While racing in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix on Sunday, Formula 1 driver Esteban Ocon nearly avoided a disaster. As he was entering the pit, he narrowly missed a large group of photographers lined up in the pit. The incident was caught on camera, and it caused quite a stir among the viewers and the racers alike.
[Related reading: Formula 3 racecar flies into photographers booth in this terrifying crash]
The incident happened during the last lap as Ocon came in to make a stop. He did it during the last lap because he needed to formally fulfill the requirement to use different types of tires during the race. However, the photographers were reportedly already preparing for Sergio Perez to come in, as he was leading the race. It looks like nobody counted on the fact that the race was still ongoing! Here’s Ocon’s onboard footage of the incident:
The onboard footage from Esteban Ocon's near miss in the pitlane 😳 pic.twitter.com/OqyKq79nFj
— ESPN F1 (@ESPNF1) April 30, 2023
“This is crazy,” Ocon told ESPN after the race. “It could have been a big, big one today. And it’s definitely something that needs to be discuss[ed]. It’s something that we don’t want to see.”During the race, Formula 1 drives develop an average speed of 350 km/h (220mph). The speed in the pit lane is limited to 60 km/h (31 mph), enforced from the point at which the car enters the pit lane until it reaches the pit box where the pit stop is performed. However, it’s still very dangerous if you hit someone at that speed.
“I don’t understand why we’re starting to prep the podium and prep the ceremony while we’re still racing,” Ocon commented after the race. “There’s one lap to go, there’s still people that didn’t pit. I’m arriving at 300 kph, I’m braking very late, I see the people around.”
Judging from the comments, most people blame FIA for this incident. After all, FIA keeps has made some questionable decisions and rules over the past few years. Ocon on the Association to take action and prevent media members and anyone else from stepping onto the roadway before the race is actually over.
In a statement, FIA said that it’s not uncommon for the press members to line up in the pit while the last lap is still on. However, they added that that they “expressed their regret at what happened,” assuring the public that they would reconsider these procedures.
[via Light Stalking]