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Fan injured by litter at Formula 1 race in Australia

Fan injured by litter at Formula 1 race in Australia

( – Luck in disguise for an on-site spectator at the 2023 Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne: he suffered only a minor hand injury from flying debris and won the live race track with first responders.

Kevin Magnussen in the Haas VF-23 at the 2023 Formula 1 race in Australia

The scene happened right after Haas driver Kevin Magnussen’s crash in the closing stages of the Formula 1 race: Magnussen went flying at Turn 2, hitting the barriers with his right rear wheel and sending debris across the road. But a few pieces flew over the safety fence and into the grandstands on the right side of the track.

Australian Grand Prix organizers managing director Andrew Westcott said: “One of our technicians accidentally heard it. According to Westcott, a spectator was injured by a “carbon fiber part of the wheel hub” which was “hurled 20 meters into the air”.

First aiders are on site quickly

The victim had a small cut on his right elbow and was bleeding slightly. “Our people got it,” says Westcott. Paramedics treated the injury immediately. Westcott: “I hope the man is well.”

Pictures have been posted on social media of onlookers holding a piece of trash and smiling for the camera.

But Westcott is primarily interested in how the incident happened. He says: “It appears to be a one-off incident as guardrails are the same height around the world and meet World Automobile Association requirements.”

You can read it in these specifications A safety fence under FIA standard 3502-2018 Must be “at least 3.5 meters high” and have an angled section at the top at a 45 degree angle to the round. For example, Swiss company Geobrugg offers FIA fences in “fixed heights of 2.8 meters, 3.5 meters and 4.5 meters”.

Are the safety fences on the route high enough?

In the particular case in Australia, the fence was insufficient to keep litter from visitors. “But we can’t put up fences 20 meters high,” says Westcott.

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He declares that the events will be processed: “We will discuss it after the event and see what can be improved. As always in motorsport.” The incident was “a reminder that safety must come first in Formula 1”.

Formula 1 has had several incidents with injured spectators in the past, for example the crash between JJ Lehto and Pedro Lamy at Imola in 1994, where debris also flew into the grandstands. Or at Monza in 1961: after contact between Jim Clark and Wolfgang von Tripps, von Tripps’ racing car landed in the spectator area, killing the driver and 15 spectators.