for the next event.
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