F1 preview: A lap of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix
Christian Horner has ripped into Damon Hill and demanded an FIA investigation after Esteban Ocon almost collided with photographers at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix. The two clashed when analysing the incident which happened on the final lap of the race.
Ocon was met with a gaggle of media personnel at the pit-lane entry as he attempted to stop moments before the chequered flag. Reacting to the incident, Hill said: “We used to go down the pitlane at 150mph.”
However, Horner fired back at Hill, responding: “Just after the war was that?” But, the Red Bull boss did suggest action needed to be taken after the near-miss.
He added: “That’s something that needs a review. Esteban’s within his rights to pit on the last lap. That’s something the FIA have to perhaps police a little bit better before the end of the race.”
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The FIA later revealed they would be looking into the incident with a range of key personnel called into race control. An FIA statement read: “Representatives of the FIA responsible for the parc Ferme area at pit entry are required to report to the Stewards at 17:30 (14:30BST), in relation to the incident below:
“Personnel blocking the fast lane in the pit lane on the final lap of the 2023 Azerbaijan Grand Prix while the pit lane remained open.” However, Red Bull were also accused of breaking the regulations after mechanics were spotted jumping on the pit wall to celebrate Sergio Perez’s win.
FIA race director Niels Wittich cracked down on the issue ahead of the Australian Grand Prix. The rule states: “It is forbidden for personnel to climb on pitwall debris fences at any time. Any action by a team breaching this ban will be reported to the stewards.”
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But, Horner defended his mechanics after the Grand Prix and stressed they were not fearing any sanctions. The Red Bull boss added: “The regulations I think are quite clear and it was something the team manager discussed with the mechanics before the race.
“If you look there all have got their feet in contact with the concrete of the pit wall. It’s crazy when we are regulating where the feet of the mechanics were. But I think you’ll find they were all standing where they should be.”
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