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German Grand Prix: Horner calls for pit lane safety improvements

Christian Horner: 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
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.”

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
06.07.2013- Free Practice 3, Christian Horner (GBR), Red Bull Racing, Sporting Director
28.06.2013- Free Practice 1, Christian Horner (GBR), Red Bull Racing, Sporting Director
06.06.2013- Christian Horner (GBR), Red Bull Racing, Sporting Director
11.05.2013- Qualifying, Christian Horner (GBR), Red Bull Racing, Sporting Director
21.04.2013- Christian Horner (GBR), Red Bull Racing, Sporting Director and Bernie Ecclestone (GBR), President and CEO of Formula One Management
Christian Horner (GBR)

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July 08, 2013 6:06 PM

Accidents are part of the nature of dangerous sports. The teams need to be pushed to being more responsible at not doing unsafe pitstops and tyre changes. Pitlane personel need to be vigilant and not have their backs to cars coming at them wherever possible. Le Mans make media wear protective headgear and clothing, and DTM stop the majority of press being in the pitlane at all. F1 can be safer. A sensible review is required at this time. I wish the TV cameraman a quick and painfree recovery.


July 09, 2013 11:53 AM

The wheel hit the cameraman on the back, not the head and no helmet on Earth would have helped him and anyway, he broke his shoulder, not his skull. Perhaps a Bibendum* style outfit should be worn by everyone in the pit lane to not compromise on safety. That might have helped. In the world of safety, prevention is better than cure. They don't allow the media to set up on the track to get a better picture so why allow them in the pit lane? They are not necessary. * aka Michelin man

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