Red Bull Racing team principal Christian Horner has said pit lane safety will need to be reviewed in the wake of the incident that saw a cameraman struck by Mark Webber's errant wheel during the German Grand Prix.
The FOM employee, Paul Allen, was bowled over in the early stages of the race, when Webber made his first pit stop on lap 8, and while he remained conscious and was treated at the circuit medical centre, he was then transported by helicopter to Koblenz Hospital for observation. He suffered a broken shoulder, cracked ribs, bruising and cuts.
Horner now believes there is a case for all those working in the pit lane to be made to wear helmets and other safety gear.
“Yesterday's event was a timely reminder that the pit lane is still a dangerous place to be. F1 cars have so much energy in them that, despite a team's best efforts and rigorous preparation, things can still go wrong. Mechanics have to wear safety gear and helmets and perhaps it's time we looked at safety equipment for other operational people working in the pit lane as well,” Horner confirmed in a Q&A on the official Red Bull website.
Red Bull was hit with a €30,000 penalty
for allowing its driver to leave the pit box without all four wheels attached and Horner added that the incident will be properly investigated to try and discover what went wrong.
“We are working to quickly identify exactly what happened with Mark's first pit stop and understand why the wheel didn't locate,” Horner continued. “The car was released incorrectly and, as Mark left the box, the wheel obviously detached itself from the car with a lot of energy and hit, what I originally thought was a Mercedes mechanic, but then we were very quickly informed it was Paul Allen, an FOM cameraman.
“That is obviously something that no one would ever want to see happen and it's certainly something that I never, ever want to see again.
“Our immediate concern was for Paul's safety and his well-being. It's a horrible feeling as your concern is that the individual is all right. We were quickly informed by FOM that initial signs suggested his injuries weren't life threatening and that he was conscious.
“We were further updated that he was on his way to hospital for a full check-up and were kept updated throughout the race by FOM and the FIA. Everyone reacted very efficiently. It must have been shocking for his family to see something like that and the most important thing is that his injuries are not life threatening. After the race, more details of became available and since then we have been in contact with Paul and FOM. We of course wish him a very speedy recovery.”