26 September 2015
Singapore evaluates security measures following F1 track invasion
Singapore Grand Prix organisers will beef up track security following the one-man track invasion that interrupted this year's F1 race on the streets of Marina Bay.
Organisers of the Singapore Grand Prix will look into ways of increasing track security following the one-man invasion that brought out the safety car at last weekend's event.
Race leader Sebastian Vettel radioed his pit crew to report a man on the circuit midway through the 61-lap event, prompting the stewards to control the pace for a second time until the intruder climbed back behind the barriers, where he was promptly arrested. The race then continued to the chequered flag at normal race pace.
Following the event, clerk of the course Gabriel Tan was tasked with compiling a full report into the incident, detailing how the 27-year old intruder managed to gain access to the circuit, and what the organisers planned to do to avoid a repeat.
Extracts from the report, which was received by the FIA in the days after the grand prix, showed that the man entered the circuit 'via a designated egress point …. on the drivers' right on the Esplanade Bridge' but had had to overcome several obstacles before sliding through the horizontal slot gap originally designed to allow race personnel to slide through in order to gain access the track.
Prior to reaching the egress point, the invader climbed over a 1.1-metre high security fence, gained access to a protected two-metre-wide marshal zone, crossed a carriageway and only then slid through the opening – a route that he managed to complete in less than ten seconds before CCTV captured him emerging through the egress point.
He then proceeded to cross the track, walking in the opposite direction to race traffic, before exiting the track approximately 15 seconds later via another EP to the drivers' left. He was immediately apprehended by marshals, who handed him over to the police.
The report noted that the type of egress point opening is secured in selected locations around the circuit outside of race operations periods by the installation of a locking gate, while the 1.1m fence was of a similar height to fencing used at a number of other F1 events.
It also pointed out that, in common with most circuits, race officials man approximately half of the EPs or other access points located within marshal zones around the circuit. The remainder would have security personnel patrolling the areas, which often feature spectator fences as an additional barrier.
Following the compilation of his report, Tan said that organisers were already studying plans to increase security in identified areas and, in the particular area where the intrusion occurred, was considering plans for the installation of higher spectator fences. He also confirmed that 'a substantial increase' in the number of marshals, who would work hand-in-hand with spectator area security, was being evaluated.
The Singapore invasion is not unique in F1, or even the first this season, with previous high-profile protests at both Silverstone (2003) and Hockenheim (2000) being followed by an incident during practice for the 2015 Chinese Grand Prix where a spectator climbed the trackside fence and ran across the main straight in order to make it to the pits – where he thought his ticket entitled him to drive an F1 car!
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