Australian GP to forbid fans from entering track at end of this year’s race

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Fans will be barred from running onto the track after the conclusion of this year’s Australian Grand Prix following an “unacceptable” incident in 2023.

It will be the first time that spectators will not be permitted onto the track surface at Albert Park following the race in the event’s near 30-year history.

The stewards of the 2023 Australian Grand Prix referred event organisers to the FIA World Motor Sport Council following multiple “serious” security failures during the finish of last year’s race, which saw a small number of fans step onto the circuit before they were permitted.

Spectators are typically allowed onto the track at the Melbourne race following the chequered flag to gather on the pit straight and enjoy the podium ceremony. They are only permitted to do so once the final driver has crossed the finishing line and a course car has passed to designate that the track is clear. Fans at the event receive multiple warnings before and during the race about the procedure to help prevent them accessing the track too soon.

Last year’s race finished under Safety Car conditions following a late red flag stoppage. Before all cars had passed the finish line, a handful of fans were seen on the grass on the side of the track on the run to turn one (below). Second-place finisher Lewis Hamilton reported on his radio some fans had entered the track.

Moments later, Nico Hulkenberg pulled off the track at the exit of the first corner with an electrical problem on his Haas. Spectators ran by the stricken car which had its ERS safety light on red, indicating it was in an electrically dangerous conditions and posed a hazard to anyone who potentially came into contact with it.

After speaking with the stewards about the breaches the Australian Grand Prix Corporation (AGPC), who promote the event, admitted that there had been “unacceptable situations that could have had disastrous consequences”. The stewards found the AGPC in breach of Article 12.2.1.h of the FIA’s International Sporting Code, which covers “any unsafe act or failure to take reasonable measures, thus resulting in an unsafe situation”.

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In a statement on Thursday, the AGPC announced that fans would not be permitted onto the track at the end of the this year’s race.

“The Australian Grand Prix Corporation advises that, given the ongoing FIA investigation into the early track breach at the conclusion of the 2023 event, there will be no track access for patrons following the Australian Grand Prix 2024,” the statement read.

However, the AGPC also stressed that the question of whether fans would be allowed onto the track in future events would “be made at a later date.”

The temporary circuit at Albert Park, set around public roads, has hosted the Australian Grand Prix every year since joining the calendar in 1996, except for 2020 and 2021 when the race was cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

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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 “Australian GP to forbid fans from entering track at end of this year’s race”

  1. Coventry Climax
    25th January 2024, 9:35

    The best way to prevent that is not sell tickets at all.
    Or do it the Vegas way; sell tickets, but expell the fans before the action takes place, handing them a cap for their trouble.

    1. This is the sort of creative, opportunity based forward thinking we need in our executive team!

  2. 2017 pitch invade was even worse IMO

  3. Well, if everyone had acted like sensible, respectful and considerate human beings all along, this decision would never have had to be made.
    But, alas, this is another victory for the yobs and bogans.

    Compare this with, say, the Japanese GP – where a huge number of paying spectators will clean up any rubbish laying around, despite not even dropping any themselves…

  4. Of course the spectators that invaded the track last year weren’t permitted either since the race hadn’t ended.
    It’s one thing for spectators to be banned from the track, it’s another thing for the organisers to be able to enforce it. Unless the organisers this year significantly increase security I’m not sure how they intend to hold everyone back, especially since in Melbourne it’s been tradition that fans can enter the main straight post-race to watch the podium celebrations. Now I’m a bit concerned that fans entering the track post-race this year will cause an “incident” and compromise any future events.

    1. Coventry Climax
      25th January 2024, 12:44

      Easy: Just use the method used all over the world: Build walls to keep people out, but turn a blind eye when these ‘unwanted’ people do the dirty work noone inside the walls would ever want to do.

      1. Why not just move the podium so that it faces area’s the public can access, (or do a Vegas and drive them a couple of Ks away!)
        Surely if the podium was at the end of the pit and faced into the general access area then everyone would be happy?

  5. By saying that publicly, they’re setting themselves up for massive embarrassment when it inevitably happens.
    They should focus on delaying the invasion until its safe and leave it to that.

  6. An overreaction to an isolated incident, especially as no other circuit will do the same anyway.

    1. It happens often as you can see the video’s but sometimes it’s more then the other races but a bit risky.

  7. Oh great! It’ll feel like one of those 2020 podium ceremonies! They were the best!

  8. Finally took the plunge and shelled out a not-insignificant amount for tickets on turn 1 grandstand… pretty disappointed to not be able to enjoy the podium ceremony live after only seeing them on screens for the past 15 years.

    1. Well done getting tickets at all!

  9. The few all too often ruin it for the masses.

    I hope a solution can be found to make it appealing to only enter the track once it’s clear.

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