Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Losail International Circuit, 2023

Hamilton’s potentially “dangerous” track crossing prompts review by FIA

Formula 1

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The FIA is considering whether it should issue harsher penalties to drivers who step onto live racing tracks, as Lewis Hamilton did during last weekend’s Qatar Grand Prix.

Stewards fined the Mercedes driver €25,000 (£21,640), and gave him a suspended fine of the same amount, for crossing the track without permission of marshals while the race continued following his retirement in a first-lap collision with team mate George Russell.

The stewards noted Hamilton “crossed the track that was live at this time and reached the inside edge of the track just seconds before car 63 [Russell] arrived at high speed after exiting the pits,” then “continued to walk alongside the track until finally exiting the track.”

Hamilton was “very apologetic” over the incident when he attended a hearing by the stewards after the race, they said. In addition to his fine and further fine which is suspended until the end of the season, he was also given a formal reprimand.

The FIA said in a statement today it will review whether penalties for similar incidents in future should be harsher.

“The FIA is revisiting the incident in which Lewis Hamilton crossed a live track during the Qatar Grand Prix,” it said. “The FIA notes that Lewis was apologetic during the subsequent stewards hearing in to the incident and acknowledged that the crossing was a serious safety breach. However, in view of his role model status, the FIA is concerned about the impression his actions may have created on younger drivers.”

Today’s development follows an incident in the Karting World Championship at Franciacorta in Italy on the same day as the Qatar Grand Prix which left a driver with a serious leg injury.

Joe Turney was struck by a rival’s kart as he attempted to rejoin the race after spinning out in a collision with Gabriel Gomez. Turney underwent surgery on his right foot the day afterwards. Footage of the incident was removed from the FIA’s YouTube account shortly before today’s statement was issued.

In 2014 sprint car racer Kevin Ward died after being struck by a car driven by a rival, NASCAR star Tony Stewart, during a race at Canandaigua Motorsports Park. Ward had climbed out of his crashed car and gestured at oncoming cars. The fatal collision was the subject of a recent documentary, The Hit.

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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...

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57 comments on “Hamilton’s potentially “dangerous” track crossing prompts review by FIA”

  1. Obviously a reaction to what happened to Turney (who is actually 20 years old and not really a ‘younger driver’ who is influenced at all by what Hamilton does or doesn’t do), but I am not sure anyone really appreciates that these are two different incidents. Now again, this requires specialist karting knowledge to understand. Joe made an error by trying to push start his kart on the racing line. This is been a historically big no-no. There’s other technical factors at play as the OK formula has decomp valves and massive plastic rear bumpers that make push starting harder than it needs to be. Ceratinly compared to the metal hoop 100cc era.

    The FIA had returned to direct drive engines after the disastrous KF project from 2007-2016. Obviously culturally a lot has changed with the drivers who weren’t brought up on bump starting. I’ve done it all my life and as soon as you Joe pointing towards the apex it was a disaster waiting to happen.

    Again, it’s a very complex matter.

    1. Indeed, what Turney did was insane. Interestingly, I am yet to hear of any disciplinary action taken against him yet?

    2. disastrous

      care to elaborate? I do a fair bit of karting myself and had no idea that KF was considered as such

      1. The FIA classes had a stable racing platform in 100cc direct drive. When they introduced complexity and thus instability. With the addition of clutches, power valves, balance shafts etc… the base costs of the engine went up. In addition you had a number of other costly problems that arose.

        For example with clutches, manufacturers started experimenting with exotic material, which exploded costs. To combat that the FIA then introduced clutch slip-detectors. This is karting and suddenly we had a ton of wiring and sensors trying to catch people with clutches slipping over whatever rpm was deemed illegal. It’s was a complete farce, and I think competitors had to pay for part of it sensor too.

        With the addition of the powervalve and rev limit suddenly manufacturers had to get to grips with new technology. This means that you’d gone from different development barrels being with .05, if you were very lucky, up to 3 tenths being the difference.

        At the heart of it, and yes the back-drop of this is the rise of spec-classes, KF basically made it all but impossible for small independent racers to compete. In ICA/FA it was possible to buy a TM K11B (best of of box engine), get it tuned and be competitive. Engine maintenance was as simple as it get. While engine rebuilds were frequent, as a multi-make class, it was a close to perfection as you could get. if the FIA really wanted to make the engines more reliable they could’ve gone to 125cc or something less complicated.

        KF added costs, killed national FIA racing, made International racing even more expensive, and was horrible to drive (imo).

        1. Thanks for that look at how people who take decisions have clearly no idea what they are doing.
          They are gamblers but do not pay the price!

    3. Driver crossing a live track should be an automatic 1 race ban.
      That would deter drivers from doing it for sure. There is no reasonable reason for them to do it, just unacceptable.

  2. Coventry Climax
    15th October 2023, 10:32

    Pedestrian crossings and button operated traffic lights, will probably be the FiA’s solution.

    1. Ha yes, with Croft shouting “lights change and away he goes!”

    2. Perhaps the FIA could find a less expensive alternative.
      How about insisting on drivers wearing three layers of bubble wrap from the knees down in case they get hit?
      Based on a 2000 hour work year, Hamilton will make that fine back in less than an hour and a half. That hardly seems to be a deterrent.
      The FIA will likely spend four times that amount “studying” and implementing a new policy.

    3. As I’ve said before, crossing a normal pedestrian crosswalk is far more hazardous than what Hamilton did. The levels of safety overreach and overkill the race directors and FIA have gotten up to since Whiting passed is sickening. We might as well have the drivers piloting the cars remotely from sim chairs. And, if you don’t agree with that, you’re a monster or a dinosaur who just wants to see blood!

  3. Depends on who the driver is.
    If Lance decides to run out and try to kick a passing car because he is having a bad day, I won’t mind.

    1. Is that meant to be funny?

    2. At least Tony Stewart isn’t there to kill him.

      1. Must confess, I am surprised this comment was here long enough for me to read it.

      2. Mark in Florida
        16th October 2023, 4:04

        Tony didn’t make that guy run out on the track now did he? If you’re dumb enough to run in front of racing dirt track cars you might have some anger issues.

        1. I’m assuming he was joking and you shouldn’t take the comment literally.

  4. In reality, there is hardly ever any need for a driver to cross the track.
    Walk around like a normal person.

  5. Offending drivers should be forced to produce a 15 minute presentation about the dangers of a live track, including Kyalami ’77 and others. They present this at the drivers briefing, and then make a sizeable donation to the local hospital.
    Maybe the message will get through.

  6. Robert Henning
    15th October 2023, 11:24

    Anyone aware of the last time before Hamilton’s incident that something similar happened? What did the FIA decide to do back then?

    1. Someone in the comments on the original article about Hamilton pointed to a number of recent-ish incidents in F1 where drivers appear to have done the same thing, but the unknown factor is whether they had the marshals’ permission to do so.

      On the other hand, we have last year’s Brazilian GP where Kevin Magnussen was stuck on the infield for the whole race because there was no way for him to cross the track after his first-lap collision. Clearly the marshals didn’t deem it safe enough for him to cross even under SC conditions.

      1. Robert Henning
        15th October 2023, 11:47

        Thank you for this information. I will take a look. Much appreciated.

      2. Someone in the comments on the original article about Hamilton pointed to a number of recent-ish incidents in F1 where drivers appear to have done the same thing, but the unknown factor is whether they had the marshals’ permission to do so.

        I think in the case of the Max 2021 Monza walking on the track incident, the marshals were more concerned about how badly Max had parked his car.
        Clear driving test fail on the parallel parking element.

        1. Russell (?) left his car to check on Tsunoda (?) then was not allowed to get back in it and continue … a race 2022 (?)

          1. Russell. Tick
            Tsunodo. No. It was Zhou
            2022. Tick
            Race: Silverstone

            Also the difference there was that the race had been red flagged and the track was no longer live.

        2. The problem there was not max on track. He always should have left his car. But the fact a beached driver still tried to make his car run. In total panic Lewis tried again and again to pull his car from the stack. Extremely dangerous.

          1. The only one panicking seems you, whenever you reas something about Lewis… lol

          2. @madmax

            whenever you reas something about Lewis

            this seems to be your default reaction when someone criticizes lewis.. someone living rentfree there?

          3. seems so sethje. you and your detractor friends are kind of predictable…

      3. @red-andy Did they? Even Max in the 2021 Italian GP & as for what happened in Brazil, he could’ve simply gone into the medical car with when it was on the accident site before leaving.

        1. @sethje

          You’re in a Hamilton thread while apparently not being a Ham fan as i undrstand it. Some would say LH leaves rent free in your head.

          Also in Monza the marshall calling Max to come back!

    2. https://www.motorsport.com/f1/news/verstappen-gets-penalty-for-f1-italian-gp-incident-with-hamilton/6666637/
      Yes Max walked up the track (not across it) under double waved yellows in Italy.

  7. Grrr GP upside down between trye barrier & fence?

  8. They might as well open his 2012 Abu Dhabi GP track crossing & Max’s in the 2021 Italian GP, or Sargeant’s two, etc., with the former two equally occurring during SC neutralization & Sargeant’s under red conditions.

  9. Did they set any punishment for the transgression previously. If not why not update the rule book instead of making up some kind of punishment to match a rainbow helmet.

  10. Coventry Climax
    15th October 2023, 17:16

    We’ve been racing cars under FiA regulations for ages already, and they’ve not come up with something in the rulebook about it? That’s hard to comprehend.
    Yet if there is, the penalty for it is likely in there too, so stick to that and no reason to fuss about it now.
    Then change the rules for next year, FiA, if you’re unhappy about it.

  11. LOL!! So now the severity of the punishment depends on how much an, er, ‘role model’ the driver is.

    I’m all for this. They should extend this to all sports, we could get the entire Man City team banned

    1. @banbrorace even better, Aston Villa loses woman’s star, Lehman, for whole season.

      She’s got plenty of ig followers so the power balances out, right?

  12. Is this serious? What an impressively thick rulebook F1 must have now.

    1. Coventry Climax
      15th October 2023, 23:01

      Impressive? As far as this goes, their rule book can be extremely thin and tiny. But then there’s just 2 printed sentences in it:

      “The FiA can determine if any infringement of rules occurred, and set a punishment for it. Both the rule and the degree of punishment are for the FiA to determine at free will, at anytime, and in any way it sees fit, both during or outside of the whatever prix racing calendar.”

  13. What, a fine? How come? Crossing the live track should be now a Holy Sacrament.

  14. To be honest, I hadn’t noticed he’d crossed the track when I was watching it. It wasn’t until I read these news stories about the FIA fining him that I knew it had happened. I think there is a danger that by bringing it up again, they will get some people thinking its just the FIA being petty bureaucrats and it’s not that big a deal really. If they want to influence younger drivers, I’m sure there are better ways to handle this sort of thing than imposing punishments all the time.

    1. I think this is part of the issue when it comes to us commenting on the situation is that we never actually saw the full scale of the “incident”. Clearly he didn’t cross just ahead of the oncoming pack or loiter close enough to the track to throw insults at anyone or even do anything the layman would perceive as actively dangerous as that would have been all over the TV. There’s potential that the marshal should have okayed him but forgot to do so, but that’s just pointless speculation on my point.

  15. Gotta be honest, I really don’t know what the rules state on this, or who has or hasn’t done it in the past under which conditions. Regardless, when I saw the fine and reprimand, I thought it was a joke. Why would Hamilton care about that amount of $’s. Pointless exercise.

  16. I can understand them reviewing the incident in order to set appropriate guidelines for future transgressions. That’s a wise thing to do. In fact, it should be standard procedure to discus the rulings handed out during races, with the aim of improving consistency, safety and fairness in the future.

    However, this article makes it sound like they are considering changing the punishment already applied. This would be a massive change to the way F1 has been policed for as long as I can remember. Nobody has appealed the decision, and nobody has brought significant new information to the table. It would look inconsistent at best for them to change the penalty now.

    1. Good ol’ clickbait. Some other F1 fan sites ensured they didn’t even allude to any actual incident or reference track crossing or the fact it was anything to do with future breaches until you click into the article, so you can imagine what the comments are like.

  17. Coventry Climax
    16th October 2023, 10:46


    I can understand them reviewing the incident in order to set appropriate guidelines for future transgressions.

    I’m sorry, but I can’t. The first F1 GP was back in 1950, but GP’s were held even before that, and motorracing has a history starting even well before those. Sure, haybales and people right up to the track were the norm back then. But safety rules have changed massively since then.
    It’s not like it’s never happened before and suddenly comes out of the blue, as a completely unexpected side effect or such. So I’d be stunned with the sheer amateurism, if there wouldn’t be anything about drivers (or others) crossing the track during a race, including the sanctioning for it.
    If that’s there, than act accordingly, I should say. If it’s not, or if they deem it inadequate fro modern times, then change it for next season, and/or ask everyones consent to do so with immediate effect.
    But the way things are now handled though, to me, is beyond comprehension. And that’s not a first, unfortunately.

    1. Coventry Climax
      16th October 2023, 18:45

      including the sanctioning for it, in the rule book already.

      Omitted that last part, sorry.

    2. If it’s not, or if they deem it inadequate fro modern times, then change it for next season, and/or ask everyones consent to do so with immediate effect.

      No back dating then?
      Shame, as everyone could then insist that all past transgressions of rules that didn’t then exist should be punished, and listen to the squealing when most of Schumacher’s WDCs disappear. Senna disappears from the record books and more.
      Although I’m pretty sure that Massa still doesn’t get a WDC, even with that history re-write.

      1. Coventry Climax
        16th October 2023, 21:49

        How am I to read this, SteveP?
        I didn’t say anything in that direction, I am not in favor of what you suggest, and it seems quite besides the point.
        Or is it meant in irony? Enlighten me, please.

      2. Steve: “No back dating then?”

        They have backdated rules in the past. If you ever saw the infamous Spa race I think it was where Hamilton and Raikkonen were battling, LH cut the corner, gave the place back, then immeditely passed KR again, and suddenly at that point the stewards came up with a new rule that LH should have waited for at least two corners before passing KR again. The rule might have been a sensible one, and maybe it needed clarifying for subsequent races, but what riled a lot of people at the time was the way they seemed to invent this rule on the spot and then apply it to the race just run.

        A couple of years later they made an even worse ruling at Monaco 2010. Schumacher was chasing down Alonso, but a safety car near the end looked like they’d all finish under SC. However, it came in on the last lap, so as soon as he passed the SC line, nipped past Alonso and gained a place. There was notging in the rule book to say you couldn’t do that, and everything to suggest they were racing from that point to the finish line, but the stewards invented an “interpetation” on the spot, and gave MS a 20 second penalty, and then changed the rulebook from that point onwards to say in those circumstances, racing is not allowed.

        So they have precedent already for inventing rules and then penalising people, so I wouldn’t put anything past them.

        1. Coventry Climax
          17th October 2023, 14:13

          If SteveP hadn’t quoted me, it might have been considered him bringing in a new or additional point of view, but he did quote me, and it was not part of what I said in the first place.

          Then your examples have nothing to do with backdating either, but everything with coming up with new rules on the spot. Very valid examples they are for that though, obviously, but adressed to someone who is already very much against such decision making by the FiA in the first place.

  18. Spose they gotta get some stuff for DTS as this season is a complete snoozefest….

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