Formula 1 will enforce tighter controls on media access and filming in the pit lane after last weekend’s German Grand Prix, where a FOM cameraman was struck by an errant wheel that parted company with Mark Webber’s car during the race at the Nürburgring.
The cameraman, Paul Allen, was taken to hospital with chest injuries and concussion after the incident, although he is expected to make a complete recovery. The Red Bull Racing team was hit with a €30,000 for Webber’s unsafe pit release.
Following this incident, F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone has confirmed that TV crews will only be permitted to film from the pit wall from next weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix onwards.
“There was a whole bunch of mechanics and the tyre could have hit any one of those guys. The cameraman just happened to be looking the wrong way at the wrong time. In future, all our camera crews will only be allowed to film from the pit wall.”
An investigation by the Red Bull Racing team into the incident identified that a mechanic’s error caused the incident, with Webber inadvertently being given a signal to leave before all wheels had been properly fitted.
“We will have a system in place for Budapest that excludes these kind of human errors,” ream advisor Helmut Marko told Austria’s Servus TV.
“On every wheel gun we have a button that gets pressed to give the car the signal to drive away. As the tyre didn’t stay on correctly, the mechanic tried it again with more pressure, but something happened to the wheel gun and the button got pushed. That’s why Webber got the signal to leave.
“In the next pit-stops we played it safe and told the mechanics to make sure the tyres were mounted on correctly, even if that meant that a pit-stop would take around a second longer. Despite this we continued to perform the fastest pit-stops.”