F1 teams risk penalty for pit wall fence celebrations after FIA's latest clampdown
Formula One teams will now face a penalty if any of its staff scale the pit wall fence during the checkered flag celebrations. Once the checkered flag falls, it is typical for team members to scale the fencing along the pit lane to celebrate their drivers winning the race or finishing on the podium.
It comes after an incident last time out in Jeddah. Team members from Red Bull and Aston Martin were seen scaling the top of the lattice metal debris fencing that lines the Saudi Arabian street track. Such fencing is present at most of the venues F1 visits.
In the Bahrain season opener also, team personnel were seen leaning over the track and climbing to the top of the pit wall rubble fence.
The new enforcement initiative got underway in Melbourne with the publication of F1 race director Niels Wittich's pre-weekend event safety notes. It contained the phrase "it is forbidden to climb on pitwall debris fence at any time."
It also made reference to Appendix H, Article 2.3.2 of the FIA's International Sporting Code - rules that are enforced across the motorsport categories recognized by FIA.
"Team members are only allowed in the pitlane as soon as they are necessary to work on a car and must withdraw as soon as the job is complete," reads a section of the regulation that applies to this specific scenario involving scaling pitwall barriers.
Now, if any team members are seen breaking the rules, the offending team will be reported to the stewards, who will be asked to determine if a penalty is necessary.
A punishment like a fine has a tough new context for teams in the current cost-cap age of Formula One. Yet, it is extremely improbable that any such resultant penalty would affect the race outcome of a driver whose team is celebrating.
Despite the fact that Appendix H, Article 2.3.2 is now being policed differently, it is believed that team members will still be given some breathing space. They will be allowed to lean out of the larger gaps in all pitwall protection systems - required to show pitboards to drivers - at the end of races. This will be as long as it does not go to an extreme length and remains safe.
Formula One Australian Grand Prix in 2023: Time, location, and all you need to know
The focus now switches to Australia and Melbourne's Albert Park, one of the most well-known F1 tracks. As the sport has been competing here since 1996, this track has a rich history. It goes without saying that the 20 active drivers will be keen to contribute to it this weekend. Catch all the live action from F1TV in India.
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