/ Motorsport

Media are banned from F1 pit lane after tyre accident

Updated: Tuesday, 09 Jul 2013 19:58 | Comments

TV staff will no longer have pit lane access
TV staff will no longer have pit lane access

The FIA has announced a ban on media and other non-essential personnel in the Formula One pit lane after a cameraman was struck by a loose wheel during Sunday's German Grand Prix.

The world governing body's ban extends to "anyone other than event marshals and team personnel" and comes into force from the next race in Hungary.

Media personnel usually given the freedom to operate in and around team garages will instead be confined to the pit wall.

The FIA also revealed it will approach its World Motor Sport Council in order to request the immediate implementation of rules already in the pipeline for 2014 which mandate slower pit lane speeds and improved head protection for team personnel working on cars.

"Following a pit lane incident at last weekend's German Grand Prix, the FIA has decided to take steps to increase F1 safety and is to institute an immediate ban on anyone other than event marshals and team personnel being present in pit lane during races and grand prix qualifying sessions," the statement read.

"Access for approved media will be confined to the pit wall.

"Last weekend's incident at the Nurburgring occurred when, following a pit stop, a wheel became detached from the Red Bull Racing car of Mark Webber as he made his way towards the pit lane exit.

"The loose wheel struck a television cameraman who was hospitalised as a result. He is expected to make a full recovery."

The cameraman, Paul Allen, suffered a broken collarbone and cracked ribs after being struck by the loose tyre, which only narrowly avoiding slamming into mechanics of rival teams.

Pit lane safety improvements have been on the FIA's radar for some time, and Sunday's incident looks set to bring forward two planned changes to the rulebook.

"In order to reduce the risk of similar accidents in the future, the FIA, on the initiative of its President, Jean Todt, will be seeking to make changes to the Formula One Sporting Regulations," the statement continued.

"In order to effect this, the FIA today informed teams that the approval of the World Motor Sport Council (WMSC) will immediately be sought for two changes to the Sporting Regulations.

"Both of these changes have already been approved for 2014. However, for safety reasons, the WMSC will be asked to approve their immediate implementation.

"The changes are: Article 23.11, which will now require all team personnel working on a car during a pit stop to wear head protection; Article 30.12, which will provide for a reduction of the pit lane speed limit during races from 100km/h to 80km/h (with the exception of Melbourne, Monaco and Singapore, where due to track configuration the limit remains at 60km/h)."

Red Bull were fined for the unsafe release of Webber's car on Sunday, and the FIA revealed it expects to receive a written report on the incident from the team tomorrow.

The report will be shared with other teams in order to help further improve pit lane safety.

Meanwhile, the FIA today informed the teams that there will be no extension of next week's test session at Silverstone.

It had been suggested that the test - originally scheduled as a young driver event but now extended to the teams' regular drivers - could increase from three days to four in order to thoroughly test the new Pirelli tyres due to be brought in following a series of failures at the British Grand Prix.

However, the FIA has confirmed the test will run from 17-19 July as originally planned.

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