F1’s ‘goggle-gate’ explained: Why every team was summoned over pit crew safety

There was an unusual post-race investigation at F1's season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix after all teams were summoned over a dubbed ‘goggle-gate’. 
Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Rac
Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Rac

Race-winner Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton were among six drivers investigated for their pit crews potentially not wearing eye protection during their pit stops in Sunday’s finale. 

Alpine’s Pierre Gasly, Alfa Romeo’s Zhou Guanyu and the Williams pair of Alex Albon and Logan Sargeant were also flagged for possible infringements. 

All 10 team managers were required to report to the stewards, who ultimately deemed that while “numerous breaches” likely occurred, video evidence proved insufficiently clear. 

No penalties were awarded but all teams were asked to “stress the importance of eye protection for all personnel working on a car” and “ensure that this Article is respected by all team members in the future.”

“Having received reports from the Race Director and viewed video evidence, written reports from Pit Marshals and heard from each of the Team Representatives, the Stewards determine that numerous breaches of Article 34.13 appear to have occurred however the video evidence was in some cases insufficiently clear to determine where for example, a visor was open, the team member concerned may have been wearing glasses or other eye protection,” the stewards noted. 

“Notwithstanding, there were numerous examples of eye protection not being used.” 

Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W14 makes a pit stop. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 23, Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Yas
Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W14 makes a pit stop. Formula 1 World…

Prior to the stewards’ outcome, Sky F1’s pitlane reporter Ted Kravitz, who dubbed it ‘google-gate’, explained: “It’s Article 34.13 and it says ‘team personnel have to wear an approved helmet and the use of appropriate eye protection is compulsory’.

“Certainly on the clip that we’ve seen from Red Bull, you can see that the chief mechanic whose giving the green light or no-go, has his visor up. 

“Now Red Bull and the other teams will argue, I’m sure, that all the operational mechanics, ie the ones on the guns for wheel off and wheel on, are wearing appropriate eye protection in that they’ve got their visor down. 

“Jonathan Wheatley will certainly argue that that fellow was not an operational part of the pit stop and therefore the eye protection does not apply to him. 

“All the other teams are saying, ‘look, the ones who do need to have their visor down, have their visor down’. 

“But it’s interesting that all of the team managers, even the ones that weren’t noted in the race, have been summoned to see the stewards,

“There will likely be a fine for those who the FIA decide were naughty, and a let-off for those who weren’t.” 

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