Fan injured in "freak one-off" debris incident at Australian GP

Australian Grand Prix Corporation CEO Andrew Westacott has responded to what he says was a "freak, one-off" incident that saw a fan injured by debris on Sunday.

Fans at the end of the race

Westacott fronted media on Monday morning in Melbourne following what is his final race at the helm of the Australian GP promoter.

Unsurprisingly the two key topics were a pair of significant safety issues that occurred yesterday – a fan injured by debris in the crowd and the premature track invasion at the end of the race.

A fan was hit by carbon fibre debris from Kevin Magnussen's car when the Dane hit the wall in the latter stages of Sunday's race.

His arm was cut by the debris which, according to eye witness accounts, flew 20 metres in the air before clearing the catch fencing and lacerating the fan's arm.

The fan didn't sustain any serious injuries.

"We actually coincidentally had one of our engineering staff there who saw it, and anecdotally it would appear that debris carbon fibre from the wheel hub has shot 20 metres or so in the air, shot up, landed down and lacerated a gentleman's arm," explained Westacott.

"Our people were aware of the incident. It looks as if it was a freak one-off, because you can't necessarily have these debris fences going 20 metres in the air.

"The debris fences are consistent in height around the world. We're compliant in our FIA regulations, but like everything in motorsport, you do debriefs at the end of the event and see what you can do to improve.

"I hope the guy is okay. It's a reminder that safe is paramount when it comes to Formula 1."

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

Photo by: Lionel Ng / Motorsport Images

Westacott also spoke about the invasion that saw the AGPC summoned to the FIA stewards and later found in breach of the F1 rules.

"As fans would know it's a synonymous part of grand prix racing where there is a controlled – and I emphasise the word controlled – access to the circuit post the race," he said.

"We see it at Monza, we see it here and at many other events around the world.

"Unfortunately on driver's right a couple of hundred metres down past the fishing line, a couple of hundred metres before Turn 1, there was an uncontrolled ingress of people and patrons onto the grass verges and a couple of people went onto the asphalt.

"Myself and my general manager of operations and others met with the FIA and the stewards last night. The stewards quite rightly are going to conduct an investigation into the cause of this.

"We work every year to allow the fans to access the track at the end of the race after the cars have passed. This was clearly a breach of what is a very robust protocol, a protocol that's been developed and improved every year. And a protocol that we sit down with officials from Motorsport Australia and the security providers, engineering providers and Victoria Police and we not only do table top exercises, but we do simulations out on track.

"Something hasn't gone quite right and that investigation has already started."

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Westacott added that he hopes the outcome from the investigation isn't a blanket ban on fans entering the circuit after the race.

"I would hope that there's not a ban and I don't think there needs to be a ban," he said. "But what I would say is clearly you have primary, secondary and tertiary lines of protection, which are physical infrastructure. You then have individuals that can look after those areas.

"I think with the combination of infrastructure, and modified and reviewed plans, which we always have to do, then next year it can happen and can happen appropriately.

"But clearly what happened was not a good situation."

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