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Australian GP promoter found in breach of FIA protocol after F1 track invasion

The Australian Grand Prix promoter has been found in serious breach of FIA security protocols and safety measures after Formula 1 fans invaded the track before the race had ended.

Fans invade the circuit as marshals load the car of Nyck de Vries, AlphaTauri AT04, onto a truck

Fans invade the circuit as marshals load the car of Nyck de Vries, AlphaTauri AT04, onto a truck

Lionel Ng / Motorsport Images

In an unusual step, The Australian Grand Prix Corporation was formally summoned to the stewards after the conclusion of a chaotic third round of the 2023 world championship at Albert Park that was red-flagged on three occasions.

A fourth red flag was shown after Max Verstappen's Red Bull took the checkered flag as "a large group of spectators managed to break the security lines and accessed the track while the race was still ongoing," per the FIA's explanation.

Fans were also able to reach the stranded Haas of Nico Hulkenberg which parked on the exit of Turn 2 after finishing seventh, which the stewards said "still had its light flashing red (i.e. the car was in an unsafe condition with possible electrical discharge)".

It found event organisers were in breach of Article 12.2.1.h of the FIA's International Sporting Code and has requested that the promoter "urgently present a formal remediation plan to the FIA".

Fans at the end of the race

Fans at the end of the race

Photo by: Lionel Ng / Motorsport Images

The stewards stated that "the security measures and the protocols which were expected to be in place for the Event were not enforced resulting in an unsafe environment for the spectators, drivers and race officials" and said the matter would be referred to the World Motor Sport Council "for a further investigation to determine whether any additional steps need to be taken or penalties applied beyond the remediation plan".

In its judgement, the stewards revealed that the AGPC had "candidly admitted" to failures that had led to "an unacceptable situation that could have had disastrous consequences".

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It comes after spectators infiltrated the circuit on the cool-down lap following the 2017 Australian Grand Prix.

The AGPC's investigation, which will consider existing protocols to examine how the track breach occurred and fans were able to access Hulkenberg's car while in an unsafe state, will be reviewed by the FIA and be conducted in consultation with regional police.

The promoter requested that it will be given until 30 June 2023 to conduct its investigation, although the stewards stated that this will need to be approved by the FIA.

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