F1 races are global events, it is no surprise to see celebrities, VIP guests, and other famous figures present at the race either joining the teams in their garage or enjoying the action-packed sport from the paddock. F1 welcomes their guests by allowing them to have access to the grid before the race start.
However, an incident involving PSG player, Neymar Jr. in the 7th race of this season at the Circuit de Barcelona-Cataluyna prompted the FIA to revisit their grid access regulations due to safety concerns.
What did Neymar do at Spanish GP?
The Spanish GP saw many famous football personalities walking amongst teams setting up their cars on the grid including Brazilian player, Neymar Jr. and Liverpool defender, Trent Alexandor-Arnold.
FIA regulation requires all team personnel, guests, and other members to clear the grid before the start of the formation lap and reposition behind the safety of the pit wall, however at the Spanish GP Neymar Jr. alongside other guests was seen standing on the grass alongside the track when the formation lap started.
Adding to the concerns, the sport also saw fans invading the track after the Australian GP before the end of the race in April, causing the FIA to raise caution at a recent meeting of the World Motor Sport Council on Tuesday.
Which rules are going to be changed by FIA?
These incidents have hinted at a change in the grid regulations by the FIA in order to assure such incidents are never repeated in the sport. After their latest meeting with the World Motor Sport Council, FIA president Mohammad Ben Sulayem insinuated to a grid clampdown in future races to avoid such incidents.
“We must take learnings from the incident at the Spanish Grand Prix,” he said.
He further added, “The FIA has been assured by Stefano Domenicali (CEO of Formula 1), that measures are being taken to ensure that there is no repeat of the incident.”
Ben Sulayem also pointed out that incidents involving track invasions and people positioned in unsafe places on the track are not only present in F1, but in multiple motor sporting events including, Formula E and the World Endurance Championship.
To end his statement, Ben Sulayem said, “It is the duty of the FIA to ensure a safe environment for all. Safety in motorsport is the Federation’s main priority.”
A grid access clampdown would bring an end to fans spotting their favorite celebrities walking among the grid prior to the race, making the jumbotron the only way for the grandstand to see famous figures.
Do you think the FIA should close access to the grid? Comment your thoughts below.