(Melbourne) “It could have been appalling,” said Australian Grand Prix manager Andrew Westacott, promising a thorough investigation after a crowd of spectators flooded the track early at the end of the race on Sunday.
“We have a large number of CCTV cameras and a large amount of footage that we will have to review over the next two weeks,” the event director told Australian broadcaster ABC. “Motorsport is dangerous […] it could have been appalling.”
The International Automobile Federation (FIA) for its part summoned the organizers to obtain an explanation, considering that the incident constituted a serious violation of the sporting code and demanding a formal plan to remedy it.
Previously, the media had relayed images of the crowd sneaking through the security barriers and climbing the palisades only a few meters from racing cars, at the end of a chaotic race won by the reigning world champion, Max Verstappen (Red Bull), in the presence of some 131,000 spectators.
Some were able to reach the Haas of the German Nico Hülkenberg, stopped at the exit of the second corner after finishing seventh in the GP.
“Safety measures and protocols that needed to be in place for the event were not enforced, creating an unsafe environment for spectators, drivers and race officials,” the FIA said. .
“Spectators are allowed to enter the track after the end of the race and after the safety car has passed,” said the Australian Grand Prix director. “Viewers broke one of the barriers, we don’t know how yet,” he added.
Double world champion Max Verstappen won the Grand Prix, the third round of the world championship, on Sunday after a race stopped three times due to accidents.
The Dutchman has confirmed the supremacy of the Red Bull single-seaters and escapes the drivers’ classification as he now leads his teammate Sergio Pérez by 15 points.