Australian Grand Prix organisers promise security review after track invasion

MELBOURNE, Australia -- The promoter of the Australian Grand Prix has promised a review of its security measures after a large group of spectators invaded the track at the end of Sunday's race.

Photos showed spectators climbing on catch fencing and straying beyond the crash barriers as the cars finished the race and started their return to the pits.

Some fans also reached Nico Hulkenberg's Haas, which had stopped on track with a technical issue shortly after the chequered flag.

The stewards investigated the incident and reported the promoters to the FIA's World Motor Sport Council to assess whether further action is necessary.

"A large group of spectators managed to break the security lines and accessed the track while the race was still ongoing," the FIA stewards said following an investigation. "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.

"Furthermore, spectators were also able to reach Car 27 [Hulkenburg's car], which was parked at exit of Turn 2 and which still had its light flashing red (i.e. the car was in an unsafe condition with possible electrical discharge). All of this presented significant danger to the spectators, race officials and the drivers."

In an email to the stewards, the Australian Grand Prix Corporation promised to take remedial steps to avoid a repeat.

The email said: "We propose the following draft remedies to actively take steps to ensure there will be no further transgressions:

  • a. A comprehensive review of the early track breach and the marshals protecting the Hulkenberg car will be conducted.

  • b. A comprehensive review of the Plan will be conducted.

  • c. Results and findings of these reviews and detailed recommendations will be documented and provided to the FIA via the ASN for comment and endorsement, as appropriate.

  • d. The above reviews will include consulting with Victoria Police, Formula 1, the FIA and other aforementioned stakeholders."

The panel of four stewards in Melbourne, who are usually expected to deal with sporting matters, referred the incident back to the FIA -- F1's governing body -- for further consideration.

"As this relates to serious issues around safety and security, the stewards hereby request the FIA to review and comment on whether the abovementioned steps are adequate to address the concerns raised and to state if any further measure(s) need to be taken, as soon as possible," the stewards statement added. "This should be done directly with the promoter. The FIA should state a deadline for the same and comment on whether the promoter's requested deadline is acceptable.

"In addition, the stewards hereby formally refer this incident to the FIA World Motor Sports Council for a further investigation to determine whether any additional steps need to be taken or penalties applied beyond the remediation plan presented by the promoter (and reviewed by the FIA) to ensure the safe and orderly conduct of future events in Australia."