Grand Prix organisers to clamp down on track invasions
Cars were still on the track in São Paulo when crowds of spectators spilt over into run-off area
São Paulo Grand Prix organisers have recognised safety failures and committed to fixing them for 2024 after spectators invaded the track before the end of Sunday’s Formula One race.
Stewards said in a statement that a large group of spectators had accessed the run-off area at turn one while cars were still on the track.
The São Paulo F1 Organisation (SPF1) “candidly admitted the failures in terms of the security protocols and safety measures”, they added. “SPF1 stated, in mitigation, that they would conduct a thorough investigation and take steps to remediate in time for the next event in Brazil.”
The stewards ordered organisers to present the formal remediation plan to the governing FIA by the end of January 2024.
The matter was also referred to the FIA’s 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”.
The Brazilian circuit is one of the most atmospheric on the calendar and track invasions after the race have become common, even with no Brazilian drivers.
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen won on Sunday for the 17th time this season.
F1 announced earlier in the week that it had extended the contract for São Paulo to host the Brazilian race until 2030, a five-year extension as the current contract had been due to expire in 2025.
“I can’t wait for many more years of the wonderful atmosphere that the Brazilian fans bring,” F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali said at the announcement. “This iconic circuit is a favourite of drivers and fans.”
• Meanwhile, Verstappen was revealed to be a Tom Jones fan on Sunday after the triple F1 champion followed up his pole-to-flag victory in Brazil with an in-car rendition of the 83-year-old Welsh singer’s 1967 pop hit Green Green Grass of Home.
The music was played to the 26-year-old over the team radio with Red Bull team boss Christian Horner encouraging his laughing but reluctant Dutch driver to sing along on the victory lap.
“The old house is still standing, though the paint is cracked and dry,” warbled Verstappen, after previously warning — with a reason as it turned out — that he was not a good singer.
‘Radio Red Bull’ turned out to be his only fail of the day.
“Just don’t give up the day job,” Verstappen was told. “I think I’m better at that,” he replied.
Horner explained to reporters later that the driver and his father, Jos, used to listen to Jones’ songs over and over in the car while travelling to go-kart races around Europe in his youth.
“It was the most unlikely song,” said the Briton, whose wife, Geri, rose to fame with the Spice Girls. “But Jos told me in Qatar [where Verstappen won his third title].
“I said ‘What’s his favourite song?’ He went Green Green Grass by Tom Jones.”
“He was off on it. He knew all the words. I was thinking he would be totally into Ed Sheeran or somebody, a contemporary of his age range. But Tom Jones?”
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