Formula 1 said it would make changes to the way access to pit road at the end of races is governed after people were in the middle of the pit lane during the final lap of Sunday’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix as Esteban Ocon entered.
Ocon had to make his mandatory pit stop on the race’s final lap since he hadn’t made a pit stop during the race. As Red Bull mechanics made their way over to the wall separating pit lane from the track to celebrate Sergio Perez’s impending victory, photographers and others were also granted access to the pit lane ahead of Ocon’s pit stop.
After the race, Ocon said that “it could have been a big, big one today” given the number of people who were in his way. The pit road speed limit was 80 KMPH.
Race stewards released a statement after the race and said they “determined that the relevant representatives took steps to set up the parc fermi area and also permitted media and other personnel to gather in the start of the pit lane and the pit wall during the last lap of the race while the pit lane was open and before the final pit stop of Ocon.”
“We noted that it was not unusual for the representatives to allow such persons into the pit lane just before the end of the race in the usual course of preparation for parc ferme and the podium ceremony. However, in this case, there was one driver that had to pit in the last lap and this created a very dangerous situation for those that were in the pit lane at the time.”
Stewards also said that FIA representatives had been required “to take immediate steps to reconsider these procedures and protocols with the relevant stakeholders to ensure that this situation does not occur again.”
Any changes would have to be implemented quickly. F1’s next race is in Miami on Sunday and is the second race of a stretch that includes four races in five weeks.