Media access to the pitlane will be 'greatly reduced' during all F1 free practice sessions, the FIA has announced.
The changes have been made in the name of safety and come in the wake of German Grand Prix earlier this month, when Formula One Management (FOM) cameraman Paul Allen was hit by a wheel that had come loose from the Red Bull of Mark Webber. He suffered a broken collarbone and broken ribs.
The FIA had already announced new restrictions
for qualifying and the race, with FOM
then extending this to the whole weekend, albeit only for TV broadcasters.
The announcement today applies to all written journalists, as well as photographers – something the FIA controls rather than FOM - and caps access to 25 people.
Meanwhile, it is also being reported by the BBC
that in an apparent change of heart, FOM will now allow each live broadcaster, one cameraman and one reporter in the pitlane during practice.
The full statement, issued by Matteo Bonciani, F1's Head of Communications and Media Delegate, reads:
“In the interests of safety it has been decided that media access to the pitlane will be greatly reduced during all Formula One free practice sessions.
“From the Hungarian Grand Prix onwards, media (both journalists and photographers) wishing to access the pitlane will be required to wear a special tabard. 25 tabards will be available per session and will be allocated by the FIA Media Delegate, based upon requests received.
“A request form will be available at Media Centre Reception. Those wishing to obtain a tabard must submit their request via this form before 1500 local time on the Thursday of the relevant grand prix weekend. Requests must be made and signed in person (For this race the deadline for request is extended to 1700).
“Naturally, there is the possibility of demand exceeding supply. At such times, the FIA Communications staff will determine the most equitable allocation.
“A list detailing the weekend allocation will be posted on the media centre notice board as soon as possible.
“Tabards will be distributed at media centre reception, 30 minutes before the beginning of each practice session.
“Tabards must be returned to media centre reception within 30 minutes of the session ending.
“Anyone not returning a tabard at the end of his/her allocated session will lose pit lane access for the remainder of the F1 season.
“For the avoidance of doubt the procedure for qualifying and race will remain unchanged.”